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  • Vanilla Sky

    Vanilla Sky

    ★★★★½

    'Vanilla sky' might as well work as a label for the turn of the millennium adult oriented entertainment of which Vanilla Sky is very much a part, and on which Vanilla Sky also seemingly comments (its offensively inoffensive visual, its retrograde approach to form and thematics). The insipid homespun (Hollywood) take on approved European festival import is most plain in Silberling's remake of Wenders' Wings of Desire (City of Angels), but languor as affect defines much of the period's broader…

  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

    Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

    ★★★★½

    Austin Powers as a disposable gag (making ludicrous the insidious 'charm' of golden era Bond) inadvertently entered the pop cultural landscape of 1997 appearing to channel as much as deride the 'new dawn' of British optimism. What Myers thought was safely of the past was in reality being grasped for by a fervent now-time ready to brand itself according to the same material. International Man of Mystery thought it novel to ask what would happen if an artefact of the…

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  • Carrie

    Carrie

    ★★★★

    What stands out is De Palma's breathless disinterest in plotting which is employed to anchor Carrie's abuse into something linear and therefore manageable, as well as to lay the foundations for the moment where in the face of transcendent abuse these narrative and ontological frameworks cease to make sense. We see implosion every so often, but Carrie's self-destruction goes beyond the generic to the very questions of form and being. It's so fucking sad, but if there's anything that can…

  • Baywatch

    Baywatch

    Good, but there's an unfortunate first act where establishing the nominal plot is performed parallel to laying out Brody's perfunctory redemption arc, and by the time things are moving along stupidly the film dispenses with most things gratuitous. Which means that vascularity scales inversely to entertainment even as entertainment goes the same way as the formidably alien, or, by the time the film calls for Robbie Williams as a fake tan Ninja Turtle, Efron no longer looks enough like Robbie Williams as a fake tan Ninja Turtle. Here's hoping the sequel begins and ends with the weirdo mythic scope that Baywatch reveals but rarely commits to.

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  • The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight

    I attended this really wonderful lecture on superheroes and the War on Terror, and how a number of very important comics post-9/11 became self-critical in their examination of states of emergency and exceptional politics, and the autoimmune system that leads to the violent pursuit of 'order' becoming the greatest source of chaos. Because superheroes respond to 'emergency' situations and operate within a non-legal or extra-legal capacity to inflict sovereign violence on the enemy (the enemy itself prone to slippage e.g.…

  • Hereditary

    Hereditary

    ½

    Shifts critical-fashionably between polarities of dumb. Hereditary has a secret desire to lose itself to black blooded horror, but it is restrained by Ari Aster's smothering auteurism. The twist is that it's the latter impulse which manifests in ham-fisted cries and hollow shocks, some so shrill that the film inches towards something like a satisfying genre piece. It's kind of hysterical: Collette's gravity defying agony can't steal focus from the smug master crafting callous scenarios in his very own miniature…