The Age of Shadows: Almost certainly a better bet than Storks.
  • The Age of Shadows: Almost certainly a better bet than Storks.
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Aaaand we're back! Eight, count 'em, eight piping hot reviews of new releases — but alas, Storks is not one of them. Our proprietary Reader review algorithm (affectionately dubbed the the Duncanizer), which calculates the ratio between the likely audience's need and want for an actual critical review for a film before purchasing a ticket, let us know that we could sit that one out.

Truth be told, it also said we could skip The Magnificent Seven, but I'm a sucker for both Denzel and Westerns (there's still time to see Hell or High Water), so I went anyway. There was a good idea in there somewhere: making the Seven not only diverse, but adversarial. But they didn't make any use of it.

Happily, I fared much better with the funky-profound indie The Vessel, the subjective documentary Author: The JT LeRoy Story, and the Korean spy pic The Age of Shadows. Good times all 'round; it's almost like the water's better once you stop swimming in the mainstream.

I even got to chat with the guy who made Author, and you know who he cites as an influence? Tom Wolfe! Never mind whether or not you love Tom Wolfe; just stick with the fact that a filmmaker is taking an inspiration from a writer, and making good out of it. Just like Werner Herzog suggests — 11 times in a row — in his filmmaking master class! Could Orson Welles have been on to something when he told Henry Jaglom (in a conversation recounted in the delightful My Lunches with Orson), "I think the younger generation of filmmakers has seen too many movies"?

And Scott? Well, Scott got to interview Judy Davis, so that's something good. And whaddya know, he liked her movie The Dressmaker a bunch, too. And he found stuff to admire in the pregnancy-horror Antibirth (most notably Natasha Lyonne and Meg Tilly). But he wasn't as fond of the faked-moon-landing thriller Operation Avalanche (maybe try Moonwalkers instead?) or the serial-killer musical London Road.

Surprisingly, or perhaps not surprisingly, the first I ever heard about the masturbation documentary Sticky: A (Self-) Love Story was when I saw it on the Reader's movie page. So I can't tell you much about it, not even whether or not it features actress/singer Hailee Steinfeld's self-love anthem "Love Myself" on the soundtrack. But what a shame if it doesn't.

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