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  • Boyhood

    Boyhood

    ★★

    An experiment in filming, where the conceit is the content. This is a 12 year+ chronicle of an american working class family post 9/11. All the usual Linklater elements are strong here (dumbed down philosophical angst, the shorthand of cliques, walking scenes and talking scenes and walking and talking scenes. Sudden domestic danger to liven the pace. Amateur actors left to tread water in long, long sunny takes to slow it back down.)

    It's on 35mm with colors bursting like…

  • Hell or High Water

    Hell or High Water

    ½

    Inexplicably depressed Nationalist propaganda film about open carry, Ford trucks and actually gettin the feels about yer dead Mexican/Indian sidekick. There are no villains in the story, just heroes and bystanders cuz Texas.

    If ever there was a case for story being nearly inconsequential to how good a film is (a case I make always), it's this story, written by Taylor Sheridan . . . who also wrote Sicario and won awards for it. HoHi's screenplay begs for another go-round…

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  • The Lady Vanishes

    The Lady Vanishes

    ★★★★★

    The tightly wound ship that launched a dozen Bond film endings, the Silver Streak and all the model work of Wes Anderson.
    This is the light-dramedy-Brit Hitchcock arguably at his best before color. Stunning.

  • The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

    The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

    ★★

    Gilliam throws a sad wanna-be Fellini pity party for himself. The usual excess of metaphysical paranoia (and endings) are present, but this time it’s gaudily sprinkled with ‘greatest hits of Gilliam’ mementos.
    Giant landscape hand and heads from Python intros. A face swap and baby dolls from Brazil. Bearded Middle Eastern women from Life of Brian, and apparently even the old stock of giants from Lost in La Mancha.

    Problems, this film has got a lot of them, even in…

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  • Citizen Kane

    Citizen Kane

    ★★★★★

    Yes, it's all that its supposed to be. Multiple narrators, some of them contained in another's story. Brilliant camera work, especially for the time it was filmed. An ensemble cast working flawlessly together as theater friends only can (Welles' Mercury players are featured here.) Creates its own mythology, symbolism, pace, narrative techniques, tricks and tropes.
    Certainly worth revisiting.
    Welles' performance is one for the history books alone.
    Let's see . . zooming over vistas of splendor and ruin, shouting newsreel…

  • First Reformed

    First Reformed

    ★★★★½

    "I've discovered a new from of prayer". Rev Ernst Toller
    "The world moves on a woman's hips" David Byrne, The Great Curve

    Schrader perfects his 'Transcendent' art of film style that little bit more with Alexander Dynan's Bergman/Bresson-esque portraiture in a glorious Academy ratio. (I hope this trend continues in more new films!)
    Unfortunately . . . he also solidifies his macho-monk-bemoaning existence a little more as well. For as deeply and persistently as Schrader has plumbed the empty view…