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  • Blue Ruin

    Blue Ruin

    ★★★★

    There's a scene roughly half (maybe two-thirds?) of the way through, when the protagonist pays a clerk with a bloodstained bill. Dwight (the protagonist) is in bad shape, for reasons I don't need to go into here--suffice to say his efforts to get revenge for his parents' murder aren't going well. The clerk looks at the bill with the blood on it, and then stares at Dwight, half-disapproving, half-shocked.

    Dwight stares back. This would, in a normal thriller, be the…

  • Being John Malkovich

    Being John Malkovich

    ★★★★½

    I've been avoiding revisiting Eternal Sunshine lately, knowing that a viewing now would almost certainly render me a gibbering mess; BJM seemed a safer bet, especially seeing as how I'd got my hands on the terrific Criterion Blu-Ray. Well, I didn't have a breakdown or anything, but the movie I'd remembered vaguely as a smart, slightly mean-spirited existential comedy turned out to be... okay, basically that, but maybe not so much mean-spirited, and more just this absolutely unflinching study of…

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  • Frances Ha

    Frances Ha

    ★★★★★

    A few years ago, I moved to Portland to live with my best friend--we'd known each other since high school, and he was back in Maine for the first time in years, and I desperately wanted to get out of Lewiston. And it was a good time. I don't do groups well, and I have a hard time meeting people, but for a while, me and my best friend would just hang out and watch movies and sometimes there'd be…

  • The Silence of the Lambs

    The Silence of the Lambs

    ★★★★★

    When I was a kid, I had this linked up with Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a Movie That Will Probably Kill You If You Watch It. When I finally saw it, I wasn't disappointed or anything, but it certainly didn't have the raw, bleak found-object intensity of TCM; and watching it as an adult, I'm struck again by how warm and satisfyingly and richly human Silence is. It's a serial killer story that consistently refuses to turn anyone, victim or…