Tag Archives: Movies (2017)

‘Faces Places’ an elegy to a vanishing France

Near the end of Faces Places, muralist JR remarks to Agnès Varda, “You’re playing the wise grandma.” A legitimate point, for what stifles my enjoyment of Varda’s amiable documentary is the sense that the audience must adore the puckish octogenarian … Continue reading

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‘Call Me By Your Name’ is an unabashed romp

What might make Call Me By Your Name the first wide release film about two gay men fondling each other to attract audiences since 2005 is that it presents itself as an idyll: Armie Hammer is Oliver, a graduate student … Continue reading

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‘The Florida Project’ an amateurish look at life on the periphery

The initial reviews for The Florida Project suggest a digital sociology experiment rather than a successful narrative film. Watching Sean Baker’s story about scrappy kids and their parents trying to survive in the third-rate motels clustered around Walt Disney World … Continue reading

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‘The Unknown Girl’ weakest Dardenne film yet

Distinguishing a great film by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (La Promesse, Rosetta, The Son, The Kid on the Bike) from the okay (Lorna’s Silence, Two Days, One Night) and the ones that split the difference (L’Enfant) is fruitless. The Unknown … Continue reading

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‘Rebel in the Rye’ clueless about writing

The picture isn’t five minutes old when a voice-over intones, “I’ve always found fiction more compelling than reality.” More goodies like this follow. In Rebel in the Rye, the author of The Catcher in the Rye and Frannie and Zooey, … Continue reading

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In ‘Brad’s Status,’ dudes aren’t left off the hook without a fight

At first glance, Ben Stiller and Mike White collaborating on a project is the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of middle aged male angst. Brad’s Status, it’s true, doesn’t dispel its fog of melancholy. But writer-director White’s film about the head of a … Continue reading

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‘mother!’ revels in a new kind of psyops

Claustrophobia has rarely been depicted with the precision that Darren Aronofsky demonstrates in mother!. This horror comedy about the depredations to which an unnamed young wife (Jennifer Lawrence) is subjected by her poet husband (Javier Bardem) is terrible and boring … Continue reading

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‘Paris Can Wait’ a hunk of moldy cheese

Escargot should be cooked alive. Fava beans were found in Egyptian tombs. American cheeses are dead because we pasteurize them. If Paris Can Wait had appeared as an article in a French travel magazine, I would’ve excused its genial snobbery. … Continue reading

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‘Marjorie Prime’ a convincing portrait of querulous old age

Jon Hamm gives his most convincing film performance to date and he’s not even playing a human. In the sci fi chamber piece Marjorie Prime, Hamm plays Walter, or, rather, a “prime” of Walter, the husband of eighty-six-year-old Marjorie (Lois … Continue reading

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‘CQ’ an affectionate homage to ’60s sci-fi

Coppola wines were doing okay in 2001. The Coppola kids too. Although screened out of competition that May, CQ followed The Virgin Suicides a year earlier by also debuting at the Cannes Film Festival. Roman Coppola’s film, however, didn’t get … Continue reading

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‘Logan Lucky’ pulls off its heist, not much else

From his flop The Underneath to the triumph of Out of Sight and the box office success of Ocean’s 11 and even The Informant!, Steven Soderbergh has relished taking heists apart and reassembling the pieces. He’s even better at filming … Continue reading

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‘The Untamed’ a sci fi story brimming with sexual ambivalence

f A movie about a space alien, a story about gay panic, and a vignette about the Mexican middle class, The Untamed manages to be three things at once yet is strongest, unexpectedly, as the second and third. Amat Escalante, … Continue reading

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