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      Rating Title | Year Author Quote
      Afire (2023) Melissa Anderson Flashes of humanizing vulnerability do little to expand a one-dimensional portrait of indignation and arrogance. Despite the title, nothing ignites in Afire.
      Posted Jun 30, 2023
      Neige (1981) Melissa Anderson Filmed in the Pigalle and Barbès neighborhoods, this neo-noirish tale provides a glimpse of Paris rarely seen...capturing dynamic street life, [it's] urban verité, a funky city symphony...a loose ACAB platform firmly on the side of the oppressed.
      Posted Jun 23, 2023
      Scarlet (2022) Beatrice Loayza The film, even in the social-realist mode of its first half, possesses a magical quality...a sustained ambience of naive wonder.
      Posted Jun 16, 2023
      Asteroid City (2023) Nick Pinkerton For a film doused in declarations of suffering and loss, Asteroid City delivers only a muffled emotional impact....long on lugubrious mournfulness but short on comic piquancy.
      Posted Jun 16, 2023
      Will-o'-the-Wisp (2022) Melissa Anderson Motored by carnal action as much as by personal crises and emotional disintegration, João Pedro Rodrigues drolly explore the terrain where XXX meets existentialism...No matter how weighty the theme, though, Rodrigues is never one for sanctimony.
      Posted May 26, 2023
      The Wounded Man (1983) Melissa Anderson Chéreau excelled at modestly scaled portraits of people coming undone by their needs, particularly when they can’t articulate them. That’s especially the case with The Wounded Man....a film of potent, unsanitized eros.
      Posted May 19, 2023
      Unrest (2022) Melissa Anderson If this film about anarchist fervor has the stately, serene aura of a diorama, its notion of time as inherently subjective—a fantasy as inconsistent and obsolescent as the national borders that the anarchists sought to erase—proves far more stimulating.
      Posted Apr 28, 2023
      Beau Is Afraid (2023) Leo Goldsmith Even Beau Is Afraid’s character portraits—usually a strength in Aster’s work—seem, despite the tumescent running time, strangely underdeveloped, even’s a surprisingly uninspired effort.
      Posted Apr 21, 2023
      Trenque Lauquen: Part II (2022) Melissa Anderson In the town named after a round lake, pointed romantic triangles proliferate. Of one of her darlings, Laura says, “I lost the fear of getting lost, of dying.” It is an exceptionally romantic line in a movie that is one of the greatest romances I’ve seen.
      Posted Apr 14, 2023
      Trenque Lauquen: Part I (2022) Melissa Anderson I find myself reluctant to give even a perfunctory synopsis of Trenque Lauquen, since many of the film’s delights emerge from the deliriously original plots and subplots that Citarella and Paredes have concocted.
      Posted Apr 14, 2023
      Showing Up (2022) Michelle Orange Shades of Portlandia infuse the world of Showing Up, which is not just Reichardt’s funniest film but also game in a way that rescues its players from caricature, risking silliness to propose the serious imperatives of any dedicated pursuit.
      Posted Apr 14, 2023
      Drylongso (1998) Melissa Anderson Low-key yet capacious, Drylongso is an affectionate art-school razz; a study of female friendship; a reflection on gender, race, & violence; a murder mystery; and a portrait of Oakland. Among its many pleasures, it reveals the unexpected in the everyday.
      Posted Mar 17, 2023
      Magic Mike's Last Dance (2023) Andrew Chan To the trilogy’s detriment, Last Dance chooses to regard Mike's booing-up as the ultimate, inevitable pursuit. His male apprentices never become anything more than ciphers; his burgeoning partnership with them is an untapped source of drama and pathos.
      Posted Feb 17, 2023
      Pacifiction (2022) Melissa Anderson A hallucinatory, disquieting, languid epic, Pacifiction willfully disorients. Prosaic plot specifics are ancillary to creating unfading images; it's concerned more with sensation than sense. What tethers us to the film is Magimel’s superb performance.
      Posted Feb 10, 2023
      Saint Omer (2022) Melissa Anderson This immensely intelligent film ... exposes a host of limits—of empathy, self-knowledge, language, cultural understanding—while it expands into infinite possibilities regarding the timeworn genres of the courtroom thriller and the immigrant tale.
      Posted Jan 13, 2023
      The Super 8 Years (2022) Melissa Anderson As much as the film acts as a complement to Ernaux’s previously published work, it also affords a unique pleasure: moving-image evidence of the woman in that transitional moment just before and after her first three books were released.
