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  • Stir of Echoes

    Stir of Echoes

    ★★½

    Somehow never watched this before, even though it came out when I was a teenager who saw most major studio films, especially if they had a horror bent. Maybe I was swayed, like many others, by the widely disseminated impression that it was vastly inferior to The Sixth Sense, which opened a month earlier—a completely accurate assessment, though the similarities between the two are mostly superficial. Anyway, had I seen it in '99, five years before I moved to the…

  • Ad Astra

    Ad Astra

    ★★★½

    "We're all we've got."

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  • John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

    John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

    ★★★

    Diminishing returns. The first half hour is magnificent, picking right up where the last movie left off—Wick bounding, injured, across New York, the clock ticking down to open season—and featuring two nearly series-best fights, including one that caused me to involuntarily utter "Oh shiiiiiit." But once Parabellum shifts out of pure survival mode, and the "plot" kicks in, it starts to become clear that all involved are running out of ideas of what to do with this world and character.…

  • The Talented Mr. Ripley

    The Talented Mr. Ripley

    ★★★★½

    Double meanings of a double life: an ingenious con-artist thriller that's also about the desperate loneliness of playing rich and straight, respectively. Does Matt Damon do his best work as men faking their way to high society? It's a theme that resonates at least superficially with his movie-star backstory as an ordinary dude from Bahstan, and which finds its own double in The Departed, another con artist story of sorts, featuring a (possibly closeted) character self-actualizing up the ladder through…