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  • Hard Boiled

    Hard Boiled

    dance of the squibs

    Essentially no barrier between the film's emotions and its form; freeze frames, dissolves, movement into movement, basically Woo's master clinic. The ideas are relatively simple here but they're translated into balletic, exploding particles of wood and plaster, splashes of blood, bodies suspended in slow-motion and showers of sparks and fire, rivaling the ecstasy of a Minnelli musical number. Yet Woo is also always insistently playful and inventive with his cutting, playing tonally and atonally as he…

  • A Bay of Blood

    A Bay of Blood

    Death spiraling outward, body count horror as limitless expressivity. This is a profoundly cynical film on Bava's part but it also seems he's having a lot of fun! By this point in his career he had wished to move away from horror, and one definitely feels a weariness with the form here; there is no Gothic framework, no romanticism, the bleeding gels are gone, replaced by leaves, rotting homes, sunset, and slaughter, insects under glass. And yet it's essentially a…

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  • Creed

    Creed

    The way Coogler judges how long to hold on faces for a first date, or edit footage of Apollo at Adonis' most (physically) desperate moment, or have Stallone react to a photo of him and his real son; it's all of an intimately felt emotional register, quiet but also triumphant like the preceding franchise. A small (therefore big) miracle of story and people craft in Hollywood's most souless age. Fought back tears throughout.

  • The Thing

    The Thing

    "How will we make it?"

    "Maybe we shouldn't."

    Fire and ice, blue and red, flares and snow. Carpenter fine tunes the formalism of his previous films to something absolute, pure (before branching outwards). The film has no fat, every shot creating atmosphere, building dread, sustaining an unbearable tension between bodies and the spaces they inhabit (as well as other bodies). In daylight, the Antarctic expanse is forbidding, rigid, sharp, but when night falls it becomes an abyss. Figures, rendered silhouettes…