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  • The Fly

    The Fly

    ★★★★★

    An exemplary showcase of 80s-era, prosthetics-laden special effects in service to a genuine and tender romance—a perfect movie, as far as I’m concerned. But for all his deserved merits as a horror director of a spectacularly gore-prone sort, Cronenberg doesn't seem to get many kudos for the efficiency of his storytelling. This film opens with the two leads in mid-conversation, and moments later they’re in Brundle’s warehouse lab checking out those teleportation pods. The dramatic/romantic tension burgeons from the very first scene and doesn't relent until the tragic, merciful gunshot at its conclusion.

  • Murder on a Sunday Morning

    Murder on a Sunday Morning

    ★★★★

    This is a film about the wrongful conviction of an African-American. It’s from nearly twenty years ago.

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  • Annihilation

    Annihilation

    ★★½

    For the first third or so this is ominous and self-serious in the tradition characteristic of all cerebral sci-fi movies, which permits a precariously narrow margin of error. So when a line of dialogue is delivered amusingly, or the appearance of a CGI creature isn’t convincingly material enough, the laughter that follows is concentrated because it’s been stifled for the time leading up to it—because up until this moment you don’t know if it’s going to fall on the side…

  • 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,…