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  • Last Days

    Last Days

    ★★★★

    Both this and Gerry are pretty crucial movies as far as Developing My Aesthetic go. The Straight Story was my intro to slow cinema, Yi Yi blew the gates open and Gerry conclusively demonstrated to me that I was totally up for Hard Art. I was worried before it came to town that it might be Too Much Movie for me; J. Hoberman’s closing diss was especially intimidating: “In a recent issue of Artforum, John Waters declared his allegiance in…

  • Won't You Be My Neighbor?

    Won't You Be My Neighbor?

    ★★

    (Excerpted/slightly modified from an email I sent a friend, best I can do.)

    With the caveat that we all have things as viewers that we get disproportionately mad about and dilate on, I'm being unfair etc.: this is totally not the kind of movie I normally watch. I'm on a jury, so it came up, so it's almost unfair to the movie to watch it. [IT WAS PULLED FROM THE SLATE, I WATCHED IT FOR NAUGHT.] I was annoyed by…

  • Personal Truth

    Personal Truth

    “You’re being lied to, Susan. You’re being lied to on a daily basis by the entire mainstream media. Twenty years in this town [editor’s note: Hollywood, naturally], surrounded by all these showbiz phonies, and you can’t see that?”

    “They’re not the ones lying, it’s you. Everything you say now is a lie.”

    John fixed her with a cold stare. “Are you going to tell me Pizzagate is a lie?”

    Susan fell suddenly silent. Her two decades in Hollywood had taught her plenty about the sexual perversions of the rich and famous. “I don’t know about Pizzagate,” she said quietly.

    Watch here.

  • Full Metal Jacket

    Full Metal Jacket

    ★★★½

    There is not a single normal personal interaction in the first reel — there are the numbed close-ups of the recruits having their heads shaved, but no signs of life there, and only one reaction shot of Matthew Modine having time to contemplate rather than responding to R. Lee Ermey. There is not a single conversation between two people until the start of the second reel; I'm guessing this internal timing was not an accident. I very much admire how,…

  • Benji

    Benji

    Reviewed here. If you have Netflix, definitely watch the post-credits outtakes, which are kind of a perfect one-minute movie. Otherwise, you know...it's Benji.

  • 12 Days

    12 Days

    ★★★½

    That score is awful, please stop encouraging Alexandre Desplat. His name is on the poster, I assume there is some pragmatic reason for his involvement. The accompanying long shots are also useless. Otherwise this is great as Depardon usual.

  • The Task

    The Task

    ★★★★

    Here is a long write-up of True/False/2018, which covers this title. The piece begins:

    "In 1976, German screenwriter/producer Peter Märthesheimer wrote the punchily titled essay “What Can the Hero Do? He Can Change the World! A Few Problems Concerning Drama Production.” He began:

    Many television plays, good and bad, have come about because a drama producer or script-writer has said at some time or other, ‘Something ought to be made about…’ Then a so-called ‘theme’ usually follows, a ‘problem’ which…

  • Piercing

    Piercing

    ★★★

    "The plot is simple: a man (Christopher Abbott) wants to stab a sex worker (Mia Wasikowska) to death with an ice pick, but she turns the tables. Pesce’s adaptation of Ryu Murakami’s source novel follows the arc and major events closely but omits all interior psychology and context. Murakami’s (excellent) book is, at its core, a story about a man abused as a child who thinks that performing this one act will make it all go away; shades of Claire’s…

  • Venom and Eternity

    Venom and Eternity

    ★★★½

    "I may not be right, but the others will soon be wrong." Exactly.

  • Song to Song

    Song to Song

    ★★½

    This movie is absolute trash (I have zero interest in discussing this, I know all the arguments already and trust me there's absolutely no good reason to get into this with me, let it be).

    That said: this is an Austin movie shot almost entirely in locations that were built up after I left in 2004, so it's weird to watch - a hometown dispatch I largely don't recognize. But there is one exception. There's literally like two shots in…

  • The Disaster Artist

    The Disaster Artist

    ★★★

    "James Franco has been annoying a lot of people, myself included, for a variety of reasons, not least his relentless direction of a shocking number of movies, most quite poorly received: if I’m counting the credits on his IMDB page right, The Disaster Artist is his 16th feature since 2005 — not precisely Fred Olen Ray levels of shoddy productivity, but not that far off either. For easily his most mainstream effort (and, full disclosure, the only one I’ve seen),…

  • Lost Highway

    Lost Highway

    ★★★½

    The first time I saw Lost Highway was 2006 at BAM in downtown Brooklyn. I left the auditorium and everything seemed wrong: there was no one outside on an eerily deserted street on a Saturday afternoon. I walked to the subway to visit my friend in Manhattan and there was no one on the platform, just a loud, previously unnoticed hum from the lights. The train arrived and it was empty except for the blatantly mentally ill. Not until I…