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  • Transit 

    Transit 

    ★★★★½

    A gripping, ingenious work; it is, like First Reformed, a terrific film about our present era - the unstable and volatile state of things in 2018 - precisely because its concerns are greater and more nuanced than mere critique. Instead, both films recreate the dizzying dread of life in our modern era. By transposing a 1942 novel about Holocaust refugees to the present day and changing nothing about the material except its time period, Petzold suggests, among many other things,…

  • Her Smell

    Her Smell

    ★★★

    Alex Ross Perry’s two best films The Color Wheel and Listen Up Philip, both with similarly abrasive aesthetics and unlikable characters, had something meaningful to say about broken interpersonal relationships, and toxic egotism, and the gravitational pull of certain kinds of insufferable personalities. Her Smell pushes these abrasive and unlikable qualities to the hilt, but it never really comes across as insightful - it’s like he’s just pushing buttons. Fundamentally a film about the difficulty of life with an addict,…

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  • A Canterbury Tale

    A Canterbury Tale

    ★★★★½

    A stunningly beautiful movie, about life during wartime, and regular people living in an astonishing world. Pastoral, sensitive, sweet. Filled with details and moments that I can't quite get out of my head, from the American soldier's absurd Oregon accent (and his intense cinephilia; "Whaaat? Go to a single feature? Not me!"), to the serene way they capture the feeling of laying in grass, to the overwhelming beauty of the medieval cathedral seen at the end. The entire film is…

  • Irma Vep

    Irma Vep

    ★★★★½

    Pretty much the coolest movie ever made. A propulsive punk rock/arthouse hybrid that manages to be intelligent and critical of its own stylishness yet never comes across as stuffy, pretentious, or too clever for its own good. Olivier Assayas accomplishes so much with just a few guitar notes from Sonic Youth and a repurposed image from Feuillade; the fact that the rest of the movie exists is just icing on the cake. There's a dizzying quality to the way Assayas…