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  • Palm Springs

    Palm Springs

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    Signals an awareness of the timeloop's dark implicationsβ€”codependence, addiction, consent issues, death drive, guilt prisonβ€”and then mostly shrugs them off. This is basically a payoff problem, with most of the invention reserved for (delightful) antics in inconsequential loops. It also simplifies things that none of the characters in the background are worth a second thought (except you, Jerry). It would be one thing if this were pure froth, but it kinda half goes there, flagging up its own issues and then edging away from them.

  • Relic

    Relic

    β˜…β˜…β˜…

    Could have gone heavier on the cronesploitation and lighter on the prestige beige, but exactly the thing I usually don't like about these types of moviesβ€”that super-overt melodrama/metaphor nexusβ€”kinda works here, maybe just because the real-life fear it deals with actually has a hold on me.

    (Also: Under the Skin imagery continues to resurface.)

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  • Watermelon Contest

    Watermelon Contest

    Part of the danger of film like this comes from the fact that the "views" the Edison company was churning out primarily fell into two categories: vaudeville acts and slice-of-life proto-docs. Which is this? An act or a representative reality? It reads as both, casting the black subject as an object of fun within the everyday.

  • The Pumpkin Race

    The Pumpkin Race

    There are few film images more satisfying than giant, self-propelled pumpkins softly bouncing into a manhole.