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  • Isle of Dogs

    Isle of Dogs

    ★★★½

    Second time around, the film's virtues are even clearer, portraying the dog-human bond as not just emotional but also spiritual. ("My [dogs] listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.") Anderson naysayers who accuse him of being emotionally constipated should reevaluate based on the many close-ups of characters with tears welling up in their eyes. You can't find a more nakedly sentimental visual motif.

    Unfortunately, the film's central flaw comes across stronger on a second viewing as…

  • Manhunter

    Manhunter

    ★★★★

    "If one does what God does enough times, one will become as God is." —Hannibal Lecter

    We're no longer living in Eden, but humanity's drive to eat from the forbidden tree is as strong as ever.

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  • The Witch

    The Witch

    Almost two months after I've seen this movie, I'm still trying to decide what I think of it. It's certainly effective, accomplishing everything it sets out to do. Robert Eggers is scarily self-assured at the helm of his first feature film, creating an atmosphere of uncanniness and spiritual dread that is unwavering and flawlessly oppressive. If The Exorcist is a horror movie for Catholics, then The Witch is a horror movie for Protestants: Because the individual (not the institutional church)…

  • Midnight Special

    Midnight Special

    ★★★★

    The plot is the weak link in Midnight Special: try not to think too hard about how and why Alton's special abilities work the way they do, or about why the cult just sort of evaporates as the story proceeds toward its climax. The film is much more concerned with atmosphere (David Wingo's score is the highlight here), character, and emotion. Witness Roy's (Michael Shannon) final moment with Alton, or the halting attempts by Lucas (Joel Edgerton) to explain the…