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  • Les Hautes Solitudes

    Les Hautes Solitudes

    ★★★

    "The closeness of the camera, combined with intense grain, is reminiscent of Peter Hutton’s approach to black and white: you’re watching a real space being thoughtfully and deliberately abstracted into an expressive, abstract, often quite grainy black-and-white palette. There’s great drama in a woman turning suddenly away from a blown-out window and moving into the near total darkness of a room, snuffing out all light in one quick violent pan. The subject may be suffering and loneliness; there is, nonetheless,…

  • Menashe

    Menashe

    ★★½

    "Menashe is frustrating because it takes hard-earned access, retains documentary virtues, and then dilutes it all via a screenplay that hits every beat exactly where you’d expect. (If a character who’s seemingly about to redeem himself and has had things going well for like eight minutes places some kugel in the oven and then leaves the house while forgetting about it, what exactly do you think is going to happen next?)"

    From Sundance.

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  • Magic Mike XXL

    Magic Mike XXL

    ★★★★

    Magic Mike XXL is a putatively "modest"/"small" film — $14.8 million budget, 28-day shooting schedule, a shambling road movie meant to showcase extended musical numbers and largely excising the first film's recessionary panic. (Business is discussed, specifically the hustle of running a small business, but it's not the dominant throughline motivating everything as in the first, a line of inquiry Soderbergh pursued in Erin Brockovich, Bubble and The Girlfriend Experience, in ways that increasingly played like a meta-text about his…

  • Frances Ha

    Frances Ha

    ★★★★

    This is the kind of movie that causes strongly polarized reactions based on each viewer's capacity to tolerate/recognize/empathize with those on-screen. Some people just can't handle watching 20-/30-something white people undergo minor crises within a basically privileged framework, which is understandable. (That said, I'm not sure why someone with that mindset would ever go watch ANY NOAH BAUMBACH MOVIE and ask afterwards — as some guy did — " if it had any sort of larger social context… besides only…