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  • Sweetheart

    Sweetheart

    ★★★★

    #52FilmsByPOC 2019 pt. 46.

    This is my shit, and I was totally on board for the first half (with Jen alone on the island). Once the others show up midway through, it loses a little something for me, but the straightforwardness, the monster design, the day/night rhythms, the mystery of the bottomless hole offshore, and the strength and complexity of the lead (accustomed to being disbelieved while being the only one capable of handling the situations she finds herself in),…

  • The Lighthouse

    The Lighthouse

    ★★★★½

    Will Robert Pattinson ever escape Twilight? Seems like no matter what he does, brilliant role after brilliant role, we won't stop clowning him for a teeny-bopper part he played a damn decade ago (and a good portion of the people clowning him have never seen a Twilight movie).
    Anyway, I'm not sure I feel at all compelled to decipher or unravel The Lighthouse's narrative; I'm content to surrender to the audiovisual experience of ocean spray, tobacco smoke, effusive period dialogue,…

  • Thriller

    Thriller

    ★★

    #52FilmsByPOC 2019 pt. 45.

    "Naturalistic" movie dialogue is an unattainable standard and I'd love to see us move away from that expectation, but all the same, if you're going to write a movie about teenagers you should probably spend some time observing how teenagers actually talk, beyond just googling "teenage slang" ("lit" and "bae" are both used incorrectly here). Probably the cringiest dialogue/delivery I've seen in a while, to the point where it was hard to enjoy the enjoyable parts.…

  • Glass Ceiling

    Glass Ceiling

    ★★★½

    #52LGBTQFilms 2019 pt. 44.

    Spanish gialli have a different flavor from the dominant Italian style: less hysterical, less bloodshed, more grounded. While it might not be as overtly political as some of de la Iglesia's later work, the subtext is clear: the real threat here is the male gaze. That a group of women can be threatened by the mere presence of lustful males is a thought not many men--particularly men in Franco's Spain--need or want to dwell on, but…

  • Stranger by the Lake

    Stranger by the Lake

    ★★★★½

    #52LGBTQFilms 2019 pt. 43.

    This is sure to spell the end of summer.
    --Henri

    The adjective "Hitchcockian," beyond just being an awkward sounding word, has gotten so overused as to become meaningless, but this film has a deep kinship with Hitchcock's work. It deals in murder mediated by the act of seeing, the interweaving of sex and violence into the peril of desire and the arousal of danger, the problem of selfhood, the fear of police. Like Hitchcock, it's interested…

  • Pilgrim

    Pilgrim

    ★★★★

    A young black woman, disconnected from her heritage, constantly being told how grateful she ought to be by people who do nothing but torture her the entire time: that's the story of Thanksgiving!
    Dunstan flexes his Eurotrash-derived style with obnoxious fisheyes, handhelds, montage and daytime-TV zooms, ending up with something intrusively stylized and crass. This is a post-Get Out "social thriller" for people who prefer canned cranberry sauce and secretly like green bean casserole, and it's the first Into the…

  • Terror Is a Man

    Terror Is a Man

    ★★★

    #52FilmsByPOC 2019 pt. 44.

    Look, to me the '50s monster movie is an engine of simple pleasures, and I typically assess these films based on the ratio of cool monster action to boring white guys standing around in rooms talking. This one saves its monster reveal for the last 12 minutes, sadly since it's a very good monster makeup, and leans heavy on particularly boring white dudes talking in rooms.
    But then I fucked up and looked at some reviews…

  • School Spirit

    School Spirit

    ★★★

    #52FilmsByPOC 2019 pt. 43.

    Slasher movies, high school movies, and urban legends are three of my favorite things in the whole entire world, so for me to finish an urban legend-based, high school-set slasher movie with a shrug and a "that was aight" means that it's probably significantly less than aight. The main problem is the dialogue: this movie is great at the horror and suspense sequences and not great at the talking bits, so I'm not sure why it…

  • Vapors

    Vapors

    ★★★★

    #52LGBTQFilms 2019 pt. 42.

    A modest, inexpensive, lovely little film that does exactly what it sets out to do: investigate the humanity of gay bathhouse-goers, a group seldom portrayed apart from sensationalism and cruel jokes. The two leads give gentle, yearning performances, the script moves quickly, and the shoddy transparent production modes add to the immediacy. As a portrait of two men and a historical document of a mostly-dead subculture, this is a fascinating corollary to Milligan's better-known hysterical horror work.

    Cf. Poison

  • The Bad Man

    The Bad Man

    ★★

    #52LGBTQFilms 2019 pt. 41.

    "Bad clowns" have made a real comeback over the last few years and probably the best part about this movie is the dinner table conversation about the social implications of coulrophobia that occurs before any of the shit goes down. I don't fear clowns so I don't really care but even I get a better appreciation for Pennywise and Art the Clown when I compare them to this movie's limp noodle of an evil jester, the…

  • Blood Bath

    Blood Bath

    ★★★½

    #52LGBTQFilms 2019 pt. 40.

    This and Night of the Zombies have given me an appreciation for Joel M. Reed that Blood Sucking Freaks, for all its notoriety and excess, couldn't. This is pretty shoddy as an anthology but there's something compelling about it; meta-storytelling developed through an opening scene wink at the camera just before we find out we are watching a movie being made; subsequent characters' subtle acknowledgements that they know they're personages in someone else's fiction (the rich…

  • Torture Dungeon

    Torture Dungeon

    ★★★

    #52LGBTQFilms 2019 pt. 39.

    Milligan at his Milliganest. You only see the titular dungeon once, but it's okay because despite the trappings, this is more deviant Milligan sexploration than outright horror. It's the most...leisurely paced? of the Milligan films I've seen, willing to devote long stationary dialogue scenes to quirky characters like the marriage counselor and the hunchback. At times it seems as if Andy and Richard Linklater collaborated on a movie that just takes its sweet old time to…