WCSU

Andrew Lapin

Covering up a crime is hard work when you do everything half-assed. The Death of Dick Long, a gnarly new dark comedy about some misbehaving adult boys in Alabama, imagines what would happen if the dumbest people alive wound up with a dead body on their hands.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the movie hustler must always take the young upstart under her wing. In Hustlers, that moment comes when Jennifer Lopez, lounging on a New York roof in an elaborate white G-string, spreads her luscious fur coat and wraps Constance Wu's fresh-faced stripper inside with her. It's a glittery gesture of sisterhood, bestowed by the biggest star in the world, working a profession long derided by larger society as immoral.

There are precious few victories to be found in Give Me Liberty, and yet the film feels victorious all the same. This madcap day-in-the-life indie about a medical transport driver, shot in Milwaukee with a cast of almost entirely nonprofessionals, walks a fine line between exuberant comedy and stress-inducing nightmare, yet ultimately endorses the idea that surviving another day in America is enough to feel good about.

The pictures are probably what you remember: shrieking witches and half-melted skulls leering out from jet-black pages; hideous creatures snarling on leashes; and tree branches lurching like tentacles from tombstones.

Jennifer Kent's historical revenge drama The Nightingale is a film we're not accustomed to, and one we'll not soon forget. Set in early 19th-century colonial Australia, it depicts acts of horrific brutality. Yet it's not a brutal movie. Scenes of murder, rape, and enslavement unfold in front of the camera not just to shock you, but to confound you; to make you think about the fates of nations forged in violence and cruelty, and of the humans at the receiving end who must endure all of it.

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