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  • Let the Sun Shine In

    Let the Sun Shine In

    ★★★

    "Denis’s film hit NYFF a few months before the first publication of her co-writer Christine Angot’s work in English — fortuitous for me, since I’ve written so much about Denis over the years that it felt like I’d totally run out of new material. Reading Incest (copies are out there already) clarifies some things about where Sunshine is coming from. A controversial cultural institution in France, Angot practices auto-fiction; the title should be taken literally, but it takes a while…

  • A Question of Faith

    A Question of Faith

    "Most Pure Flix productions—the flagship God’s Not Dead films, The Case For Christ, I’m Not Ashamed—stick to a fundamentalist emphasis on the importance of testifying to faith in every possible arena, with a healthy dose of persecution paranoia for garnish. The comparatively innocuous A Question Of Faith is a surprisingly unrelenting lecture on the dangers of texting while driving (a phrase said way more times than the name of Jesus), with a secondary emphasis on why it’s good to be…

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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…