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  • The Baron

    The Baron

    ★★★½

    Phillip Fenty is well-known as a screenwriter of blaxploitation actioners, but those interested in low-budget filmmaking might find his work here as a director of note. Reviews here pointing to the film's clunky crime film aspects are right but missing the bigger picture having to do with our big shot actor struggling to reconcile his commitment to his community and his willingness to sell out. The schematic terms of this have a didactic charm of their own (the protag dumps…

  • mother!

    mother!

    ★★½

    There are like 5,500 reviews of this movie already, most of them either proclaiming Aronofsky a master or pointing out his self-indulgence (my favorite characterizes the film as another step in Aronofsky's attempts at self-fellatio). Some others deal with the film's misogynist treatment of the main character (made worse still by the director-star's true life relationship, I presume).

    Mother is nowhere near interesting enough to justify a 5 or 1 star rating. It's a film about the travails of either…

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  • Days of Youth

    Days of Youth

    ★★★★½

    The opening and closing bookends of the movie, which go from the city to the specific then from the specific to the city, are met beautifully by the repeated figure of the college kids looking out the window. They use the smokestack to guess the wind and weather but are probing the outside world with less grace (social for one, physical for the other). But as always, the important moments are about normal embarassment and everyday sadness. The sequence where…

  • The Hurricane

    The Hurricane

    ★★★★

    A modest manifesto for aesthetic relocation

    Making fiction out of real life stuff is one of the things cinema does especially well. In the classical period of American filmmaking, this dynamic between fiction and what we might irresponsibly call reality took on a number of forms. Hurricane falls squarely under the banner of a film like Murnau and Flaherty's Tabu, which utilizes atavistic "natives" in order to play out "timeless" storytelling tropes. Each film tries to show us a society…