      Posted Dec 16, 2022
      Women Talking (2022) Johanna Fateman The excitingly unnaturalistic performances are emotionally and rhetorically persuasive; as a feminist thought experiment, the film basically succeeds. In its abstracted qualities, there's an implicit understanding that in reality things are never so neat.
      Posted Dec 02, 2022
      EO (2022) Ania Szremski It’s as if Skolimowski, in a fit of rage, is flinging one final rebuke to the entire, unfeeling world. It is painfully successful as such: to me, this is the most feeling film he has ever made. It is surely the one burned most indelibly into my memory.
      Posted Nov 11, 2022
      Armageddon Time (2022) Melissa Anderson Clotted with stumbling attempts to expiate guilt via easy ironies and stock moments of indignation, Gray's film is defined by flaccid political outrage, by a tidy didacticism about what the malevolent practices of four decades ago have wrought today.
      Posted Oct 28, 2022
      Aftersun (2022) Michelle Orange In a mood-forward film, the prevailing sense is one of girlhood taking its last untroubled breath. Among other things this means agreeing, for a little longer, to overlook all the things about your dad he would prefer that you not see.
      Posted Oct 21, 2022
      Tár (2022) Melissa Anderson That Tár, for the most part, engages intelligently with highly charged sociopolitical issues that have fueled innumerable idiotic think pieces is just one of its many pleasing surprises.
      Posted Oct 14, 2022
      Bros (2022) Ed Halter Tonally clumsy, narratively awkward; fails to satisfy as rom or com. Unable to decide if it's an earnest love story or a series of SNL-style parodies, it's far too invested in its own purported novelty and in shaming other attempts at gay representation.
      Posted Oct 07, 2022
      Blonde (2022) Melissa Anderson Blonde is ghoulishly obsessed with Monroe’s pregnancies and reproductive organs. Shots of floating fetuses fill the screen so often that I wondered whether Operation Rescue had invested in the film.
      Posted Sep 30, 2022
      Moonage Daydream (2022) Melissa Anderson Morgen too often indulges his aggravating instinct to cut away from his captivating subject to bombard us with enervating frippery. Desperately, manically trying to draw us in, his ill-conceived Bowie bauble succeeds only in pushing us out.
      Posted Sep 16, 2022
      Hold Me Tight (2021) Beatrice Loayza In Mathieu Amalric’s Hold Me Tight, grief transforms. Like tears seeping into a printed image, the details warp and the colors swell and bleed into one another. The text grows fuzzy; it becomes something else.
      Posted Sep 09, 2022
      Both Sides of the Blade (2021) Blair McClendon A peculiar film to place in Denis’s oeuvre, suffused with regret and yearning, while also trying to push toward something new...Denis and her collaborators [are] partisans of a cinema, lately menaced, stubbornly searching for new means of expression.
      Posted Jun 24, 2022
      We (2021) Melissa Anderson With a light, deft approach, Diop lays bare France’s gruesome, maddening postcolonial history simply by being a patient observer...Motored by Diop's curiosity and compassion...her film is clear-eyed but not cynical, hopeful but not mawkish.
      Posted Jun 17, 2022
      Top Gun: Maverick (2022) Ed Halter A testosterone-heavy entertainment payload...the film succeeds by sticking closely to the formula of its 1986 predecessor, bringing viewers a product that is beautifully polished in its design and blissfully unsophisticated in its worldview.
      Posted Jun 03, 2022
      Happening (2021) Beatrice Loayza More thoughtful and visually sophisticated than what Hollywood tends to produce, Diwan’s film nevertheless has few ideas of its own—a disappointment, considering the conceptual experimentation (and knotty objectives) of the source novel.
      Posted May 13, 2022
      The Tsugua Diaries (2021) Melissa Anderson A work of quarantine ingenuity, The Tsugua Diaries is a late-summer idyll that both acknowledges the grim circumstances that shaped its making and incorporates discord without ever faltering from its low-key ebullience.
      Posted May 13, 2022
      Diva (1981) Melissa Anderson Beineixs film delights, if not overwhelms, the eye. (And in its obsession with the beauty and power of the human voice, Diva might also be thought of as an illustration of the cinéma du listen). Its bewitchery hasnt dimmed more than forty years later.
      Posted Apr 29, 2022
      Petite Maman (2021) Michelle Orange The film builds a riddle into its fable of grieving, loss, and return: If a mother and daughter could meet at the same age, how would they relate? The magic is the ease with which it depicts their convergence, its solace a feat of willing imagination.
      Posted Apr 22, 2022
      Aline (2021) Melissa Anderson A tender portrait of a its very peculiarity, it emphasizes the freakishness of outsize talent and fame, and calls attention to the folly, the ludicrousness of the biopic itselfof trying to make coherent a life that is far from ordinary.
