Zach Ralston

Zach Ralston

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Great minds think alike. That's why mine does not.

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  • The Thin Red Line

    The Thin Red Line

    ★★★★★

    "If I never meet you in this life, let me feel the lack."

    Fifth viewing on the big screen alone, added to a couple more on home video, and this hasn't lost a single bit of its power. If anything, when stacked up next to KNIGHT OF CUPS, it's some kind of alien wonder now. As much as I adore BADLANDS, there's just nothing that ever came before this -- by Malick or anyone -- that was anything like this…

  • Spotlight

    Spotlight

    Such an arrogant piece of self-congratulatory lecture-theater that it’s gotta be a lock for Best Picture. I lost count of the number of scenes that end on sick truth bombs, but perhaps that’s because I was already losing count over the number of times McCarthy stitched two scenes together using a locked-down exterior shot accompanied by Howard Shore’s piano-tinkling compositions. (Given that this is a Boston-set film about rapist priests, no surprise they commissioned a score from the guy who…

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  • Awake

    Awake

    ★★

    Definition of ironic: it took me four sessions of watching this to get through it, because I kept falling asleep.

    Opening lake-crash sequence, plus the 360-oner when the car is getting besieged by maniacs, are cool. The rest of it is a cheap and half-assed apocalyptic derivation that lacks a lot of connective tissue. Doesn't follow through with its premise, and leans too much on overly religious baptismal/resurrection imagery in the place of nuanced scientific exploration. But it does boast two strong performances, from Rodriguez and the suddenly-all-over-Netflix-originals-with-this-and-STOWAWAY dude Shamier Anderson. More of him, please. (He and JD Washington as brothers in a Spike Lee movie?)

  • F9

    F9

    ★★★

    Between March 12, 2020 and June 1, 2021, I saw well over a hundred movies, but every one of them was on a TV screen no bigger than 55" and sometimes 42". At those dimensions, when your wingspan is longer than the monitor, movies do become some version of glorified television. Not that the best ones I watched on my couch (Billy Wilder's ACE IN THE HOLE, Fassbinder's THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT, Lee's MALCOLM X, etc.) weren't…

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  • Mission: Impossible

    Mission: Impossible

    ★★★★★

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

    It's all about the scene in the third act when Ethan and Jim reunite and have a drink together. Jim is trying to convince Ethan that Kittridge is the mole, not knowing Ethan already figured out it was Jim because of the Drake Hotel bible. So Ethan, having the upper hand, narrates a flashback where he pretends to realize how Kittridge did it, all for Jim's benefit -- meanwhile, DePalma's visuals tell a different story: the way Ethan is seeing…

  • Devs

    Devs

    ★½

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

    Even if this show didn't feature what is probably the single worst lead performance of any major prestige drama in the last 25 years (but it does: Sonoya Mizuno is deeply, all-encompassingly terrible in a way it's hard to fathom, episode after episode), it would still be a failure of ideas. ANNIHILATION is starting to feel more and more like an anomaly; its clever sci-fi concept had the courage to perform an existential autopsy of the human condition without pulling…