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  • Better Watch Out

    Better Watch Out

    ★★★★

    A movie that works best if you start watching it knowing as little as possible. All I had to go on was "well-reviewed Christmas horror-comedy", and the ensuing 90 minutes were all the richer for it. Yes, it fulfills those 3 main criteria, every frame (and most of the action) frosted with yuletide frills, being a violent and disturbing horror massacre, and riding on a brazenly nasty and mischievously clever sense of humor, given the circumstances (and not just in…

  • Blade Runner 2049

    Blade Runner 2049

    ★★★★

    I'm no purist - lots of respect for 1982 "Blade Runner", just not much personal significance to me - yet nothing in this lavish, long-awaited, and mostly honorable sequel compares to Roy Blatty's final remarks on the rooftop. That moment was the soul of "Blade Runner", and forgive me for being facile here, but a character in "2049" tells a replicant, "You've been doing fine all along without one", referring to its lack of soul and also inadvertently summing up…

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  • Green Room

    Green Room

    ★★★★½

    Pragmatic!

    Is the best way to describe this scrappy, intense, black-comedy thriller from the rising master of scrappy, intense, black-comedy thrillers Jeremy Saulnier. Like his debut "Murder Party", this is a chamber piece, confining a young punk band to mostly one room of a neo-Nazi club they made the mistake of playing at, where they become sitting ducks after witnessing a murder. And close quarters suit Saulnier's modus operandi impeccably, as he once again tackles a succinct premise with an…

  • 10 Cloverfield Lane

    10 Cloverfield Lane

    ★★★★½

    Oooh yeah! One of those movies that reignites my love for the medium, not that it was flagging or anything, but this actually thrilled me physically and as a (formerly) prospective writer myself. I never wanted to be avant garde or anything – my dream was to write and/or make smart but accessible entertainment like this (and preferably in genre territory), so to see it pulled off so expertly every now and then in movies like "10 Cloverfield Lane" feels…