Tag Archives: Movies (2017)

Satisfying ‘It Comes at Night’ doesn’t define what ‘it’ is

If I trust the reaction of my audience, you better run to It Comes at Night: it won’t play in theaters much longer. Set in a rural part of the United States after an unspoken apocalypse, perhaps a pandemic, It … Continue reading

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‘Afterimage’ an ideal farewell to Andrzej Wadja

When Andrzej Wajda died last October, the obits didn’t exactly pile up. Despite their availability in sparkling Criterion editions, the Polish director’s films deserve rediscovery for their commitment to linear narrative. While contemporaries experimented with or abjured storytelling altogether, Wadja … Continue reading

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‘Staying Vertical’ stays cool and perverse

“Staying vertical” refers to how one should position oneself when confronted by a wolf. Alain Guiraudie’s latest film could also refer to how to survive when dealing with the screenwriter turned sheepherder who enters the lives of a woman and … Continue reading

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Queerture feature: ‘Alien: Covenant’

Fans who’ve dreamed of helping Michael Fassbender with a fingering should race to any theater showing Alien: Covenant. Playing the synthetic Walter and his less advanced but more erudite earlier model David, Fassbender has a scene in which the latter … Continue reading

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Best movies of 2017 – first quarter and a half

I’ve reviewed about thirty-five films this year to date, an underwhelming 2017 thus far. Look for reviews of Alien: Covenant soon; I missed the press screening. A Quiet Passion and The Lost City of Z are easily the most accomplished … Continue reading

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‘Like Crazy’ a diverting romp

If Italians have the same attitude toward mental illness as people of Spanish descent, Cubans particularly, then I can understand how parts of Like Crazy will grate. This comedy about two women who escape from an institution to reclaim the … Continue reading

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Kill or be killed: ‘The Wall’

Using Hitchcock tactics to define the conflict between American soldiers and Iraqi resistance would have offended me more deeply if The Wall had ambition. Besides, after In the Valley of Elah, Redacted, and Lions For Lambs I’ve had my fill of … Continue reading

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‘A Quiet Passion’ understands Emily Dickinson’s art

Legends linger because reckoning with art is difficult. Emily Dickinson’s penchant for wearing white and her purported reclusiveness, even her habit of writing her poems on cards and bundling them – reckoning with these points is a way of avoiding the typographic … Continue reading

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‘The Dinner’ offers rotten, overcooked fare

WARNING: This review contains spoilers. Playing, over and over, the moment when two teenaged boys set fire to a homeless woman – at last, novelty on film. The Dinner, Oren Moverman’s adaptation of Herman Koch’s best-selling Dutch novel, is a film … Continue reading

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Jean-Pierre Léaud dies exquisitely in ‘The Death of Louis XIV’

At fourteen, Jean-Pierre Léaud let his face be ravished in the most haunting last shot in cinema history. In François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, the mischievous Antoine Doinel, played by Léaud, runs and runs from his parents and adolescent bullshit. … Continue reading

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Jonathan Demme – RIP

He loved quirks, often more than people, befitting a director who got his start as the delightful Roger Corman aficionado of Caged Heat and Crazy Mama. The cross-eyed lepidopterologist in The Silence of the Lambs, Mary Steenburgen’s squeal of delight … Continue reading

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‘Rumble Fish’ remains a stylized, histrionic curio

Lurid, finding a visual correlative for its absurd if not hysterical take on sibling love and rivalry — no, not The Godfather. Rumble Fish makes Rocco and His Brothers look as spare and uninhabited as a Bresson film. In the … Continue reading

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