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  • Mission: Impossible - Fallout

    Mission: Impossible - Fallout

    The plotting's not as intricate or clever as the last entry but this is still a suitably kinetic and engaging setpiece-carrier in the summer movie style. The variety to the formula here comes from Cruise bouncing off Cavill, who plays a kind of Bizarro Ethan that counters the hero's sense of judgment and honor code with recklessness and a smirking amorality. It's also worth noting the finale is highly satisfying, orchestrated with a sense of care and timing that you don't get in this franchise's superhero flick competition.

  • Murder-Rock: Dancing Death

    Murder-Rock: Dancing Death

    Amusing quickie for the Italian horror set that slaps an MTV/FLASHDANCE-style coat of paint on the old-fashioned giallo model of storytelling. It's light on blood despite the body count but Fulci piles on gratuitous nudity from the female cast members as well MTV-style nightmares and some aerobics-tastic dance numbers. The plot begins daftly and gets loonier with each reel, which works here because Fulci stages the kills in a baroque, hyper-stylized manner, culminating in a wacky killer-reveal finale that plays…

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  • mother!

    mother!

    The multiplex filmgoing event of the year for me: it was a rare thrill to see something this wild, willfully weird and confrontational in a general audience setting at the local mall. Aronofsky uses all the tools of modern Hollywood filmmaking and the language of horror cinema to assault the audience and he does so with a sure, steady hand from start to finish. Maybe gets a bit literal with his metaphors at the very end but his work is…

  • Bad Day at Black Rock

    Bad Day at Black Rock

    It looks like a western and has the quick, efficient rhythms of a b-movie programmer but don't let any of that fool you: this is one of the most meaningful Hollywood films of its era. The script is a model of how to tease out a mystery premise while building tension and the acting ensemble gives it a real intensity: Ryan, Borgnine and Marvin make a trio of the nastiest bully villains in film history and Tracy balances them beautifully…