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  • Friday the 13th

    Friday the 13th

    ★★

    You wouldn't know it from its enduring popularity and intense cult following, but the only thing remarkable about this movie is the extent to which it epitomizes bland mediocrity. The Benedict Cumberbatch of slasher movies.

  • The Exorcist III

    The Exorcist III

    ★★★★★

    Sure, the ending is ridiculous. But the way Blatty creates atmosphere throughout the film: the lighting, the wind, the way religious statues come into focus, is sublime, and the cell scenes between George C. Scott and Brad Dourif/Jason Miller are dynamite. To say nothing of That One Shot (if you see the film, you'll know the one I mean).

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  • Welcome Home

    Welcome Home

    ★★★★★

    OKAERI is a film with something of a legendary status among aficionados of recent Japanese cinema. The film was self-funded by a projectionist and freelance film-critic-turned-filmmaker, and shot on leftover film stock from other independent productions. Its cast ranges from VERY seasoned veterans (Tomio Aoki, the former child-star of Ozu's I WAS BORN, BUT..., who appears as a talkative old man in a park) to recognizable character actors (Susumu Terajima, a frequent supporting cast member of Kitano and Miike films,…

  • Luminous Woman

    Luminous Woman

    ★★★★½

    Definitely Sōmai's weirdest film, and not one for all tastes--this is far removed from understated dramas about families and youth like "The Typhoon Club" or "Moving"--but still fascinating and, I think, a key work in Sōmai's filmography. Even in his most low-key films, Sōmai deploys some remarkable sequence shots and has at least one or two scenes of fantastic, scintillating imagery (think of the festival at the end of "Moving"). This film has so much of both of those things…