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  • Shiva Baby

    Shiva Baby

    ★★★½

    Equal measures uproarious, anxious, caustic, and sexually forward, Seligman's intensely claustrophobic comedy mines early-20s anxieties for a rich vein of cringe-inducing humor while remaining empathetically keyed into her protagonist's subjective experience and turbulent emotions--wracked by jealousy, insecurity, and resentment alike--all filtered through a culturally specific lens of Jewish experience. Sennott's po-faced expressions evoke waves of beleaguerment, spikey truculence, and flushed panic with nimble understatement which grounds the occasionally absurdist strains of the humor, while her combative bond with Gordon's Maya becomes the human core of the film, their relationship a rock amidst the embarrassment and loneliness despite its ups and downs.

  • Easy Living

    Easy Living

    ★★★★

    Leisen keeps the social commentary light and the tone sparklingly fleet-footed in this irrepressibly delightful slapstick farce that sets its target on the wealthy and their empty, self-satisfied lives. Arthur's befuddlement and grounded skepticism make her more than a blonde ditz who lucks into fortune, her genuine guilelessness rendering her a charming Everyman whose confusion is quickly supplanted by a giddy excitement without sacrificing her spunk as she checks dreams off her list--moving from a pair of dogs and goldfish…

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  • Sicario

    Sicario

    ★★★★

    The strength of Villeneuve's intensely muscular direction, Deakins's gloomily gorgeous and evocatively atmospheric cinematography, and Jóhannsson's lush score set a spectacularly grim, fatalistic air of dread-soaked taut tension that lends Sheridan's overly glib, cynically nihilistic drug-war horror story a pulpy tone. The film's pulpiness helps to trim away the shallow nihilism of its moral commentary by amplifying the gruesome horrors of the film's bleakly nihilistic world and the grim amorality of its characters, overpowering Sheridan's didactic intentions and delivering a…

  • Mission: Impossible - Fallout

    Mission: Impossible - Fallout

    ★★★★

    McQuarrie returns to the series with an understanding of the elements involved--the players and their strengths, the expected action quotient, and the relevant plot points to hit--and brings a deftness to the execution that balances the globe-spanning espionage theatrics and horizon-expanding action sequences with casual, quippy comedy and a seedling of emotional investment in its characters' lives--Hunt's romances never entirely convincing given Cruise's paternal air, but the friendships lend resonance to the life-threatening escapades, making the stakes personal--that, together, make…