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  • District 13: Ultimatum

    District 13: Ultimatum


    Dir. Patrick Alessandrin. 2009. R. 101mins. In French, with subtitles. Cyril Raffaelli, David Belle, Daniel Duval.

    The second of this week’s offerings from French megaproducer Luc Besson (after From Paris with Love) is the somewhat underwhelming sequel to 2004’s parkour-popularizing District 13. Limber police captain Damien Tomaso (Raffaelli) and antelope-like renegade Leïto (Belle) team up to take down the devilish head (Duval) of a Halliburton-esque conglomerate named, uh, Harriburton. But this mock-timely story — which culminates in a stale tokin’-with-the-President scene more…

  • Promised Lands

    Promised Lands


    Dir. Susan Sontag. 1974. N/R. 87mins. In Hebrew, French and English. Documentary.

    Strong and pointed as Susan Sontag’s intellect could be, she was sometimes undone by the trendiness of her topics. Case in point: Promised Lands, her unfocused documentary portrait of Israel during and immediately after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Sontag and a skeleton crew photograph this war-torn nation with a fashionable inquisitiveness — as if it’s the mod place for the intelligentsia to bear witness to the ongoing…

Popular reviews

  • Nomadland


    [Published as part of New Pollution #2]

    The irritatingly genteel Nomadland, adapted from a nonfiction book by Jessica Bruder, appears well on its way to golden statuettes and other year-end plaudits. For writer-director-editor Chloé Zhao this is the last stop before the Marvel Moloch grinds her personal stamp, such as it is, to a pre-viz’d pulp with The Eternals. I didn’t much care for the mannered neo-realism of The Rider, but at least it could fall back on the authenticity…

  • Jojo Rabbit

    Jojo Rabbit

    [Published September 9th, 2019, Slant Magazine]


    Waititi prefers to treat his audience like drooling cretins who need their hands held through every shift in tone, reassured that everything, even in a world off its axis, is going to work out. It doesn’t help that this misguided production is utterly devoid of laughs, though I admit to cracking a desperate smile when the nitwit Nazi played by Sam Rockwell demands that an underling bring him German shepherds, as in the dogs, and is instead delivered shepherds who are German. It’s a flash of punny bliss in what’s otherwise Marvel Presents Mein Kampf.