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  • Maya

    Maya

    ★★★½

    "Because Hansen-Løve does not neatly alternate between a fixed number of narrative strands, there is no sense of what the film’s agenda(s) might be, or even if it has one. As such, I sat right up in my seat in sheer surprise a number of times; there was the feeling that anything might happen with no notice, which I find exhilarating. Still, it’s impossible not to note that this film is Problematic in at least three different ways:"

    From TIFF.

  • A Million Little Pieces

    A Million Little Pieces

    ★★½

    "Gear-switch: I am not, by and large, much for schadenfreude-fueled viewing. I have seen, and continue to be assigned on a freelance basis, more than enough garbage for review purposes that I do not actively seek out low-quality work for kicks; still, when I learned a few weeks ago that a film version of James Frey’s infamous “memoir” A Million Little Pieces was somehow a movie in the year of our lord 2018, I knew I had to set aside…

  • Death of a Nation

    Death of a Nation

    "To thoroughly unpack the falsehoods, rhetorical sleights of hand, goalpost shifting, and general bad-faith arguments would require a monograph. One example will suffice: To prove that Hitler wasn’t a 'right-winger' but truly belongs to the left, D’Souza notes that the dictator is often deemed right-wing because he’s perceived as homophobic. (Well, yes.) But in fact, that’s incorrect, because Hitler tolerated homosexuals in the brownshirts as long as they were good fighters; ergo, he wasn’t homophobic, and by extension he’s not…

  • Eighth Grade

    Eighth Grade

    ★★★

    "It’s certainly not Burnham’s fault that what’s actually a fairly accomplished film is already ridiculously overhyped, but here are my two significant problems. One is the rather standard coming-of-age arc: I don’t necessarily mind the YouTube monologues Kayla makes in an awkward stab at attaining popularity through vlogging, choked with so many 'likes' and 'ups' that making a legal transcript of them would be particularly torturous. I do, however, mind the way each one articulates sets up the theme and…

  • 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…