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  • Suspiria

    Suspiria

    ★★★★★

    Suspiria is art-house horror at its most pretentious and impenetrable, but if you can resonate on its unique wavelength, you will find a film experience like no other this year.

    The plot is simple, and borrows its basic premise from Dario Argento's 1977 masterwork: Susie Bannion, a young woman from small-town America, arrives at the Markos Dance Academy in Berlin and soon discovers that it is run by a coven of witches. This simple story masks a sprawling, thematically dense…

  • First Man

    First Man

    ★★★★½

    Four years after bursting onto the film scene with the propulsive music-thriller Whiplash, and two years after becoming the youngest ever Best Director winner for old-school Hollywood musical La La Land, Damien Chazelle returns with a biopic of Neil Armstrong. My biggest question when hearing about First Man was why someone with such an incredible talent for evoking the musicality of the moving image would want to create something as conventionally tired and lifeless as a biopic?

    Well, I had…

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  • Free Solo

    Free Solo

    ★★★★

    As a boulderer who has never had the urge to climb without proper protection, I found Free Solo to be a terrifyingly stressful, yet exhilarating experience.

    The film does not simply show us Alex Honnold's unrivaled feat of free soloing El Capitan in Yosemite, but it digs into the psychology of why Honnold believes that this is something he must accomplish.

    And the climbing footage itself is simply extraordinary! Using a combination of drones and a roped-climbing camera crew, we…

  • Wildlife

    Wildlife

    ★★★★

    The slow-motion dissolution of a marriage through the eyes of a teenage boy.

    Paul Dano's directorial debut is beautiful and quietly intense. Ed Oxenbould gives a wonderfully emotive performance as a teen becoming lost amidst his parents' crises, and both Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal are acting at the peak of their abilities.

    Though it can be slow and emotionally sterile, Wildlife is a great dramatic showcase for the cast's talents, and I expect great things from Dano's future directorial career.

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  • Hereditary

    Hereditary

    ★★★★★

    Hereditary is a new modern masterpiece of the horror genre. Not only has Ari Aster crafted a debut film that effortlessly cultivates a pervasive sense of dread and foreboding that has eluded more experienced horror maestros, but he has dreamed up revolutionary new techniques to elicit scares from his audience.

    It is a film that has invaded my mind, lurking in my thoughts with imagery and emotions that will haunt me until the end of my days. Most modern horror…

  • Black Panther

    Black Panther

    ★★★★½

    Black Panther is the pinnacle of super hero movies, a film that works both as a part of the MCU mega-franchise and as a standalone creative vision defined by Ryan Coogler's direction. By choosing to forego the tired origin story format, and focus instead on T'Challa assuming the Wakandan throne, Black Panther is able to deliver a dense, compelling story that effortlessly immerses the viewer in the vibrant world of Wakanda. The film is populated by an incredible cast of…