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  • Let the Sunshine In

    Let the Sunshine In

    ★★★★½

    The Criterion Channel – Film #21

    "Is this my life?"

    There's a sense of inevitability to Let the Sunshine In that you can almost immediately pin, but it's never truly in your grasp. And therein lies the tension—the sheer gravity—of Claire Denis' work here. That sense of understanding yet never knowing. This is a film where everything is said and nothing is solved, one that keenly savors the existential malaise of the Parisian milieu we find artist Isabella (an expectedly…

  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

    The Trial of the Chicago 7

    ★★½

    "Do you have contempt for your government?"

    There's no real doubting Sorkin as a dramatist—the stride and temper to compel are seemingly all present—yet there's reason to question the effect of his attitude here as a filmmaker. Because as the freeze-framed postscript of The Trial of the Chicago 7 draws to a close, one doesn't feel moved by the titular ensemble or the meaning of the events surrounding them. One feels wholly distracted by the writer-director and the picture he's…

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  • Knives Out

    Knives Out

    ★★★★★

    "This is a twisted web, and we are not finished untangling it, not yet."

    Crackling with a spirited originality made all the more pleasurable by the utter adoration for the narrative's influences, Rian Johnson's Knives Out is a whodunit for the ages; an irresistible, topical, and devilishly entertaining stroke of taut brilliance whose Christie-inspired roots find themselves simultaneously revered and rejuvenated with equal shades of Hitchcock, Columbo, and the filmmaker's genre-melding aptitude. The grasp on the assorted threads in play…

  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    ★★★★★

    "Come visit me tomorrow. Bring bagels."

    A carnival of consequences in the twilight of escapism.

    For what it's worth, which I know may mean very little for some depending on a score of considerations, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is one of Quentin Tarantino's more ambitious efforts to date; a sprawling hybrid hazily connected by a host of crisscrossing threads and clearly defined by a single conspicuous, unexpectedly melancholic tell. Where to begin when discussing the film conveniently eludes…