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  • American Animals

    American Animals

    ★★½

    It started off too cute: in addition to documentary–narrative crossover, much effort went into ensuring that I would recognize the truthy “touches” that make what is being presented “unreliable.” (A lite Rashomony, ultimately underused, multi-narrator structure.) For example, two narrators providing trivial counter-narratives—“No, he was wearing a blue scarf...I think” (note: not a for-real actual quote).

    I had a bad attitude about all that because the cleverness/perspectiveness/documentary-frame only went skin-deep. This film is crazy ambitious; but I’d have liked to…

  • Unsane

    Unsane

    ★★★★

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

    This beautiful, tense trash really improved my Q1 2018. I am going to have a hard time forgetting what I have seen. This movie is too real and too much of a movie all at once, like many B-movies; and usually that creates a write-off for me. So, I must celebrate even its weakest, trashiest moments.

    Too real: the shadowy, unprocessed aesthetic does not flatter any of the fifteenish speaking characters: rightly so. The hospital at the centre of the…

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  • Personal Shopper

    Personal Shopper

    ★★★

    This ended up being more compelling than I expected. It was simple and genuine, and just scary enough. Considering how Kristen Stewart spends much of her time in transit, tired of living in Paris, and consuming media on her phone, this had momentum and felt natural.

    The film centers around "outsider" characters who believe in spiritualism, and it doesn't give their fringe beliefs a second thought. Many movies don't approach these kinds of people with respect. And then they, without…

  • A Ghost Story

    A Ghost Story

    ★★

    There are some things to like about A Ghost Story. It is decidedly minimal and refuses to let viewers understand the mechanics of life after death; and it is decidedly prototypical in when dealing with its (living) main characters (no full names, no back stories). It jumps between sad, long shots and jokey, cartoon aesthetics kinda effortlessly. All the while, the movie remains borderline fun—probably even for kids—without seeming tired or overproduced. 

    Still, I ended up feeling put off by…