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  • Room in Rome

    Room in Rome

    ★★★

    I was worried that this film would just be an excuse to watch two naked women for 100 minutes, but I appreciate that Medem tried to make it something more. I'm not sure it entirely works, but he really does try to flesh out these characters and make it more than just about the sex. I was reminded while watching this of Andrew Haigh's film Weekend, which takes place of course over a weekend, rather than the single night in…

  • Westward the Women

    Westward the Women

    ★★★½

    Imagine Tinder + The Oregon Trail and you have some idea of what Westward the Women is like. The male settlers in California need wives, so the farm owner goes back east to find a bunch of women willing to make the dangerous journey west to marry a man chosen based on a photograph. The ensemble is quite large, but several of the characters developed to the point where you not only connect to the drama faced by the whole…

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  • Phantom Thread

    Phantom Thread

    ★★★★★

    It took until 2018, but 2017 has its first 5-star film for me. Anderson (serving as director and DP) is so precise with his compositions and camera movements, and has cemented himself as one of the best directors of actors out there (Sandler in PDL, DDL in TWBB, Phoenix/Hoffman in The Master, and the list goes on). I like Paul Dano in There Will Be Blood, but he was barely able to hold his own against Daniel Day-Lewis (which I'm…

  • Martyrs

    Martyrs

    ★★★★★

    This is not torture porn. Yes, it's extremely violent and disturbing, but the torture is not exciting and revolting like the Saw sequels or Hostel. It's horrific and depressing. The acting is top notch, and Alaoui is reminiscent of Maria Falconetti in The Passion of Joan of Arc at times. This is an incredibly powerful, disturbing, terrifying, and well-made film, and, if you can stomach it, absolutely worth the watch. It is truly a modern horror masterpiece. Just don't expect to feel good for several days while it's still in your mind.