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  • The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

    The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

    ★★★★★

    There's a whole lotta waxing philosophical about Christopher Nolan's Batman series currently, due to The Dark Knight's 10-year-anniversary. Well, 85 years prior, Fritz Lang's Dr. Mabuse (Rudolph Klein-Rogge) was every one of your favorite Nolan villain (Joker, Scarecrow, Bane) stuffed into the frail body of one crooked-nose, bug-eyed lunatic. Mabuse tries to control Berlin through systemic chaos; pumping dope into the air, creating new currency in an attempt to devalue national currency, committing crimes that have no monetary gain, instigating…

  • Carol

    Carol

    ★★★★★

    A lot has changed in the world since 2015 but Carol still remains the best American movie of this century. Flung from space and into rarified air.

    In a 1950s department store, Therese (Rooney Mara) is stuck working behind the doll counter. Though it’s not in her section, she daily sets up the Christmas train set in a different area of the store before it opens, and then resigns herself to her post. In a sea of housewives frantically shopping…

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  • Smooth Talk

    Smooth Talk

    ★★★★

    Smooth Talk has a somewhat bad reputation because it tones down the implied serial killer history of Arnold Friend in Joyce Carol Oates’ short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”. The author herself loves how the screenwriter Tom Cole and director Joyce Chopra instead chose to focus on elongating her prose about the young woman’s relationship with her friends, family, and body. Because something that was implied but never outright stated in her text (a serial murderer…

  • Under the Silver Lake

    Under the Silver Lake

    ★★★★

    On my first viewing, I'll have to say, I got this film wrong. I think it's justifiable to be annoyed or uneasy or put off by the sexism of Under the Silver Lake but I think part of the reason I got this film wrong is because there are aspects of myself that I didn't want to acknowledge or look at here. So, because those were only fragments, rather than engage with them, I dismissed the film. Still, my mind…

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  • Avengers: Endgame

    Avengers: Endgame

    ★★½

    I gave Infinity War two stars, so yes I think Endgame is slightly better, but mostly due to having the feeling of more of an ending and not just a year-long pause button. I'm giving the potential bum-rushers a bit of baseline context. I'm not entirely sure how to critique something that exists almost entirely as fan service entertainment, outside the tenets of regular filmmaking, if I'm not a fan. It does what it set out to do and the…

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    Bohemian Rhapsody

    ★½

    When rock critics hear Queen’s improbable hit single “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the first time, Bryan Singer’s film (of the same name) flashes a bunch of dismissive critical quotes. One quote outstretches all the others and ends the sequence, that’s “perfectly adequate” and it perfectly describes the adequate rock biopic of aha musical moments, backstage drama, and 15-year reflections from backstage framing. But the problem is that where it isn't perfectly adequate and vanilla it's actually painfully safe and somewhat erasing,…