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  • Hereditary

    Hereditary

    ★★★

    For whatever reason, horror is having a moment of sustained critical cachet, with a growing list of scary movies receiving praise for emotional resonance, thematic richness, and/or excellence of execution that transcend the genre’s usual stale jump scares. Hereditary seems keen to get in on the action, offering a sophisticated layer of fraught family drama atop a pulpier horror foundation; its familiar depictions of unraveling psyches and things going bump in the night are shaped by deeper notions of fatalism…

  • A Quiet Place

    A Quiet Place

    ★★★

    A Quiet Place centers on a family living in a not-too-distant future in which vicious aliens with hypersensitive hearing have wiped out much of the world’s population. A little over a year into the invasion, after losing their youngest child (of three) to the creatures, they have another child on the way. In a world where silence is absolutely crucial for survival, a newborn baby is the ultimate liability, and while we’re privy to the family’s many ingenious strategies for…

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  • The Florida Project

    The Florida Project

    ★★★★½

    When I see a new film of almost universal acclaim, sometimes I go out of my way to read the negative reviews to get a little distance from the zeitgeist. In the case of The Florida Project’s negative reviews, I saw a few patterns:

    • the expected backlash against the critical consensus
    • the frustration of viewers who prefer more traditional narratives
    • locals objecting to the portrayal of Florida
    • accusations of poverty porn

    One flavor of that last…

  • The Others

    The Others

    ★★

    Remember when Nirvana exploded and every major label scrambled to sign any band they could find that was even remotely similar? Well, if The Sixth Sense is Nirvana (and given how quickly M Night Shyamalan squandered whatever goodwill his breakout hit engendered, I hesitate to draw the comparison), then The Others is Bush.

    The themes, tone, essential plot points, and even the color palette are all lifted directly. To its credit, this is not immediately apparent, and the way the…