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  • Dumb and Dumber

    Dumb and Dumber

    ★★★★

    Notwithstanding this film’s status as an essential Jim Carrey vehicle or a pretty good road movie with a distinctive soundtrack or how all those elements overshadow the film’s real gem in Jeff Daniels, this is a movie about capitalism. Note how at the beginning Harry and Lloyd live in a shithole and dress in that bland fashion becoming of modern middle-aged urban bohemians, and when they come upon a briefcase full of money spend it in the most brazen and…

  • Quatermass and the Pit

    Quatermass and the Pit

    ★★★★½

    Even if this were trimmed down to only the astonished reaction shots, all of which are composed of roomfuls of scientists or military men all agape at some windy force somewhere offscreen as props dance in the whirlwind behind them Evil Dead II-like, it’d still be one of the very best Hammer films.

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  • The Big Short

    The Big Short

    ★★★★

    The film’s regular fourth wall transgressions that intend to demystify credit bubbles and CDOs or whatever else didn’t quite clarify exactly what’s going on for me, but nevertheless this is a film that’s transparently cognizant of the viewer’s level of interest, checking in every now in then in case one of us is nodding off. It’s this tactic that I really admire, and a film that purposefully solicits participation because McKay & Co. intend to educate under the guise of entertainment,…

  • They Live

    They Live

    ★★★★★

    They Live is at times totally absurd (the bubblegum line, for example, which I’ve never thought was all that funny), but its central revelation is masterful, melding the film’s political satire with its good old-fashioned alien invasion narrative. You laugh when those cartoonish bug-eyed aliens pronounce their capitalistic agenda – think about that; in what other movies do aliens want to harvest Mother Earth's monetary instead of horticultural resources? – but behind the ridiculous one-liners and the shootouts and the spectacularly elongated fight scene is a genuine frustration. I wish more movies ballasted such absurdity with sincerity.