Review: “Dumb and Dumber To”

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Credit the Farrelly Brothers with this much: given Hollywood’s toxic insistence on character arcs, life lessons, and labored backstories, it’s kind of a relief to discover their signature morons haven’t changed in the slightest. The world may have moved on since “dumb happened,” but Harry and Lloyd remain wonderfully oblivious, and Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey—59 and 52, respectively—have somehow managed to rekindle the infantile chemistry that made these fools so beloved. Continue reading

Review: Frederick Wiseman’s “National Gallery”

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Aside from Jean-Luc Godard, it’s hard to think of an octogenarian auteur who remains as vital and intellectually playful as 84-year-old documentary master Frederick Wiseman. Both are having banner years: first Godard with his astonishing, form-bending Goodbye to Language, and now Wiseman, whose National Gallery whips up its own rigorous dialogue on art and the ways of perceiving it. An immersive, 3-hour tour of the venerable British art institution, it’s the rare film that not only explores rich ideas on screen, but sparks conversation with its audience about the nature of perspective—both on the art and, by extension, the filmmaking itself. Continue reading

Review: Laura Poitras’ “Citizenfour”

citfourOne of 2014’s more compelling documentaries, Laura Poitras’ Citizenfour channels the measured cool of its subject—former National Security Agency analyst-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden—and eschews the sensationalism of so many docs for a chilling, information-focused procedural that moves with the precision of a narrative thriller. A formally unusual work, this fluid tableau of data exchanges and secret meetings invites its audience to collaborate in what feels like real time, while simultaneously seeming to watch them through the screen in return: You may be under surveillance, right now. Continue reading