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  • The Little Things

    The Little Things

    ★★½

    Solid little thriller until a final act I didn't find realistic. The film is at its strongest detailing the procedural elements Washington in particular uses to advance in solving the crimes, and Hancock smoothly guides our eye and attention, often without much dialog. Washington himself is also really compelling and believably broken in ways both large and small, which is really the only element attempting to elevate this out a generic thriller that worked for me. I've never found Malek…

  • The Woman in the Window

    The Woman in the Window

    ★★★

    I actually had a pretty good time with this silly, pulpy thriller. It made me long for the time when a handheld camera wasn't the only viable technique for drama or tension. The movie is pretty self-aware and winking about exactly the kind of mystery it is, with Amy Adams even admitting, basically directly to camera, "I know you think I'm unrelatable and unreliable" and Joe Wright leans into this heightened style at times with some expressive colored lighting separating different rooms within her interior space. Had a big, goofy grin on my face during the ending.

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  • Captain America: Civil War

    Captain America: Civil War

    For the life of me I can't understand how fans find anything to give a shit about in these films.

    There's no personality, no stakes, no energy on display from either the cast or the directors. In the Russo brothers, I think Marvel have found their ideal directors: artless, visionless servants of an episodic TV structure. The action isn't exactly unintelligible (Marvel films are too insidious to be completely unsound), but it's passionless: hyperkinetic yet perfunctory. The Russo brothers' "style"…

  • Phantom Lady

    Phantom Lady

    ★★★★½

    A searing and insidious noir, finding and seizing every opportunity to break out of its studio confines. Even early on, Phantom Lady begins to distinguish itself from Siodmak's other "blue collar" noirs like The Killers and Criss Cross, positioning itself visually as something much more gothic and romantic, and therefore much more surreal and scary. A strange phantom New York -- a hazy, sleepy place like Eyes Wide Shut's -- is conjured up with expressionistic framing and lighting, and tricks…