Zach A

Those satisfactions are permanent.

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  • Den of Thieves

    Den of Thieves

    ★★

    The experience of watching Den of Thieves was both frustrating and reassuring.

    The film was recommended to me (like many other cinephiles, I assume) based on my interest in the works of Michael Mann. While Den of Thieves is an obvious rip-off of Heat, the film hints at both the classical and inventive elements of Mann's most exciting efforts. But neither element is taken nearly far enough to be either provocative or new; this is a safe/reductive film that can…

  • Flying Down to Rio

    Flying Down to Rio

    ★★★½

    Sure, this is a relatively "minor" film in the context of Astaire/Rogers, but that is a shallow way to look at this quite inventive work. I admit I watched the film largely based on its casting of this iconic duo in what I believe is their first role together, but the film ultimately proves to be most interesting as a sort of "transitional" text beyond their immediate talent or chemistry.

    This is a film that seems equal parts an earlier-period…

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  • From the East

    From the East

    ★★★★½

    In From the East, Akerman demonstrates her anti-ethnographic model of filmmaking.

    And this may be the film’s most obvious achievement: it is a journey through various places – explicitly titled From the East – but it never feels exploitative or condescending toward its subjects. There may be ways to trace various elements of Akerman’s style, including the pacing, compositional strategies, camera proxemics, etc., to better determine how such an inviting and un-exploitative aesthetic may be produced. However, I don’t think…

  • Quintet

    Quintet

    ★★★★½

    "Has it occurred to you that what you are doing is disruptive? You will never understand the scheme until you're part of the scheme."

    From its opening shot, hypnotically and slowly tracking across a desolate landscape of snow, Quintet commits to its much-maligned style.

    As our culture becomes more eager to speak about movies as "so bad they're good," ambitious films like Quintet are lost in the shuffle. Those who do take the time to watch this universally panned film…