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  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

    Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

    ★★★½

    This pre-Ghibli Miyazaki film is a beautifully animated post-apocalyptic fantasy tale, urging balance between humanity and nature in cautionary fashion. It doesn’t maintain a perfect tonal balance, and some of the musical cues feel a little off at times, but it’s a captivating tale nonetheless. It certainly has me enthused to delve into Studio Ghibli’s output from here, as well as Miyazaki’s prior work.

  • The Red Monks

    The Red Monks

    ★½

    Although it proudly proclaims the presence of Lucio Fulci as its producer, I Frati Rossi is merely Fulci-lite, and it’s clear that he had little, if any, involvement in making this film. It does wear his influence on its sleeve, but bears many hallmark weaknesses without the strengths to atone for them.
    There are glimpses of some solid film-making present, but frustratingly, the standard of technical quality has more ups and downs than a roller-coaster ride. The gothic atmosphere is…

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  • A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III

    A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III

    ★½

    A24s theatrical debut is a stunning misfire, the result you would get if you threw the filmographies of Wes Anderson, Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman into a blender. It sounds like an exciting prospect, but you end up with exactly about the mess you’d expect from using an actual blender.
    There are some good aspects in here: visual flourishes aplenty, Charlie Sheen handles himself well, as do all the actresses, as minimal as their screen-time may be. Schwartzman…

  • Brain Dead

    Brain Dead

    ★★★½

    A delightfully twisted low-budget ‘cerebral’ thriller. Think Jacob’s Ladder meets Re-Animator directed by Frank Henenlotter. Bill’s Pullman and Paxton must have had a lot of fun in their quirky roles, the type that prove to be all too rare once an actor reaches a certain level of fame.
    Best viewed with a clean slate, tabula rasa, if you will. A lack of expectation and prior knowledge is key to getting the most out of this little seen gem.

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  • The House That Jack Built

    The House That Jack Built

    ★★★★★

    Murder as art. Art as murder. Engineering. Architecture. Heaven and hell. The tiger. The lamb. The dark light. The noble rot. 
    There will be lots of words about this to come.

  • First Man

    First Man

    ★★

    Devoid of anything other than manufactured tension, First Man disappointed in its failure to bring anything new to the historical/biopic genre table. Gosling seemed lifeless, Foy was wasted, and I was irked by a number of directorial choices, such as the use of shakey-cam in close and intimate moments. Not a travesty, but certainly not for me.