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  • I'm Thinking of Ending Things

    I'm Thinking of Ending Things

    "Even fake, crappy movie ideas want to exist. They grow in your brain replacing real ideas."

    A self-own from Kaufman for finally tackling Donald's (from Adaptation) script idea for "The Three." But maybe that was just the starting point, sort of like how Iain Reid's novel is really just the starting point for this adaptation. They are the incubation of a virus for a film about the virality of ideas. Ideas of the self--past selves, current, future selves, alternative selves,…

  • Transit

    Transit

    ★★★★★

    Christian Petzold’s "Transit" is a maze of reversals and frustrations built on a bedrock of bureaucracy and xenophobic hostility. It is a fable for our time taken from another. The director adapted his screenplay from Anna Seghers’ 1944 novel of the same name about a man and woman who attempt to flee Nazi-occupied France but find themselves stalled in a proliferation of visas and transit papers. The language and situations are the same, but the time is our own. The beguiling alchemy of Petzold’s ahistoricism lends his film a dream-like quality, at times opaque and elusive, yet always sharp with emotional distress and unsettling familiarity.

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  • Johnny Guitar

    Johnny Guitar

    Operatic, not in the sense of an epic scope, but in the sense of its boiling dynamism, its blazing emotions, its over-the-top stylization in gesture, color, and scene.

    The first act occurs all in a single location, on a single stage. All our characters pile in together, airing grievances, hurling animosities, crescendoing in threats, pulled guns, even dance. It's a remarkable 35 minutes.

  • The Lusty Men

    The Lusty Men

    The premise for The Lusty Men appealed to Nicholas Ray's anthropological interests. He developed community theater in rural towns all over the country when working for the WPA. In the course of his travels, he became a bit of an amateur folklorist, recording music and stories and dirty jokes he heard. Many of Ray's recordings are now in the Library of Congress.

    He was also fascinated by gypsy culture--those operating on the periphery of society, looked upon by others with…

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  • Nomadland

    Nomadland

    Chloe Zhao’s crepuscular eye and projection of small stories onto grand canvases invites comparison with Terrance Malick, a director whom she greatly admires. But, while Zhao plays at the notes of Malick’s lyricism, she restrains herself from indulging in his transcendentalism. Malick is on a spiritual enterprise; his characters and camera are merely the vessels. Zhao is a materialist. Her films are interested in people and the grounded reality of their lived experience.

  • Red, White and Blue

    Red, White and Blue

    Red, White and Blue is the most conventional of the first three Small Axe films. It’s the only one that really purports to be doing something we’ve already seen done many times before. It is the story of one man’s courage against a divided, racist system and his attempt to reform that system from within and achieve some sort of reconciliation. Based on a true story, Leroy Logan, a Black man, joins the London Metropolitan Police force. In following this…