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  • In the Cut

    In the Cut

    ★★★★

    2004 Ranking 

    Jane Campion’s direction once again is fantastic in such a different, lurid kind of setting - the way in which Campion pays attention to visual style even in dialogue scenes is just remarkable - and probably my favourite Meg Ryan performance I’ve seen. Only reservation is that the ending revelations are really predictable and the impact muted, though that’s more on the source material than anything I guess.

  • Maria Full of Grace

    Maria Full of Grace

    ★★★½

    2004 Ranking 

    Catalina Sandino Moreno is phenomenal, that is without question, and another performance that would have deserved to win from this rather interesting year for the Best Actress category. Will say that the film doesn't always seem to know how to switch from its tense and uncomfortable moments to ones of warmth, ending up being a bit tonally all over the place, but I think it works well in its unassuming approach as Maria gets deeper and deeper into the world of drug trafficking. Not sure how I feel about the ending but I think it'll sit better with me over time.

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  • In The Heights

    In The Heights

    ★★★★

    2021 Ranking

    Wasn't huge on the framing device and I do think it stumbles a bit in some of the non-musical dialogue scenes. But pretty much every song hits so beautifully with such infectious energy from Jon M. Chu and his wonderful cast - not a single false note among them, especially Anthony Ramos, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, and Olga Merediz - that it more than made up for any reservations I had. You really grow to care for each character, and it makes the rousing bits all the more wonderful. You feel the sense of community and camaraderie.

  • Malcolm & Marie

    Malcolm & Marie

    ★★

    2021 Ranking 

    Ouch. 

    This felt more stagy and theatrical than the play adaptations in contention this awards season, without being adapted from a play in the first play. It has that heightened overly dramatic theatre kid style that I kind of hate to begin with, and it does affect pretty much everything else. 

    Sam Levinson has some style as a visual filmmaker (that B&W cinematography and some of the early camera movements are commendable), but man is his dialogue insufferable.…