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  • Lenny

    Lenny

    ★★★★★

    Lenny is the story of an entertainer told through the eyes of an audience. When the titular comedian Lenny Bruce is on stage we’re seeing him from the front row. Cinematographer Bruce Sutrees keeps the camera low and looking up at Lenny. Editor Alan Heim frequently cuts to the reactions of other spectators. Even when we get insight into his private life we’re doing so via interviews with the people around him. When we hear Lenny’s wife, mother, and agent…

  • Bringing Out the Dead

    Bringing Out the Dead

    ★★★★★

    The music of failure and ennui is whatever comes across FM radio on a long drive. It’s pop songs, but always the ones they play in doctors’ offices and never the ones they play in bars. It’s classic rock, but always the kind they play in car commercials and never the kind you used to listen to with your dad. It’s a flash of conservative talk radio that you flip off of immediately. It’s finally getting to a great motown song and…

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  • The Vanishing

    The Vanishing

    ★★★★★

    What was the Garden of Eden like? Maybe it was perfectly recognizable for us - a biking trip to France. No one in world besides Adam and Eve: a happy couple on vacation an unencumbered by work. Absolutely in love and able to resolve disagreements quickly and painlessly.

    So why would Eve be tempted by Satan to eat from the tree of knowledge? Maybe she was simply betrayed. She was happy to meet another person in the garden and trusted…

  • Hardcore

    Hardcore

    ★★★★★

    Paul Schrader’s Hardcore is essential Protestant cinema. Catholics have a buffet: Scorsese and Fellini and Sion Sono’s Love Exposure and many more. Protestants must settle for less. Bergman, Herzog (but only viewed through a funhouse mirror), and most explicitly Paul Schrader are the titans of Protestant cinema, and Hardcore is one of Schrader’s finest. 

    Hardcore, on paper, is about a Midwestern businessman searching for his missing daughter in a world of porn and sex. But our protagonist Jake Van Dorn, played…