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  • Joker

    Joker

    ★★

    “I’m not political. I don’t believe in anything. It’s just part of my act.”

    Edge Lord: The Movie

    Look, parts of this obviously work and there are even certain moments that I genuinely enjoyed but this is trying waaaaayyyyyyy too hard to be provocative and dangerous, when it’s really kinda just boring. I am astonished at the amount of column space that has been dedicated to a movie this mediocre. For all the controversies that it has garnered, for all…

  • Birds of Passage

    Birds of Passage

    ★★★½

    Traditional, mystic blood feuds meet modern, gritty drug feuds.

    Yes, in the most basic sense, it’s a classical rise and fall narco crime epic. But the unique setting elevates it into something undeniably different - it’s ultimately not just a generic narrative grafted onto a novel, foreign backdrop because of the specificity of this culture and landscape and how it effects those generic story beats. Specifically, I found the whole thematic through-line of the film to be original and potent;…

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  • Vox Lux

    Vox Lux

    ★★★★½

    If Michael Haneke was 40 years younger, American, and had a deep love for pop music, he would probably make something remarkably like Vox Lux.

    It doesn’t all work, to be sure, but when it does (the prelude section, for example) it is as close to perfect as cinema got this year. This is highly idiosyncratic filmmaking of the highest caliber, and Vox Lux is the boldest, most ambitious, most audacious American film of the year.

    A few things that…

  • Sea Fever

    Sea Fever

    ★★★

    Sea Fever was described by the TIFF programmer in the introduction as “Cousteau meets Cronenberg”*, which is not entirely accurate. This Irish genre bender is truly it’s own beast, mixing elements of science-fiction, eco-thriller, body horror and fisherman folktales into something undeniably unique and atmospheric. It’s a tense piece of weird fiction, with a strong, shape-shifting screenplay, a simple but controlled visual aesthetic, at least one gruesomely memorable set piece and strong performances. Always nice to see Connie Nielsen, and…