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  • Dark Waters

    Dark Waters

    ★★★★

    I feel like the screenwriter had the characters say “DuPont” every three words just so that the extent of their evil would stick in our brains after we finish watching — and honestly, I am not against it. 

    This is another entry in the increasingly trope-laden eco-legal-thriller genre, and while I am very tired of this whole type of film, Todd Haynes and Ruffalo do their damndest to lift this one above the fray. It’s a story worth telling: this…

  • Beastie Boys Story

    Beastie Boys Story

    ★★★★

    Good documentaries are tough to do well, and musical retrospectives even more so. Luckily, this one is great, using a very simplistic retelling of the Beastie Boys’ history and challenges on a simple stage, with simple backdrops. Some have painted this as a glorified TED Talk, and I get the comparison; for me, though, this felt more like a personal narration of one’s own story rather than using a paint-by-numbers talking heads documentary style. 

    And it works wonderfully, in large…

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  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    I’m not a fan of period pieces, so this was never going to be for me. My distaste of it as a genre is mostly defined by people slowly falling in love in relative silence; this movie, though deeply beautiful, is precisely about two people very slowly falling in love in what is possibly the quietest film not involving noise-sensitive aliens. 

    It’s gorgeous, and has some wonderful use of Orpheus as metaphor, but it’s a very quiet movie about quiet…

  • Jaws

    Jaws

    ★★★★

    I mean, it’s Jaws, innit? From the ominous, signature score to the endlessly quotable lines, it’s the monster movie that launched a thousand would-be blockbusters, and sets the unmatchable standard even today. 

    It absolutely holds up, due in part to Spielberg’s determination to avoid showing the shark until extremely late in the film, and while it’s legendarily due to his struggle with the effect itself, it does wonders in driving so much more tension in those many times it’s around…