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  • Parasite

    Parasite

    ★★★★½

    I’ve never fully been on board with the “Bong Joon-ho is a master” hype (to be fair, I still haven’t seen his previously-most-acclaimed, Memories of Murder), but for this? I get it. Perfectly paced, beautifully shot and designed, a well-matched cast, plenty of funny and/or horrific surprises, richly entertaining the whole way through.

    It was a rare delight watching a subtitled movie in a megaplex theater with a full crowd, all audibly into it. Lots of laughs, gasps, and excited buzzing on the way out.

  • Babylon

    Babylon

    ★★★★½

    Major. Love the music, the cinematography, the language, the ending (!!!), and especially Brinsley Forde, whose expressive face was made for close-ups. The giant dog with a tiny head stole my heart.

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  • First Reformed

    First Reformed

    ★★★★½

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

    Ethan Hawke's subtly gutwrenching, career-best performance, Paul Schrader's unshowy but commanding direction, and a character-focused, thematically dense screenplay promise that First Reformed will be a straightforward, mature drama of a rare sort.

    And First Reformed is that, in deeply satisfying ways, for a while - until it gradually transforms into something far stranger and less rational. The mysticism is limited to small details and hints initially - The Cloud of Unknowing on Toller's bedside table, an ominous lamp, a close-up…

  • Psycho

    Psycho

    ★★★★★

    Part of how I know Psycho is a masterpiece is because its infamous shower scene still shocks me with each revisit. Not because I forget it’s coming, of course, but because I get so involved with Marion Crane’s dilemma. After the voyeuristic opening shot, swooping over the ’60 Phoenix skyline and creeping into an apartment window, Psycho’s first half is firmly entrenched in Marion’s thoughts and anxieties. Packing nervously while that envelope of money lies waiting on the bed. The…