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  • The Seduction of Mimi

    The Seduction of Mimi

    ★★

    THE SEDUCTION OF MIMI (Lina Wertmuller, Italy, 1972) 4

    I first saw SWEPT AWAY and SEVEN BEAUTIES during my "exhausting the canon" phase in college, and boy, do I not trust my opinion of those films now (I saw ALL SCREWED UP a couple weeks after MIMI, before writing this up, and much of what I'll say here applies to that one too.)

    The comedy here is just not funny. It's over-the-top. It's shrill. It's vulgar. And the combination of…

  • The Big Sick

    The Big Sick

    ★★★½

    THE BIG SICK (Michael Showalter, USA, 2017) 7

    Coming around to the view after a couple of weeks that Kumail Nanjiani isn't much of a stand-up comedian, and isn't meant to be one here, or at least that this film isn't a showcase for his comic chops. Certainly it's a common (and accurate as far as it goes) criticism that Nanjiani's routines aren't funny, and neither are those of his posse. But the film isn't really hurt by it and…

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  • Everybody Wants Some!!

    Everybody Wants Some!!

    ★★★★½

    EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! (Linklater, USA, 2016, 9)

    What I want to say sounds oxymoronic, but … Linklater has succeeded in making an uncritical critique of nostalgia. On one level this film is 200-proof, capital-N Nostalgia, completely self-absorbed in its era, in the filmmaker's own biography, and in the hanging-out vibe it encourages (there is no plot, per se; with a couple of thereby-significant caveats, below). It's an easy life to view through rose-tinted glasses -- the last weekend before classes…

  • A Quiet Passion

    A Quiet Passion

    ★★★★½

    A QUIET PASSION (Terence Davies, Britain, 2017) 9 R

    On second view, A QUIET PASSION (a title that could not unreasonably be paraphrased A LOVE THAT DARE NOT SPEAK) transparently became what I inchoately inferred on first view — Terence Davies’s spiritual autobiography regarding his own deeply conflicted homosexuality, through a felt kinship with Emily Dickinson on that score.

    Davies is openly gay but has said often that he’d rather it weren’t so — he is celibate and it “ruined…