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  • Murder-Rock: Dancing Death

    Murder-Rock: Dancing Death

    ★★★

    This is second-tier (but incredibly entertaining) Fulci, laying out a super-pulpy hybrid of FLASHDANCE, Giallo, Hitchcock’s SUSPICION, and bitchy backstage musical. Goddamn, is that Italian character-actor comfort-food cast to die for.

  • It Chapter Two

    It Chapter Two

    ★★

    I actually liked Andy Muschetti’s first IT movie. A lot. After some admittedly low expectations, it genuinely surprised and entertained me. 

    The inverse is the case here: Muschetti and team proved they had the goods on Part 1, so I was expecting something of quality, even if the law of Diminishing Sequel Creative Returns applied. Aaaand...well...

    Almost none of what part 1 did well gets applied here. The characterizations that felt so natural in the childhood Losers feel stilted and…

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  • Midsommar

    Midsommar

    ★★★★½

    Ari Aster’s followup to HEREDITARY is, in a very palpable sense, the pastoral spiritual sibling to Jordan Peele’s US: in other words, another very ambitious—and imperfect—followup to a bang-up debut. 

    Like a lot of horror movies, it requires some suspension of “I’d be outta there in a heartbeat if that was me” disbelief to swallow the catalytic event that formally signals the not-rightness of things. But it’s dreamily mesmerizing, incredibly immersive (there’s some magnificent world-building going on here), genuinely unsettling,…

  • Mandy

    Mandy

    ★★★★★

    As far as I was concerned, in 2018 it was Mandy, and then there was everything else. It was that exhilarating, that innovative; that richly dark a jewel of a fairytale. It’s excessive, silly, visually ravishing, flawed AF, and powerfully, surprisingly moving. And the acting sparks with graphic-novel vividness. 

    The word ‘masterpiece ‘ gets tossed around like Kleenex in these devalued times; but if there’s a movie in the last 20 years more worthy of that haughty designation, I have yet to see it.