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  • American Beauty

    American Beauty

    ★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    I'm still processing why I responded so poorly to this, but I think it was about the power dynamics around the lead character Lester and his obsession with Angela, the teenage best friend of his daughter. I don't think that the film is necessarily endorsing his behavior, but it does seem to credit his sexual obsession with kicking off his newfound mental "freedom" which is the main thrust of the story. This freedom is not outright glorified by the film,…

  • A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

    A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

    ★★★★

    This is a beautifully done arthouse horror film featuring a skateboarding vampire wearing a hijab. It's incredibly stylish--shot in black and white, filled with 80s pop music, and told in a slow, intentional pace.

    Each of the major characters in this story is filled with longing, and the film explores the various fears surrounding human connection--the fear of connecting with the wrong person, the fear of being vulnerable and letting someone in, or the fear of not connecting at all…

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  • A Separation

    A Separation

    ★★★★★

    The plot here is so meticulously crafted but unfolds in such a seemingly effortless way, that the emotional impacts (which are many) really snuck up on me.

    There are many wonderful things about the movie, but the most wonderful is Sarina Farhadi's crushing performance as Termeh. She deserves whatever awards she got, and all of the ones she didn't.

  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

    Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

    ★½

    There’s a few good things about this movie. Chris Pratt. The dinosaur visuals. Some thrilling action. That one upside down shot of the raptor climbing in the window was pretty great. 

    But everything else was...not great. So over the top, no subtlety in ANY aspect of it. Predictable action scenes. Ridiculous and unbelievable choices made by multiple characters. I can’t fault the actors much because I think most of the problems were script-level issues. But just really not a great movie. I liked the previous Jurassic World more than most,  but this one was a real clunker.