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  • New Order

    New Order

    ★★★★★

    I adore this movie for many reasons--not least of which is that this absolutely scalding apocalyptic vision does not quite achieve the gravitas of Haneke or Cuaron...There is something slightly grindhouse-esque about the echoes of SALO. Some have even, sacre bleu, likened it to that Bush-era genre, torture porn! If so, I say: Goody gum drop. Franco's picture is a letter-perfect imagining of an income-inequalitous society gone tilt, and if you deem the last shot "heavy-handed," let me assure you: it will live on in my nightmares.

  • Army of the Dead

    Army of the Dead

    A group of depressed, dead-end people in a dystopian America band together and storm a history-laden building that's the essence of Form Without Content. Once they bash their way into this holy citadel, they find that all is not what it seems, and in fact they are on a road to total self-destruction. Leave it to Zack Snyder to make a zombie epic that has the same basic plot beats as the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.

    In Zack's America,…

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  • Irma la Douce

    Irma la Douce

    ★★★★★

    I doubt you can find a good review for Billy Wilder's hit follow-up to his Best Picture-winning THE APARTMENT, but IRMA is proof that--in the sixties anyway--Billy's comedies were more haunting than other people's dramas. Jack Lemmon's honest cop, courting Shirley MacLaine's honest whore, discovers that an honest man must play a whoremaster, a gentleman must play a murderer, and many other ruses by which true love is permitted to exist in Wilder's truly unlovely world. Long damned by auteur…

  • The Master

    The Master

    Sinister, cryptic, sidelong, dislikable. The second in a series of PTA films that are like adaptations of imaginary classic American novels. (PTA's There Will Be Blood, while credited as adapted from Upton Sinclair's Oil!, really bears almost no relationship to that novel.) Here, PTA follows up the mythic rise of heroic/antiheroic capitalist Daniel Plainview--a maven of physical goods, a bleeder of the earth--with what PTA pegs as the defining category killer of the modern, meaning postwar, world: one who sells…