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  • Mothra vs. Godzilla

    Mothra vs. Godzilla

    ★★★★★

    The wife and I watched this tonight in celebration of Godzilla’s 64th anniversary.

    This is the film that made me fall in love with the King of the Monsters, and it’s an excellent starting point for folks who are new to the character. It’s got one clawed foot in a more solemn arena (think: the original “Godzilla”) while also embracing the series’s more fanciful elements. Look no further than Mothra and her twin fairies.

    Speaking of Mothra, the title fight…

  • Lost in Translation

    Lost in Translation

    ★★★★★

    The wife and I got back from Tokyo eight days ago, and we had a fantastic time (we went to the Park Hyatt bar)! When “Lost in Translation” came out on DVD, it was one of the first films we discovered together. So for those and other reasons (I’m getting older after all), this viewing really did a number on me.

    It’s a love letter to one of the all-time great cities. (And maybe it casts a bit of stink…

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  • The Vast of Night

    The Vast of Night

    ★★★★

    An insanely confident debut feature from director Andrew Patterson. Comparisons to “The Twilight Zone” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” are apt. There are some beautifully orchestrated Spielberg-type oners. They make the quick cuts sprinkled throughout the film all that much more impactful.

    Patterson also understands the value of having talented performers deliver chilling monologues with the utmost conviction. That can do the work of any number of big-budget effect sequences.

    There were only a couple moments where I didn’t…

  • Wuthering Heights

    Wuthering Heights

    ★★★

    Much of the drama which marked the original film (and I assume the book) has been stripped away. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, though to take the melodrama out of the melodrama is an odd choice. I just think for a tonal/mood piece like this, shorter is usually better. 

    I’d love to wax poetic further, but my pal Ben said it better than I ever could. Though I’m a pinch more positive than him. This is one of the most sensory films I’ve seen.

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  • In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Perry’s “crying” scene entered the cinematography pantheon for good reason, but this whole damn film is immaculately shot. And like the best of Conrad L. Hall’s work, it’s unfussy in its gorgeousness. The murder sequence is another standout, with little if any of that staged movie lighting. There are entire swaths of the frame that fall into total darkness. (I love the touch too of removing the score, the only soundtrack we get is the moan of the wind outside.)…

  • It Chapter Two

    It Chapter Two

    ★★

    Making jokes about an author not knowing how to end their story doesn’t make it okay to not know how to end yours. 

    “Chapter Two” opens with a couple very brutal bits of violence that recall the real-world horrors of the first film. As I said in my Letterboxd write-up, the adults were the scariest part of chapter one and that was a strength. But here, that thread is dropped which makes the opening violence feel off and a little exploitative.…