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Joe

Joe

Without Joe’s perspective of the world he hates, there’s nothing – not even resentment – with which we can empathize. Joe is left merely with things we can’t condone. This doesn’t prevent it from stopping your blood with its performances. The depth of Cage’s eyes describes hurt in ways that words fail.
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Latest Features

The Fight to Be Fathered: False Politics in Black Panther

The Fight to Be Fathered: False Politics in Black Panther

This is a film made with the intention of proving that black actors should not be typecast as thugs, yet part of its comedic scheme is the counter-marginalization that all white people are colonizers. Black Panther admirably opposes prejudice when it’s directed at certain groups, but I would have preferred it, especially if its goal was “elevation,” to oppose all prejudice equally.
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Ghostbusters (2016) and the Sony Problem

Ghostbusters (2016) and the Sony Problem

This below-average comedy becomes a disreputable slog by whoring out its cast for a studio’s marketing angle. It becomes socially harmful in the guise of good, a defiler in prophet’s clothing, when it promotes the fair representation of young girls in a film whose feministic prowess never exceeds petty and ill-conceived passes at men, whom Sony counter-marginalizes as comeuppance, as though the playground is the most intellectual arena to which feminism has ever gained access.
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The Fault in Our Selves: Peter Rabbit and the Innocence Problem

The Fault in Our Selves: Peter Rabbit and the Innocence Problem

Art isn’t just a product: it’s a testament to the beliefs that made it. What beliefs does Peter Rabbit celebrate? A belief in art or analytics, in magic or in marketing? I remember thinking the same of Kangaroo Jack, of which Peter Rabbit is more a successor than to Potter. At least it’s so disparate from itself that it says nothing about her and everything about us.
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Recent Reviews

Truth or Dare (2018)
Truth or Dare, at least the fifth film with that exact name, is wallowing in convention rather than reapplying it, hoping you’ll forgive it for not having any mirrors to see itself in while hiding the hammer that smashed them behind its back.
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That Touch of Mink
Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much was Day’s proof of concept, which based on her further career everyone seemed to ignore. That Touch of Mink, a film that makes Cary Grant look like he’s not an actor, is just the kind of spineless jaunt that I hate to associate her with.
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Fight Club
The aspect of rebellion in Fight Club makes it the anthem of a cinematic generation, who may not understand it at all. Remember, “the first rule of fight club is that you do not talk about fight club.” If you argued about its philosophy, its meaning, its impact, its significance, the movie would punch you in the nose.
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The Scarecrow
For Buster, falling in love always amounts to running around. Of all his films, The Scarecrow conjures up the most idealized, literal Keaton. It is one of his shortest films, but remember: for Buster, this only means that he’s tuckered out sooner. So are we, in the best possible way.
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Reservoir Dogs
Reservoir Dogs is the kind of art you don’t understand but “appreciate.” Unlike QT’s Kill Bill, which is too busy not apologizing for being a movie to have a sermon hidden under its jumpsuit, this one acts obnoxiously like it has something to say even though it’s up to you to figure it out.
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Peter Rabbit (2018)
Peter Rabbit (2018) is awkward. It’s a heap of a film, and not at all because it’s different. Even the best satire is stuffed with sincerity, like a rabbit full of radishes he’s insisting just up and disappeared. Without it, there’s nothing but smugness.
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The Disaster Artist
Franco performs Tommy with affectionate realism but directs him with too much ambiguous charity, as though The Disaster Artist is the film in which Wiseau finally gets to be the hero, even if no one can quite figure out why.
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Alien: Resurrection
Alien: Resurrection is not unified by its cynicism as Robocop was. It's not a satire of us, but just a satire of Alien movies. It’s never boring and that’s actually something, in the realm of fourth entries. The reason this film is in the category of “Everyone Else is Wrong” is not because I think it’s good, but because I don’t know
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Her
The first thing that must be clear about Her is that it is not satirical: its future is a believable take on a theme of hipster consumerism. Its people are realistically quirky. They are surrounded by fakery but they are not fake. They are peculiar and humane, rediscovering their spirits in a backwards world. Jonze excels at telling a story
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Aliens
Director James Cameron, hot off The Terminator, warps passed Ridley Scott’s harrowing and sensitive tale of psycho-sexual terror into two hours of sadistic fun, a haunted house in space, a boo movie elevated to mythic status. No one will blame you for being exhausted. This is the Citizen Kane of bug hunts.
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The Thing (1982)
In this film, the divisions that we value so much, out of which we create our sense of individuality, will victimize us to a terrifying monster of collectivity. The Thing absorbs and unifies life where suspicious and divided people destroy it. This is Invasion of the Body Snatchers accelerated to universality.
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Wish Upon
Though it’s awkwardly unscary, even anti-scary because of your inevitable laughter, its flaws are deeper than its genre. This movie is eerily comfortable offering nothing new to horror movies with a premise that, when it was just on paper, was okayed by someone without any plea for originality.
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The Cloverfield Paradox
I have not in recent memory seen a film whose concept is more divergent from its filmmaking than The Cloverfield Paradox. It is a movie so dumbfoundingly predictable and yet so incomprehensible that it becomes meaningless even as an average film, a paradox only in the sense that its grand pretensions cannot occupy the same space as the need to
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Carrie (1976)
Carrie is great horror because it basically isn't horror at all – beneath its skin, this film is really a coming of age tale. It takes the innocence of growing up and warps it into a Jungian nightmare realm of laughing faces and perverted desires. When Carrie ultimately becomes the villain, she does it with a straight face, which gives
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The Wailing (Gokseong)
Every frame of The Wailing wades into dream space and out again. Nature in it becomes a backdrop not just to a murder investigation but to the primordial evils of human emotion that would make such an investigation necessary to begin with. We never know if people murder each other because of the anger pent up in a demonic spirit
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Alien 3
I’m aware that Alien 3 had a troubled development and a schizophrenic screenwriting cycle, all documented to any reasonable human’s satisfaction on Wikipedia. But if the result had been miraculous, Fincher would have reaped the credit as a directorial miracle worker. Blame is now the price of that possibility.
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Fantastic Four (2015)
If Fantastic Four is supposed the be the story of a superhero family, the 2015 adaptation makes them seem as unsupportive as you can be before civil action becomes your only option. Not only do they see no beauty or meaning in their heroic endowments, but they are so quick to give up their integrity after the accident that you
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Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
Superman II is exciting even in its flaws: even its badness seems to defy other kinds of movies, like so long as Superman is on top of this, everything else will be okay. It’s an uneven and delightful ride with defiant special effects -- they defy the ambition of their practicality and also how that ambition has aged.
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Recent Reviews