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  • The Passing of the Third Floor Back

    The Passing of the Third Floor Back

    ★★★½

    Messianic parallels are hoary, but Conrad Veidt can pull it off because he's not just a mold of banal benevolence. He's what a well-rounded supernatural entity should be: a source of salvation that still garners understandable weariness due to their human form. There's also lots of sharp direction and cinematography here, with Veidt's face being sliced between shadow and light. It's got one character too many and seems to be stuck in the silent era with its title cards, but a quality watch that reminds us of the all-important lesson of not trusting slumlords.

  • One Hundred and One Dalmatians

    One Hundred and One Dalmatians

    ★★★½

    It’s interesting how not-particularly-whimsical this is. At its core, it’s about the efforts to rescue a bunch of youths who are kidnapped awaiting a gruesome death, and the only hopes for survival depend on their own perseverance and the efforts of others within their community, not of those who are in power. What starts as what could easily be a Billy Wilder or Stanley Donen comedy becomes hard to bear but all the stronger for it. As a story, it…

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  • The Invisible Man

    The Invisible Man

    ★★★★

    Leigh Whannell does this interpretation total justice, and it’s because he’s not making it an allegory that it works so well. This is abuse, and this is what it looks like, give or take some high-concept horror/sci-fi elements. By the same measure, it’s not torture porn, emotional or of his patented Saw variety. Elisabeth Moss’ peril isn’t at the expense of her dignity, and we’re able to buy that she can find her way through this, while still not assuming anything is certain. At least one revelation exposes some logic gaps but not so much that it goes completely astray.


    2020 Ranked

  • Sleeping Beauty

    Sleeping Beauty

    ★★★★

    The story is pretty daffy, especially with how the fairies are useless and essential all at once. But talk about beautiful, and in so many ways. It's cartoonish, cubist, and expressionist in different turns. It also has one of the most captivating villains of any Disney films thus far, made so even without Maleficient's lack of motivation beyond just being evil. Also interesting to see the studio's first notable crack at meta-commentary, with in-movie references to fairy tales and happy endings.