Moxie (2021)

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Inspired by her mom’s rebellious past and a confident new friend, a shy 16-year-old publishes an anonymous zine calling out sexism at her school. (Letterboxd)
Girls and women have a lot to be angry about (more than I could imagine), and the way Moxie brings it to a head in the big scream hits hard. The one-off speech by an unnamed character immediately afterwards though encapsulates the film’s awkward and contrived script that bungles its message everywhere else: Love the character diversity and intersectional awareness but when they’re limited to just random scenes or lines it reeks of tokenism and rids the story of most of its momentum and cohesion.
6/10 (Mediocre)

Miller’s Crossing (1990)

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Tom Regan, an advisor to a Prohibition-era crime boss, tries to keep the peace between warring mobs but gets caught in divided loyalties. (IMDb)
A really cool classic film noir feel saturates this cohesive slow burn of a crime drama, with its drab 40s sets and suits, niche dialogue (“What’s the rumpus?”), fiery character melodrama (see the climax of Tom’s arc: “Look in your heart!” “What heart?”), and twisting plot (see Dane’s rise to prominence). It’s maybe a touch hard to follow at points, but it’s so solidly acted (Turturro might be the highlight; see his pleading in the forest) and directed that that can be easily forgiven.
8/10 (Great)

 

Mystic River (2003)

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With a childhood tragedy that overshadowed their lives, three men are reunited by circumstance when one has a family tragedy. (IMDb)
Fantastic turns from Robbins (the troubled childhood victim), Bacon (the steady cop), and Penn in particular (the tough but broken dad) headline this dark-toned, grungy suburbia-set film that fleshes out its tense murder mystery plot with torturous character drama surrounding three old friends brought together by ugly tragedy. The final twist is a little jarring and unconvincing at first but it sinks in with further thought, and its agonizing emotional aftermath solidifies it within the script.
8/10 (Great)