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  • Halloween

    Halloween

    Michael Myers vs. The Shape

    John Carpenter is always the first to point out that he never set out to create some sort of mystique surrounding Michael Myers. The character is billed in the credits and the script as “The Shape”, rather than by its given name. This is a conscious decision by Carpenter and his co-writer Debra Hill to further imbue a sense of supernatural and pervasive evil that could not be matched by a flesh-and-blood human (as presented…

  • The Bride of Frankenstein

    The Bride of Frankenstein

    Dr. Pretorius or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Other

    In James Whale’s completely bonkers 1935 masterpiece Bride of Frankenstein, a beautiful tale unfolds before us about the inborn desire of humans (or monsters) to seek out a mate with whom to share love. The nefarious Dr. Pretorius convinces the ever-so-slightly-less-nefarious Dr. Frankenstein to join forces with him in order to create the titular “Bride” as a companion to Frankenstein’s previous creation, The Monster. In doing so,…

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  • Carnival of Souls

    Carnival of Souls

    ★★★★

    The least surprising thing about this wonderful low-budget exercise in surrealism and atmosphere is that Hell is in Utah. I kid — I've never been to Utah, just have some major issues with Mormonism — but it does make for a striking landscape for this ghoulish, organ-scored deathdream.

    Herk Harvey's sole feature is an influential look into the best version of turning limits into features. It's an entrancing watch filled to the brim with interesting decisions and artful touches. Black-and-white…

  • Clapboard Jungle

    Clapboard Jungle

    ★★★

    A neat little doc with a fantastic cast of talking heads. There's nothing too groundbreaking or surprising about any of it, but it works at a very human level.

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  • Us

    Us

    ★★★★★

    Apocalyptic Duality.

    Jordan Peele is a master filmmaker, in every sense of the term. His writing is dense, filled to the gills with breadcrumbs and double entendre. Yet, somehow it's also light and always entertaining. His direction is steady, unrushed. Yet, his calculated pacing and knack for musical cues lend an air of almost Amblin-esque charm to everything he touches. I'm unsure of his exact technique for working with actors, but damned if every single performer we see isn't perfectly…

  • Dunkirk

    Dunkirk

    ★★★★

    Perpetually in media res, Nolan's non-linear war movie is structured to maximize tension (which it most definitely does). Unfortunately, this bold narrative gambit sometimes lets down its characters.

    It's undeniably impressive from a production perspective, an awesome spectacle from beginning to end. The score, sound design, editing, cinematography, and costuming are all among the most impressive in existence. There are a few standout performers among the solid cast who are given the opportunity to shine, not least of which are…