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  • Dear Comrades!

    Dear Comrades!

    ★★★★½

    Despite never reducing the community's pain to an individual's singular experience, Konchalovsky is wise enough to structure his panoramic analysis of past crimes around a fleshed-out person. "Dear Comrades!" is a character study on the dilemma of a stoic Stalinist partisan, observing how her worldview is challenged once her daughter's life is on the line. In the main role, the director's regular collaborator Yuliya Vysotskaya delivers an astounding characterization of gradual disillusionment, faith corroded by fear, motherly abrasiveness melting into…

  • 14 Days, 12 Nights

    14 Days, 12 Nights

    ★★★½

    Jean-Philippe Duval's latest feature is a ghost story in more ways than one. Death looms over the mournful tale, memories of a lost life weighing down on the characters, reminiscence shocking with as much force as a violent apparition. Historical phantasmagoria also works its way into the proceedings, Vietnam's colonial past bringing along its cadre of hauntings. Such ghosts live in the hearts of two mothers, a Canadian oceanographer named Isabelle who, many decades ago, adopted a Vietnamese girl, and…

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  • Mank

    Mank

    ★★★

    I'm flabergasted by two aspects of MANK. First, it feels awfully dishonest to reimagine conservative-leaning, openly isolationist, Herman Mankiewicz as a socialist-defending early critic of the Nazis. I respect this fictional Mank but, by all accounts, he's an outright invention. Second, why cast Oldman in this role? The man's older than Mank ever was and dying young is part of the historical figure's legacy. Since the movie, in all its Kane hommage, is so fond of flashbacks, it means the…

  • The Father

    The Father

    ★★★★

    Can't say I was completely ready for that. Not while still reeling from my grandfather's death less than a month ago. It's a heartbreaking movie, not lacking in insight, painful observational details, and even some formal ingenuity.

    Hopkins, as has been publicized, is remarkable, though I still would hesitate before declaring this the best performance of his long career. I feel tempted nonetheless, especially when one considers how this performance weaponizes so many of the actor's worst traits and crutches.…