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  • Stranger Than Paradise

    Stranger Than Paradise

    ★★★★

    I'd seen this once before, in high school, on a standard-def DVD. Obviously pretty iconic. Thought about two things while rewatching it:

    * Legs McNeil going off: "Television, burgers, drinking, violent behavior? ... I love all of that. I declare these things to be mine. I appoint liking Hogan's Heroes and McDonald's to be cool. I love America, too. I love everything about Modern America, the long freeways, Republicans, marching off to foreign wars for no reason, the whole bit.…

  • Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

    Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

    ★★★½

    "Barflies mistranslate William Blake’s exhortation to see the world in a grain of sand as 'study the human condition through endless hours sitting at the bar'—if in vino veritas, then more wine must equal more truth, right? Bill and Turner Ross’s Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets is a day-night-day portrait of an unrepentant Las Vegas dive, the Roaring 20s, on its last day of business—tomorrow, as the closing time saw goes, the regulars don’t have to go home, but they can’t…

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  • 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…

  • 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…