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  • City of Hope

    City of Hope

    ★★★★

    John Sayles makes a state-of-the-1990s social epic about a city landscape changed by gentrification, primarily in the form of urban renewal called "City of Hope" -- built on the site of projects slated to be condemned. You get every viewpoint, from the foreman to the city council members. For me, there was too much Vincent Spano as a coddled ne'er-do-well punk gone awry and not enough of Frankie Faison's brash shop owner. But Joe Morton is the conscience of this…

  • Silver City

    Silver City

    ★★★

    This is John Sayles's try at something Chandler/Chinatown-esque, using Danny Huston as an investigator who's trying to dig up information on who would plant a corpse on the set of aspiring politician Chris Cooper's campaign ad. It turns into a cynical and angry tale of the powerful versus the dispossessed, moneyed interests (Kris Kristofferson's billionaire industrialist) chewing up and spitting out so many bodies of illegal Mexican laborers fed into the maw of productivity. The biggest flaw is Huston himself,…

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  • Uncut Gems

    Uncut Gems

    ★★★★★

    We're gonna be talking about this movie for years to come: Benny and Josh Safdie have outdone their previous effort, "Good Time," with this amped-up take on Jimmy Toback's "The Gambler." Sandler is a total degenerate, wagering anything he can get his hands on laying the seeds for his downfall with each risky parlay bet made on the flimsiest of hunches. The Safdies get tremendous supporting turns from Kevin Garnett, Lakeith Stanfield, Eric Bogosian, and Julia Fox among others, mixing…

  • Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

    Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

    ★★★½

    The Golden Age of Hollywood was lined with shame and secrets, and people have been spilling the tea continually since then. (Kenneth Anger's seminal "Hollywood Babylon" is nearing its sixtieth anniversary, in fact.) It's common knowledge that many directors and actors lived double lived in the spotlight, to better adhere to post-Hays Code morality clauses laid down by the studio mandarins. But for as many Rock Hudsons as we knew about, there are still more people who went to their…