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  • The Old Man & the Gun

    The Old Man & the Gun

    The tone and composition of these images is flawless (not surprising from Lowery), but the writing and editing and sound designs are inexplicable, and distracting (again, not surprising, I suppose, from Lowery). Redford really is charming tho.

  • Generation Wealth

    Generation Wealth

    Generation Wealth, or, Wealth is a Disease, or, the Love Money Really is the Root of All Kinds of Evil, You Fool’s

    Where’s my near-obsessive documentary about the psychology of people who are drawn to near-obsessive psychologizing of the wealthy, carried out under the pretense that they’re, that is, the wealthy are, some sort of secret window into the neuroses of the culture at large?
    Oh, it’s here too, if not in a the way it’s intended.

  • The Apartment

    The Apartment

    Consolidated Life

  • Eating Animals

    Eating Animals

    not the best version of this documentary formula, which in both form and content I’ve seen at least a half-dozen times

    but

    somehow, the one which is most effectively making us rethink and rework our patterns of food consumption.

  • Julie & Julia

    Julie & Julia

    two basically uninteresting stories do not add up to one interesting film

    but

    that archetypical Paris production design is the visual equivalent of a heaping helping of comfort food.

  • Wendy and Lucy

    Wendy and Lucy

    This film haunts me, I think. It was one of the first ‘independent films’ I watched, and I remember vaguely a sense of bemusement which sat with me as the credits rolled, interrupting what I figured must be the middle of the story. But no, it was the end of the story, at least the story told. 

    It was, for me, an introduction, though I wouldn’t have put it this way at the time, to ways in which form could…

  • Hearts Beat Loud

    Hearts Beat Loud

    Exactly what I should behave expected from a film called “Heats Beat Loud”. Characters who are mostly featureless (excepting Offerman’s infectious genial-dad vibes), bumping aimlessly into one another, getting along in anodyne formulaic interactions, and singing painfully conventional pop songs (earnest though they may be) makes for something of a tedious experience.

  • The Magnificent Ambersons

    The Magnificent Ambersons

    I think my first encounter with Orson Welles as director. The story as it is is quite good; I suspect Welles’ lost long cut is even better. The performances are top notch, especially given the hamminess to which so many actors and scripts of this era defaulted. Each character is fleshed out, and you get the sense of real conflict, not just machinations of plot. I loved the radio-play credits at the end.

  • The Wind Will Carry Us

    The Wind Will Carry Us

    I guess I’m working backwards with Kiarostami, my first of his Iranian films. It’s concerned, like Certified Copy and Like Someone in Love, with the ambiguity and perhaps impossibility of communication, the difficulties of translation (culturally & linguistically, though I suppose that distinction might be one without a difference), the posturing of culture, the illusion of progress, the groundwire of human connection and care. As with CC and LSiL, I’m mostly befuddled, but impressed and intrigued.  I suspect it will sit with me for a while.

  • Fahrenheit 11/9

    Fahrenheit 11/9

    One of the (many, many, countless many) damning things about contemporary American politics is that Moore’s films (this one in particular), and then, say, Fox’s bullshit invocation of Moore as bogeyman, and then Moore’s bullshit invocation of Fox’s invocation in another of his bullshit films, all passes, for so many, as even a part of our political discourse. (A problem to which I suppose I’ve contributed, by watching it, and now reviewing it.)

    The more sympathetic my politics become to…

  • Crazy Rich Asians

    Crazy Rich Asians

    I was, not exactly expecting this to be a mid-2000s romcom in literally every respect except the setting and the ethnicity of our protagonists. The script is an abomination (maybe the fault for this lies mostly with the source material, but surely it wasn’t improved) and the production design is fun (though I couldn’t quite quell my righteous anger that anyone, even one person, is allowed to be this rich). 

    Additionally, I do not understand the conception of love these kinds of films have anymore. By the end I was 99% on Eleanor’s side.

  • Leave No Trace

    Leave No Trace

    Plays like a kinder, gentler Kelly Reinhardt film. I’m grateful to have been exposed to a heretofore unknown-to-me struggle for some of our already overburdened veterans. There are also some really incisive scenes about public services that aren’t just slash-and-burn critical.