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  • American Animals

    American Animals

    ★★★½

    I guess with the vogue for true crime and based-on-a-true-stories it was inevitable people would try to mix scripted and documentary filmmaking, but I thought this movie really suffered for that device. For one thing, the "documentary" scenes were not good documentary; a lot of the things the people said sounded prepared, somehow, and few of them were very compelling. It also seemed like the filmmakers used this footage instead of spending more time reckoning with the question of why…

  • Hereditary

    Hereditary

    ★★★★

    This movie has a lot going for it: a strong cast, a fairly original and thoroughly developed script, great visual panache, and stirring music by Colin Stetson. It explores themes like the ferality of grief and the causticity of cyclical family dynamics in a meaningful way too, I thought. But for all those elements, I just didn't find myself absorbed. I didn't think it was all that scary or suspenseful, and when the end came I couldn't help but feel disappointed. It goes bold places, but not entirely audacious or unseen places, and that was what I really hoped for.

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  • Personal Shopper

    Personal Shopper

    ★★★★★

    This was so distinctive, and not at all the wan arthouse affair I imagined.

  • Thelma

    Thelma

    ★★★

    I really wanted to like this, because I was a big fan of Oslo August 31st and I like Joachim Trier's sleek Scandinavian style, which is on display here. But I just found it unbearably meandering for the most part. For a suspense film, it did a horrible job of building suspense; the premise didn't become apparent for far too long.
    It's a shame because I kind of like the plot, about that college coming of age period where you're…