      Posted Apr 15, 2022
      Cow (2021) Sukhdev Sandhu Cow is no Au hasard Balthazar. Still, the end, when it comes, is short, sharp, upsetting.
      Posted Apr 01, 2022
      Ahed's Knee (2021) Leo Goldsmith It conveys the simplistic sense that the largest issues of the dayof institutionalized violence, oppression, and social stratificationare mere personal pathologies. Isnt the point not to free your mind, but to free Palestine?
      Posted Mar 25, 2022
      Deep Water (2022) Melissa Anderson A feeble, witless adaptation...Lyne and his screenwriters never stray from familiar tableaux... The actors portraying the emotionally sadomasochistic couple cant evince the merest spark of shambolic erotic energy between them.
      Posted Mar 25, 2022
      Great Freedom (2021) Melissa Anderson Hans is conceptualized as not much more than a set of presenting symptoms, a man driven by the compulsion to repeat...The film queasily suggests that its not the barbaric system criminalizing Hans that is pathological, but Hans himself.
      Posted Feb 25, 2022
      Privilege (1967) Melissa Anderson Fiery, impassioned, imperfect, iPrivilege/i may occasionally exasperate, but it never postures.
      Posted Feb 11, 2022
      The Worst Person in the World (2021) Michelle Orange That Reinsve must make Julies blurriness particular is a task impeded by Triers tendency toward the broadJulies mess is strictly meta, a matter of poor existential hygieneand never less than pleasing to the eye.
      Posted Feb 04, 2022
      The Marrying Kind (1952) Melissa Anderson Judy Holliday's unassailable timing and instincts bring her character, Florence Keefer, a dispirited wife and mother, vividly to life.
      Posted Jan 28, 2022
      It Should Happen to You (1954) Melissa Anderson An instant fan of Judy Holliday's, I shall continue to honor her memory by repurposing Gladys Glover's unimpeachable exit line whenever I need to beat a hasty retreat: "I think I'd better be going because I'm not having a good time."
      Posted Jan 28, 2022
      The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021) David Cote Not since Roman Polanski's adaptation has a film of the Scottish Play stared so deeply and rapturously into the ruins of human ambition. Coen does it with fidelity to the Folio, shrewd casting, and a few strategic interpretative landmines.
      Posted Jan 14, 2022
      Sambizanga (1973) Yasmine Seale Sambizanga is about the hardest things, but it leaves a gentle, almost honeyed flavor in its wake. Its slyest move is to show political abstractions entangled in material life...Poetics of relation are not theorized but brightly lived.
      Posted Jan 07, 2022
      Memoria (2021) Melissa Anderson Swinton-whose roles in the past decade have been marked by maximalist acting flourishes-appears revitalized by Weerasethakul's signature hush and placidity. The tranquility, though, exists only on a superficial level; so much roils underneath.
      Posted Dec 17, 2021
      Benedetta (2021) Melissa Anderson A lot but not quite enough, Benedetta has the odd distinction of being both OTT and underwhelming...While some zealots may find Verhoeven's latest to be irreligious, for many others, it simply preaches to the choir.
      Posted Dec 10, 2021
      Out of the Blue (1980) Melissa Anderson Dennis Hopper made the film while still in the depths of his various addictions, yet the dark shambolic energy that both radiates from the actor and suffuses every minute of Out of the Blue never once overwhelms Linda Manz.
      Posted Nov 19, 2021
      Spencer (2021) Melissa Anderson A film that spends nearly two hours advancing already axiomatic notions-obscene opulence does not equal freedom; protocol is a prison-with easy ironies, weighty symbols, and portentous phrases.
      Posted Nov 12, 2021
      Passing (2021) Lauren Michele Jackson Passing's as much a matter of what's happening around a body as what appears as surface. That is, it's not all about color, not exactly. This black-and-white film doesn't evade tonal differences on the skin, but rather smartly minimizes their relevance.
      Posted Nov 05, 2021
      The Souvenir Part II (2021) Melissa Anderson As dazzled as I was by the performances in Part I, I was impatient with the meek, well-bred protagonist...Much of the joy here, in contrast, is in how this once-passive young woman plunges headlong into creative projects, friendships, & romantic dalliances.
      Posted Oct 29, 2021
      Dune (2021) Ed Halter Devoted to the ambitious production of overawing grandeur, it never quite coheres into something more profound or compelling than its carefully wrought parts, but does deliver a pageant splendid enough to entertain those of us unfamiliar with the book.
      Posted Oct 29, 2021
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