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February 2017

  1. Redbelt

    2008 film

    Watched 24 February 2017

    Supporting characters could have been a lot better, and some of the dialogue tries so hard to be “realistic” that it goes right back down the uncanny valley. But overall this is a solid 90-minute gem that can keep its intrigue from start to finish. Tightly plotted, executing well on its themes.

  2. The Girl with All the Gifts

    2016 film

    Watched 19 February 2017

    Nothing this film attempts to do differently manages to set it free from the curse of zombie sameyness.

  3. Nocturnal Animals

    2016 film

    Watched 12 February 2017

    I’m a sucker for dark, velvety thrillers, and this one worked pretty well for me. The bleak tone had me completely hooked within five minutes. Though it sometimes feels a bit derivative (some moments were especially on-the-nose Lynchian), I cannot deny that it’s effective. It is a dexterously unsettling film.

    Tom Ford is, no doubt, a sharp aesthete. What I wasn’t expecting was a very palpable feeling of futility and hopelessness as the other side of the coin, and impostor syndrome as a plot device. It works well in adding some substance to the style.

    Pretty great for a film about spiteful, vengeful assholery. It’s not an easy theme to pull off.

  4. La La Land

    2016 film

    Watched 6 February 2017

    Not being a fan of musicals, I often found myself wondering if La La Land would work better as a more straightforward drama without all the singing and dancing. But it managed to convince me that the music is what makes it work — it’s the otherwise unattainable mix of spectacle and candor that makes it so compelling.

    But I’m not convinced it’s as timeless as it clearly wants to be. I’m curious to find out if this one ages as well as I’m sure Ryan Gosling will.