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  • Time to Die

    Time to Die

    ★★★★½

    I put little stock in what I see, sir, and none at all in what people say.

    The movement of objects as headstalls, keys, and pistols change hands; the involvement of the townsfolk and their sense of shared history; the weight of dust and rot and time; the patience with which the film reveals the truth; and the image of an aged, pacifist gunslinger putting on his glasses before a reluctant duel.

    A poignant, focused tragedy interrogating masculinity, machismo, and…

  • Drift

    Drift

    ★★★★½

    It's the wind, really. The ripples in the sail, the stirring of the sand, and the waves of the sea are the patterned impressions of that perpetual play of motion. Life itself mimics the dance in a swarm of seagulls and a colony of ants streaming forth from their portal in a tree. Human activity—the crowds of people spilling out of revolving doors and into trains—seems but a distant, longing tribute. Theresa George feels this longing, a desire to reconnect…

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  • Locke

    Locke

    ★★★

    I quite like this movie. I don't think it's a great movie, but I quite like it. It's essentially an audio play of phone calls, performed repeatedly and edited down to a final aggregate, presented with footage hazily mixing multi-camera capture of the sole visible actor with the symbol-rich imagery of a long drive on the highway at night. It's an appealingly stripped down, theatrical approach to filmmaking.

    While this is a story about a man sacrificing everything to do…

  • Contagion

    Contagion

    ★★★★

    There is much to be said about this movie, but after the events of 2020 I am particularly struck by the accuracy of its predictions regarding panic and uncertainty of how to stay safe in the face of an invisible threat; the need for food and other direct support to be provided to citizens when businesses are unable to operate without unacceptable risk and the supply lines of society have collapsed; and the intentional spread of misinformation for politics and profiteering.

    Despite the greater mortality rate of Contagion's virus, I find myself envious of the comparably decisive and serious leadership enjoyed by its American characters.

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  • Tomorrowland

    Tomorrowland

    ★★★½

    I love Brad Bird. The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Ghost Protocol are all great movies. Unfortunately, this just isn't on the same level.

    Perhaps it's the unnecessarily extended mystery about what's going on (your main character even complains about this near the end, Damon Lindelof!) or the huge and abstract nature of the story's stakes and players, but I found the adventure unsatisfying and had difficulty being emotionally engaged. The exception to that is Raffey Cassidy and her…

  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    Deeply, relentlessly embarrassing. Not merely because of its cowardly drive to erase its predecessor from existence in the wake of certain 'fan' whining. Not merely because of its desperate, pitiful need to be a bloodless, shallow ride that's dressed up in those Star Wars clothes that promise to make everyone automatically like it—and nothing more, lest it risk actually saying something and rubbing that one guy on the internet the wrong way. Not even because it plays like fan fiction,…