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  • Dolemite Is My Name

    Dolemite Is My Name

    ★★★

    A totally entertaining, well-acted, and funny biopic...that nevertheless can't help but play it safe, failing to capture the genuinely anarchic, unique, and dangerous spirit of Rudy Ray Moore's comedy. I guess my point is: watch "Dolemite" first. Eddie Murphy is dynamic onscreen, but it's Da’Vine Joy Randolph's heart and Welsey Snipes' comedy chops (how did I forget how funny he can be?) that stole the show for me.

  • Dolemite

    Dolemite

    ★★★★

    Rudy Ray Moore's Total Experience. Not only is this a fun grindhouse remix of various genres that would have been popular at the time, including the TV cop show and kung fu movie (shoutout to the Chuck Norris Karate School), it's also clearly a love letter and self-parody of a L.A. community, one that makes time for beguiling and strangely lovable side characters like Vainus Rackstraw as Creeper AKA The Burger Pimp.

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  • Cat People

    Cat People

    ★★★★★

    "But I love silence. I love loneliness. And they—they are in me. Their strength, warmth. They're soft, they're soft." A Jungian fever dream of life in the urban jungle. Pop psychology, sexual repression, and marital regrets stir in the film that kicked off Val Lewton's string of RKO greats. Might be the most effective use of light, shadow, and fog in the history of its genre. The Criterion Blu-ray looks incredible.

  • I Walked with a Zombie

    I Walked with a Zombie

    ★★★★★

    It was actually rather ingenious of writers Curt Siodmak and Ardel Wray to marry the classic gothic trappings of, say, a Daphne du Maurier novel (apparently "Jane Eyre" was the model) with the more exotic horror of Caribbean voodoo. And yet what's most haunting is a not-so-distant colonial past: "Well, at least they brought you to a beautiful place," our heroine wistfully remarks upon hearing tales of slave ships.