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  • Nerve

    Nerve

    ★★★½

    Fiverr: The Movie — aka a real slice of dystopia. Act 3 is a letdown; I haven’t read the YA original, but the declamatory neatness of the climax, with all the friends friends again and the central antagonist friends again too, betrays what’s so slippery about the conceit. 

    It would be easy to miscalibate the naturalism of the performances, but the movie gets it just right — Roberts at the tattoo parlor is both totally believable and totally star quality. But the whole thing needs a little more acid; Neveldine/Taylor might have killed with this concept.

  • Rope

    Rope

    ★★★★

    Never noticed until this viewing how much of a performance Stewart's Rupert is — a genuine introvert who invents many of Columbo's routines.

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  • American Hustle

    American Hustle

    ★★

    I've avoided prestige-era "Reinvention Trilogy" Russell until now, but my memory of FLIRTING WITH DISASTER and THREE KINGS is that they are such complete works, little symphonies with a million instruments in funky harmony. AMERICAN HUSTLE is just an orchestra tuning up, a movie of solid tactics and no strategy. There's a scene where all five leads are together for the first time, and it should play like the final screw-tightening to which the movie has been building, but instead…

  • Nebraska

    Nebraska

    ★★★

    Payne's movies often have supporting characters that are aggrieved because they feel they deserve something -- Church in SIDEWAYS deserves one last fling, Bridges and company in DESCENDANTS deserve their share of the land sale. There's a bunch of those characters in NEBRASKA, venal shitheels who want to either begin or continue taking advantage of Dern, at best monetizing previous kindnesses and at worst fleecing an old man. It's hard to fault a comedy its punchlines, and these characters provide…