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  • The Thing from Another World

    The Thing from Another World 1951

    ★★★★ Watched 31 Oct, 2016

    Though it’s not the masterpiece that John Carpenter would make 30 years later (which is apparently more faithful to the source material), The Thing from Another World is smart and tightly wound. The titular Thing is scarier in the imagination than on the screen, but its appearances, wisely, are few and brief. Tension is instead generated mainly by the conflict over whether the Thing should be studied or destroyed, and these scenes – dense with the crosstalk and claustrophobia of an isolated crew in close quarters – are remarkably well-executed.

  • The New York Ripper

    The New York Ripper 1982

    ★★ Watched 30 Oct, 2016

    Empty and ugly, The New York Ripper is content to have its inscrutable serial killer revel in the seediest corners of early-’80s NYC without the benefit of a remotely compelling narrative. It’s all cheap and no thrills, but I’ll give it some credit for being extremely skeevy, which I took to be its lone goal.

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  • The Others

    The Others 2001

    ★★ Watched 21 Oct, 2011 4

    Remember when Nirvana exploded and every major label scrambled to sign any band they could find that was even remotely similar? Well, if The Sixth Sense is Nirvana (and given how quickly M Night Shyamalan squandered whatever goodwill his breakout hit engendered, I hesitate to draw the comparison), then The Others is Bush.

    The themes, tone, essential plot points, and even the color palette are all lifted directly. To its credit, this is not immediately apparent, and the way the…

  • The Trip

    The Trip 2010

    ★★★★ Watched 06 Nov, 2011 5

    Following Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon on a week-long drive through the sights, sounds, and tastes of the northern English countryside, The Trip is equal parts tour documentary, buddy movie, and road trip flick. But more than anything, and in spite of its many laughs, it is a poignant meditation on aging.

    Ostensibly playing themselves, Coogan and Brydon are a juxtaposition of insecure and self-possessed, of serious artist and happy-go-lucky entertainer. Their differences are sussed out in conversations brimming over…