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  • Magnolia

    Magnolia

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    (Note: this is more of a personal essay than a review, but for me, with this particular film, that’s probably unavoidable.)

    According to my 1999 journal, my entire reaction to Magnolia—my 376th theatrical screening of the year—was: “Great fucking film. Three fucking hours. Not actually sure why it’s called Magnolia.”

    I didn’t know it at the time, but the film had its hooks in me. Just over two weeks later, as 1999 rolled over into 2000 and the digital plague…

  • Atomic Blonde

    Atomic Blonde

    We see as through a CRT, darkly, the fragility and absurd dignity of the naked human form, with transiently-conscious meatsacks numbing pain with alternating ice and fire as they shamble toward arbitrary goals. Briefly, magically ambulatory, then suddenly, permanently still.

    Time-capsule plotting, endlessly and needlessly Byzantine. Betrayal leading to revelation leading fractally to a new cycle as we try to ignore that there is nothing inside the final matryoshka doll, and never was. There is no satisfying end to the…

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  • Picnic at Hanging Rock

    Picnic at Hanging Rock

    Did not finish.

    Had a high concept double-feature planned, following up The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre with this, but the side effects from the methotrexate I take for lupus symptoms kicked in and I became too loopy/cranky to follow through.

    The movie:

    (opening title card)

    On Saturday 14th February 1900 a party of schoolgirls from Appleyard College picknicked at Hanging Rock near Mt. Macedon in the state of Victoria.

    Me: Hey, Boo Boo, Let’s Go Get Us A Pic-A-Knick Basket…

  • The St. Valentine's Day Massacre

    The St. Valentine's Day Massacre

    Neither Cult Status Corman nor Surprisingly Good, Actually Corman but Mainstream Journeyman Corman. Hardly extraordinary but has more than a few interesting touches.

    At 6:45 on the last morning of his life, John May takes an early bus to work. He has been promised a $10 bonus if he can replace the transmission on one of the gang’s cars before noon.

    Gangs as corporations chaired by unstable narcissists who are alternately enabled and stymied by their handpicked underlings, who themselves…

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  • Spider-Man: Homecoming

    Spider-Man: Homecoming

    A soulless superhero franchise film and an inept high school comedy try to make it work for the sake of the kids; the forced smiles and underlying tension permeate every moment.

    As a super-hero movie, Homecoming is exactly the glop you’d expect from two movie studios executing two competing business plans. I knew that this movie would ultimately devolve into a blur of CGI—they all do—so I could hardly be surprised or disappointed by that. My hopes and fears were…

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Hey. Remember that thing you like? They made more, and they didn’t screw it up this time. They went back to the original recipe.

    Boy, did they ever.

    The Force Awakens doubles down on the series’ talismanic repetition of phrases and situations, to the point that it might as well be a remake of the first film. Unfortunately, it’s a sequel, and the weakest moments in the film are easily those featuring the original trilogy cast. (To be blunt, having…