Rane has written 9 reviews for films rated ★★★ during 2016.

  • Jackie

    Jackie

    ★★★

    Idiosyncratic, to be sure, but finding it slips away as easily as most other awards season biopics. Mica Levi's wavering score deserves all the praise it gets and cinematographer Stephane Lorraine composes some aggressive close-ups and snapshot compositions. But Portman's performance/accent contains as many highs as it does lows, and even three (!) framing devices can't keep the narrative from jumbling to near incoherence. This looks and sounds like a good movie, but the image can't quite measure up to the legacy it's creating for itself.

  • Kung Fu Panda 3

    Kung Fu Panda 3

    ★★★

    Feels perfunctory as a third installment, too beholden to previous films and easy jokes. Still, it's bright and fun and I love that DreamWorks is producing a multi-part wuxia epic, so it gets a pass.

  • Don't Think Twice

    Don't Think Twice

    ★★★

    Admirably realistic, but far too dour in its portrayal of borderline unlikable 30-somethings (Gillian Jacobs excluded) still trying to "make it" in comedy for an enjoyable watch. Chris Gethard must have been a beast at improv, though, seeing as he's the only consistently hilarious performer.

  • Wiener-Dog

    Wiener-Dog

    ★★★

    Undercuts its own fatalistic take on the SHORT CUTS-style anthology film with a few mawkish moments (Greta Gerwig's segment is by far the worst, and the only time I haven't liked her), but the pitch-black moments of comedy are of such ridiculous heights that it becomes impossible to leave the film with too negative an impression. Worth the watch solely for the intermission.

    But seriously, the pseudo-intellectual, overly sensitive millennial caricatures can stop any time now. Please.

  • Murmur of the Heart

    Murmur of the Heart

    ★★★

    A hypersexual, unfocused take on THE 400 BLOWS that puts a Freudian spin on the coming-of-age film, dealing in equal parts pathos and shock value.

  • Everybody Wants Some!!

    Everybody Wants Some!!

    ★★★

    Is there any reason for EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! to exist? Does it capture any poignant observations about early '80's college bro culture, or perhaps focus on how little has changed in the last 30+ years? Somewhat, but not really, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The majority of Richard Linklater's best films have focused more on explorations of cinematic temporality and the pontificating of stoners than any cohesive narrative. But the problem with the director's latest nostalgia trip is…

  • Cloverfield

    Cloverfield

    ★★★

    Whatever reactions this film inspired back in 2008, it has not aged well: neither in its implausible use of found-footage (I refuse to believe they wouldn't have dropped that camera after the initial explosion) nor its expressionist depiction of post-9/11 anxieties (nowadays passé in most blockbuster fare). Still, it's well-paced monster movie fun with a thankfully short run time, if not nearly the masterpiece some Abrams fans make it out to be.

  • Deadpool

    Deadpool

    ★★★

    Never manages to shake its thin script or fan-film origins, but Reynolds' focused performance (out of costume, anyway) and a surprisingly believable romance just barely outweighs the forced antihero bullshit. Baccarin is a saving grace here.

  • The Revenant

    The Revenant

    ★★★

    Iñárritu once again uses Lubezki's transcendent camerawork to mask a thin, slogging narrative with simplistic ideas (Nature is cruel! Revenge doesn't accomplish anything!). But at least it's better than BIRDMAN.