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  • Mandy

    Mandy

    ★★★

    Some of the Letterboxd-ready quips that came to mind while watching Mandy:

    • Do ya think Clive Barker saw this and said "hey, that's my thing"?

    • Don't do drugs, kids.

    • I guess there was a certain point after which calling 911 was no longer a viable option.

    • This is what you would get if you crossed Straw Dogs with Hellraiser, co-directed by Tarkovsky & Jodorowsky.

  • Ant-Man and the Wasp

    Ant-Man and the Wasp

    ★★★½

    They should have called it "The Wasp and Luis and Oh Yeah Ant-Man Too I Guess"

  • The Night Eats the World

    The Night Eats the World

    ★★★

    A relatively small detail I wanted to call out: this is one of the few movies I've seen recently that included a sequence that I was compelled to rewind and rewatch. The climactic stunt in which the protagonist throws a grappling hook across to a neighboring building and jumps was startlingly believable. Now inured by slick special effects in movies of even modest budgets, it's rare for one to make me ask "how'd they do that?!"

  • Ralph Breaks the Internet

    Ralph Breaks the Internet

    ★★★

    The brief glimpse of Tron did not do this movie any favors. I have the same complaint as with the first: why would you set a movie inside the virtual world of all videogames ever, and only substantially visit one or two? Think about how well "Inside Out" served as a tour of a human psyche, and imagine if the whole movie was set in the Memory Dump.

  • Eighth Grade

    Eighth Grade

    ★★★★

    This is "To All the Boys I've Loved" as a horror movie. I've never been more relieved to be a grown-ass adult.

    No, I shouldn't be so flip. To be serious for a moment: There's almost nothing here that I can relate to directly; as a childless adult male that grew up before social media, and did not go to public school. But this is a rare "teen movie" that comes close to a believable portrayal of teen psychology. I'm…

  • The Devils

    The Devils

    ★★★

    Thanks to the late, lamented Filmstruck for filling in another gap in my understanding of movie history. A helpful reminder to young & old film fans approaching cinema in non-chronological order: nothing comes out of nowhere.

    Specifically, I'm thinking of Terry Gilliam. I've long viewed Jabberwocky and Monty Python and the Holy Grail as landmark satires of de-romanticized European history as crazed, filthy, ignorant, superstitious, and chaotic. Belatedly seeing Ken Russell's The Devils now, the straight line from here to Jabberwocky…

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    ★★★

    Yo, they made a Blazing Saddles II?

    On the shallow end of the pool, when it comes to Coens' oeuvre. It's not exactly an eye-opening statement to lampoon romanticized visions of the Old West.

  • Coma

    Coma

    ★★★½

    If only Michael Crichton's Coma had been set in an amusement park, it would have been the most Michael Crichton movie ever.

    More than just a dry run for his hit TV series ER, it's also strikingly feminist -- in some ways more than a similar thriller would likely be today. Not for nothing does an inciting incident involve an abortion subplot.

    Geneviève Bujold plays an accomplished female surgeon who discovers and exposes a criminal conspiracy, but the real villain…

  • Cat People

    Cat People

    ★★★½

    Subtext so deep you could swim in it.

    Pssssst: I think it's about sex. Meow! Purrrrrrr...

  • Incommodum

    Incommodum

    ½

    Worst stock footage sizzle reel ever.

  • Trainspotting

    Trainspotting

    ★★★★½

    Trainspotting is a lifelong personal favorite film. Essential.

    FilmStruck subscribers should be sure to catch it one more time before before WarnerMedia and AT&T cruelly shut it down on November 29. FilmStruck is full of more invaluable treasures than anyone could watch in two weeks, but I must single out Trainspotting as a particular treat, as the commentary track, deleted scenes, and more from the 1996 Criterion Collection laserdisc are included.

    One of many interesting details to be gleaned: Director…

  • Miracle Mile

    Miracle Mile

    ★★★★

    The buzz is true; the under-the-radar cult gem Miracle Mile is surprisingly great. Harry (Anthony Edwards) and Julie's (Mare Winningham) hellacious night on Los Angeles' titular Miracle Mile suggests Before Sunrise crossed with Children of Men crossed with After Hours, but without the reprieve of a hopeful ending. Unless you consider life on a geologic scale, in which everything we are becomes oil and diamonds.

    Director Steve de Jarnatt's Miracle Mile is simultaneously an emotionally affecting love story and a…