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  • Casablanca

    Casablanca

    ★★★★★

    This is it, folks. This is the movies. And they don't make 'em better.

    The early scene between Bogart and Claude Rains where they spend four or five minutes just laying out the whole movie - the stakes, the players, their motivations, their possible hidden motivations - without it ever seeming like a clunky exposition dump... folks, that's just top-class directing, screenwriting, and acting. That's what peak performance looks like.

    As my gf observed shortly after the devastating Paris flashback,…

  • Dont Look Back

    Dont Look Back

    ★★★★★

    "He is not singing so much as sermonizing. Colon. His tragedy, perhaps, is that the audience is preoccupied with song. Paragraph. So the bearded boys and lank-haired girls, all eyeshadow and undertaker makeup, applaud the song and miss the sermon..."

    Immaturity is thinking that Bob Dylan is mean to the Time Magazine reporter. Maturity is understanding that everything he says is true.

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  • Nomadland

    Nomadland

    ★★

    The American Dream may be dead, but at least we have the road, which strikes me as cold comfort. A bit of a chore to sit through, with lots of shots of Frances McDormand gazing into the distance against the sunset in various vast desert landscapes. People have said that the depiction of the Amazon warehouse is soft, but it still probably looks pretty awful to the film's target audience of Academy Award voters. A worker at the Amazon warehouse…

  • American Psycho

    American Psycho

    ★★★★½

    Since Brando, audiences have been trained to regard naturalism is not merely the default acting style, but also the only valid acting style. Christian Bale in this movie is part of a small pantheon of performances (including Damon Wayans in Bamboozled and Nicolas Cage in Vampire’s Kiss) that swim bravely against this tide.