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  • Mandy

    Mandy

    ★★★★

    I loved MANDY. Most people seem to be raving about how "metal" the film becomes in its back half, and I understand the appeal, but I find the first half's more hypnotic and entrancing allure way more fascinating. The color schemes and visual design is something to behold, for sure, but there's something about how Andrea Riseborough and Nicolas Cage tap into their characters inside those aesthetics that make the experience all the more mesmerizing. They both give performances that…

  • We the Animals

    We the Animals

    ★★★★

    WE THE ANIMALS is somewhat different from what I expected, yet somehow manages to exceed whatever expectations I did have for it. It's a very beautiful and tragic film about family and identity. The storytelling is fluid and visual, the performances are magnetic and it captures childhood imagination in affecting ways that crystallize so poignantly. Highly recommend.

  • The Children Act

    The Children Act

    ★★★

    A thin script keeps THE CHILDREN ACT from being anything significant, but Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci make the experience more satisfying than it would be otherwise.

  • The Predator

    The Predator

    ½

    At the risk of hyperbole, THE PREDATOR may be the worst film I've seen in the InSession Film Era (since 2013). At the very least, the script is by far the worst I've seen in years. The editing is muddled and purposeless. The movie feels like it was stitched together out of order and on fast forward. Nothing makes sense. It's lazy. It's offensive. It's horrid in every single way.

  • Predator

    Predator

    ★★★★

    If PREDATOR isn't Top Tier of 80's sci-fi, I would argue that it sits very comfortably in Tier II. John McTiernan's direction is excellent and elevates this material beyond schlocky action and horror. He uses the camera very effectively to capture the jungle setting and almost claustrophobic feeling you get, despite it actually being in this wide open space. As a result, the film's tension is remarkably thick and gripping, making the experience even more immersive.

    I also love the…

  • Operation Finale

    Operation Finale

    ★★½

    I appreciate OPERATION FINALE as an educational experience, but cinematically it was sadly misguided in its direction. The film spends too much time on its espionage elements, when inherently there wasn't too much to it, and fails to take advantage of what truly moves this experience - Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley. If it was just two hours of them bantering and tapping into the psychology of their relationship, the film would have been much more fascinating.

  • Hot Summer Nights

    Hot Summer Nights

    ★★

    I really liked the book ends of the film, but sadly most of what happens in the middle was empty for me. Timothée Chalamet is great, but the script doesn't do him any favors.

  • Sweet Country

    Sweet Country

    ★★★½

    SWEET COUNTRY is a beautiful film that methodically explores its characters and themes. It wasn't 100% seamless for me, but I mostly loved the direction and approach to this material.

  • The Little Stranger

    The Little Stranger

    ★★½

    Lenny Abrahamson's direction saves this film from being a complete disaster. It's really well shot and the setting is quite immersive. However the film's script is very muddled in its plotting and characterization. It's also painfully obvious and tedious in where it goes in the final third. But perhaps most disappointing, as much as I love Domhnall Gleeson, he gives a very stale performance. The film relies heavily on his character to convey much of his inner turmoil, in a stoic manner, and it never progresses beyond the surface. Overall, it's fine, but a letdown coming of the heels of ROOM and FRANK.

  • A Prayer Before Dawn

    A Prayer Before Dawn

    ★★★

    A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN is brutal, gritty and forceful in its tone and aesthetics, but lacks the narrative punches to make it formidable. As compelling as it is to see Billy fight his way through this arduous, I have no idea why he's fighting. We're left to guess and that's not enough to give it any weight. Joe Cole is a wrecking ball though and makes up for where the script fails him.

  • Avengers: Infinity War

    Avengers: Infinity War

    ★★★★½

    A re-watch cemented this home as one of my favorite films of the year. I don't think it'll make my Top 10, but it'll be as good as any mainstream film I'll see in 2018. As a Thanos film, and that's exactly what it is, it's brilliant and that ending is perfection. Can't wait for Avenger 4.

    Also - Chris Hemsworth secretly gives one of the best supporting actor performances of the year.

  • Jennifer's Body

    Jennifer's Body

    ★★★

    I'll admit, I had zero expectations for this film (if anything I was very dubious)...and I was very pleasantly surprised by it.