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Outlaw King | David Mackenzie

November 15, 2018
Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 9.14.55 AM

Outlaw King cribs elements from every other medieval epic you’ve seen before — and that pandering is probably the point. It’s safe to assume that Netflix is backing this film in the first place because of the successes of Starz’s Outlander and HBO’s Game of Thrones; their algorithm must’ve crunched some numbers, cross-referenced demographic information, and — voila. What’s less obvious is why David Mackenzie would choose to helm this project.…

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#StreamingScene by Daniel Gorman Film

You Were Never Really Here | Lynne Ramsay

November 9, 2018
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There’s nothing in You Were Never Really Here that you haven’t seen before — but as the saying goes, it’s not always what your story is that matters but how you tell it; we’ve never seen Lynne Ramsay tell this story, and her perspective gives it new dimensions. Ramsay’s conception of the damaged male psyche is on a continuum with The Searchers’ Ethan Edwards and Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle — like those anti-heroes, Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) has been shaped by conflict. But instead of violent colonization of the American…

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#StreamingScene by Daniel Gorman Film

The Night Comes for Us | Timo Tjahjanto

October 29, 2018
Night Comes

Genre fans tend to experience a palpable delight the first time they lay their eyes on a new classic, getting them thinking about the first time they saw, say, Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead 2, John Carpenter’s The Thing, John Woo’s holy trinity of A Better Tomorrow, The Killer and Hard Boiled, Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive, or Dario Argento’s Suspiria. Timo Tjahjanto’s The Night Comes for Us may not be quite at that lofty level, but damned if it doesn’t feel like it gets close.…

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The Kindergarten Teacher | Sara Colangelo

October 26, 2018
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While bigscreen superheroes may stoke our fantasies of being something greater than we are, seeing more empathetic characters in that same space allows for an amazing amount of intimacy and discomfort. Lisa Spinelli is just such a character — a middle-aged kindergarten teacher finding little satisfaction in her well-worn routine, both at work and at home. She has a yearning for something that’s just beyond her reach: a husband who might understand her intellectual restlessness…

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Let the Sunshine In | Claire Denis

October 26, 2018
Let the Sunshine In

Let the Sunshine In is an exquisite romantic comedy in part because its laughs are sad and its sadness is funny. Claire Denis isn’t a filmmaker to let the complexity of the human emotions she either captures physically, or insinuates psychologically, settle into easy interpretation and understanding; her latest shades its relationship dynamics with existential panic, insecurities, unabashed biases of class, and, of course, an intimate understanding of the sexual politic. Juliette Binoche provides the perfect gateway drug for Denis…

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Apostle | Gareth Evans

October 24, 2018
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Gareth Evans made his name with martial arts films, but based on how shockingly violent The Raid and The Raid 2 are, it’s not surprising that he would direct his interest toward the horror genre — and its ample opportunities for gruesome viscera. Like a remake of The Wicker Man that transforms into a riff on Witchfinder General, Apostle follows Thomas Richardson (Dan Stevens) as he attempts to infiltrate an island of cultists who have kidnapped his sister.…

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Hold the Dark | Jeremy Saulnier

October 23, 2018
Hold the Dark

Silence can be used as an effective tool in any film; it helps set the tone of a scene, builds tension, and can truly convey the intensity of a moment in a way that’s equally as effective as, say, violence. Both silence and violence can also be used as a crutch, of course — a gratuitous way to raise the stakes of a situation. But in Hold the Dark, director Jeremy Saulnier wields these tools with the efficacy of a well-trained soldier, waiting patiently with his weapon for the opportune moment…

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The Kindergarten Teacher | Nadav Lapid

October 17, 2018
Kindergarten

You’d be forgiven if you didn’t know that the recent Maggie Gyllenhaal vehicle The Kindergarten Teacher was a remake of a 2015 Israeli movie. Although the original breezed through film festivals and a limited release without much fanfare, Nadav Lapid’s unorthodox character study is a singular piece of psychological and societal contemplation, channeled through the lead character and coy camerawork.…

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Private Life | Tamara Jenkins

October 16, 2018
Private Life

Set amidst a deeply bourgeois milieu where children tend to be treated more like expensive fashion accessories than actual human beings, Tamara Jenkins’s wise, warm, and altogether lovely Private Life  (her first feature in 11 years) introduces us to a middle-aged couple living in a rent-controlled apartment in New York’s Alphabet City. Rachel (Kathryn Hahn), a playwright, and Richard (Paul Giamatti, in his best role since 2004’s Sideways), a retired theater director, are trying desperately to have a baby in the face of mounting odds…

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Bleach | Shinsuke Sato

October 9, 2018
Bleach

In the world of Shonen Jump (a Japanese comics anthology series aimed at teenage boys), Tite Kubo’s now-defunct manga Bleach once ranked near the top — and then it’s worldwide popularity suddenly plummeted, about a year prior to an abrupt discontinuation in 2016. (The anime adaptation of the franchise ended even earlier than that.) It’s hard, then, to understand why a live-action film version has appeared now, dumped onto American streaming services about two months after its Japanese theatrical release.…

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