Sam

My reviews—especially of those films which I love—are filled with excited hyperbole.

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  • The Last Temptation of Christ

    The Last Temptation of Christ

    ★★★★★

    Reckoning with humanity of Jesus, someone who is was a man, desperate and anxious about his place in the world. He experiences God like all men did, with doubt and inconsistency and anger and revelation. He makes great sermons which are praised, reviled and violently misunderstood. 

    I’m not really sure why anyone would want to ban this film or call it blasphemous. It’s a gorgeous, sympathetic portrayal of a flawed but determined man truly dedicated to love. The gospels show an alien like figure, perfect and clean. This film gives us Jesus the human. 

    Masterpiece.

  • In & of Itself

    In & of Itself

    ★★★★★

    Derek Delgaudio uses the intimacy of the magic show to help us see ourselves. You fall into his rhythms and cadence. He’s on the verge of tears and you wish you were in the audience. You suddenly see the woods from the trees and are glad you’re watching it on a screen. People read impossible letters and cry. You see impossible things and cry as well. 

    Masterpiece.

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  • Miller's Crossing

    Miller's Crossing

    ★★★

    Violent and fun but also quite a mess. The plot seems to be both too complex and too simple. And Gabriel Byrne is dull as a doorknob.

  • Face/Off

    Face/Off

    ★★★★½

    There’s a sick poetry in Face/Off. The plot of course is ridiculous but the two psychotic performances by Travolta and Cage elevate it to something special. What would be laughable becomes harrowing, seeing ones identity ripped away by an enemy. Chances for twisted revenge in exchange for your own humanity. The terrific horror of being alone without help. 

    This film is a near masterpiece.

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  • Tenet

    Tenet

    ★½

    Tenet is a terribly written, unnecessarily complex and thoroughly incoherent disaster. But really, it’s just boring. 

    To begin, the central idea of Tenet, shrouded in mystery during its marketing campaign, is merely a device to enable the various action set pieces included in the film. And I would be 100% on board with it if those set pieces weren’t so incompetent.

    Nolan has never directed action well and his central effect merely amplified this deficiency.  The film has all the…

  • The Comey Rule

    The Comey Rule

    ★★★★

    I have absolutely no idea of the truth of this 3.5 hour long political epic, but why do I even need to say that? Can’t I just assume the filmmaker is acting in good faith?

    Good men truly exist, and often they are met with cynicism, suspicion and just down right vitriol. He must be faking it right? It’s all a show. What a showboat. 

    Jeff Daniels inhabits this good man like he knows him. His face is alive with…