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  • Promising Young Woman

    Promising Young Woman

    ★★★

    Gripping from the first sequence, even though the key points are included in the trailer, watching it play out in excruciating detail rather than chopped down to 15 seconds makes it feel like a real-time nightmare. And it maintains that level of craftsmanship for a surprisingly long time. The slightly off-kilter cinematography, courtesy of Hyena DP Benjamin Kracun, brilliantly suits the content, with early wider shots creating a physical distance from the morally dubious main character which lends it an…

  • Mank

    Mank

    ★★★½

    As with Zodiac, I know fuck all about the historical accuracy behind the real life events, so I have no problem with Fincher committing to dramatizing an ostensibly debunked version of history. For me, the most impressive feat is the way Mank blends a decidedly untraditional biopic narrative—borderline impressionistic, quite literally attempting to "give an impression" of Mankiewicz through a sprawling series of semi-disconnected scenes—with expressionistic formalism which perfectly emulates not just the look, but the feel of films from…

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  • I Care a Lot

    I Care a Lot

    ★★

    Starts off generic and just gets worse from there. The tone is all over the place, shifting from self-serious to sardonic to flat-out cartoonish within a single scene, and some of the dialogue is painfully cringey. None of the character motivations make any sense, and it's honestly just sad to see talented actors trying this hard when the material is so bad. The score is really the only highlight.

  • Malcolm & Marie

    Malcolm & Marie

    ★★★½

    Levinson, Washington, Zendaya, and Rév "having fun with the art," making a film that's essentially critic-proof, and I both admired and enjoyed it. The two leads lend the overwritten dialogue a sense of authenticity (lol), but the film is obviously intended to be heightened, and in fact, only starts to stumble in the tail end when Levinson tries to turn the cartoonish characters into real people and aims for emotional poignancy. The elegant visual aesthetic works to contrast the acerbic…

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  • Us

    Us

    ★★½

    Starts off strong, effectively creating tension through fantastic cinematography and notably sharp editing/pacing, but once the table has been properly set, it's a gradual nosedive to the perplexing finale. The acting is undeniably committed and the child actors are pitch-perfect, but the exaggerated, go-for-broke lead performances teeter into overkill and would have been more effective if reigned in a bit. Also, the frequent attempts at humor, though sometimes successful, completely undercut the unnerving tone. It felt like Peele wasn't confident…

  • Joker

    Joker

    ★★

    It’s impossible to go into a film without preconceptions. You can avoid trailers and reviews, mute words on twitter, and try to go in with an open mind, but as the lights dim, you’ve got a general idea of what you’re about to watch and some level of hope or expectation of how you’ll feel about it. Joker even more so, since it’s based on a massively popular character that’s already had numerous depictions in the past decade alone. Beyond…