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  • A Scanner Darkly

    A Scanner Darkly

    ★★★★

    A Scanner Darkly is annoyingly awesome at all fronts. There are so many things happening, with its alluring animation serving as a major asset. The dialogue also takes you into the mind of an addict—fascinating and deeply disturbing altogether.

  • Tigers Are Not Afraid

    Tigers Are Not Afraid

    ★★★★★

    Guillermo del Toro’s influence oozes in this film, where harsh realities are superimposed with horror and fantasy. Tigers Are Not Afraid approaches its story with such care and grit that it somehow adds to the cacophony of violence. It’s nowhere near the scope of del Toro’s films, but it does carry itself in a way that’s more poignant and ponderous. The symbolism is utilized well, one that does not force you into thinking about it too much. It’s self-aware enough to not be too tongue-in-cheek. Overall, Tigers Are Not Afraid might be full of minor bumps along the way, but it takes you to the destination nonetheless.

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  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

    Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

    ★★★★★

    There are a lot of good, beautiful things about Birdman—apart from the beautiful score a la Jim Jarmusch’s Permanent Vacation—but it’s the acting that carries it to new heights, pun intended. It has a seamless pace (thanks to an ambitious continuous shot) that’s complemented by the sheer depth of Michael Keaton and co.’s brilliant acting. It’s the first thing that will reel you in and keep you gliding down its intricate structure and punch-you-in-the-face storytelling. Birdman aggressively breezes through the crowd with such intensity that wraps up in a dark, introspective final act; leaving you speechless and amazed at how you’ve gotten that far.

  • The Hunt

    The Hunt

    ★★

    The Hunt has some interesting satirical points here, but I think it misses the mark entirely, from an entertainment standpoint. Sure, it’s fun and darkly humorous, but I don’t think it accomplishes anything other than the glory of political satire. The script also feels very dull and wooden. There’s no underlying social statement, just a pure distinction of how far the ideals of the left and right differ. Nothing much to commend here—maybe the use of gore? That went pretty well.