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  • In the Heat of the Night

    In the Heat of the Night

    ★★★★

    Sidney Poitier delivers a subtle and moving performance as Virgil Tibbs, a Philadelphia homicide detective whose patience is tested to the fullest in a deeply racist Mississippi town as he attempts to solve a local murder. The tension derives more from the constant threats against Tibbs by local xenophobes than it does the actual murder which is the overriding point of the film. Steiger gives a solid performance as well, but it's shocking that the Academy overlooked Poitier for such an iconic role.

  • Mystery Train

    Mystery Train

    ★★★★½

    Jarmusch had really hit his stride by the time he made Mystery Train, a casual stroll through Memphis culture and history. The interwoven segments complement each other well, and the common thread with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and the bellboy at the hotel front desk leads to a lot of golden moments. 

    Jarmusch excels at offering a measured perspective of familiar landscapes and genre tropes, always showing us moments we might otherwise miss in more traditional, frenetic movies. John Lurie’s mellow score and the songs curated for the soundtrack really vibe.

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  • X-Men

    X-Men

    ★★★½

    X-Men works well because it stuck to its budget and focused on establishing all of the main characters. There wasn’t a presumption that there’d be endless sequels, so the film feels unburdened in that way compared to recent superhero flicks. Solid action (without too much dated CGI), memorable humor, and a focused theme all make this a worthwhile rewatch.

  • Contagion

    Contagion

    ★★★★

    This film is trending for obvious reasons so I finally checked it out. Soderbergh and Burns did their research on this one and it shows because so much of the terminology used is what we’re hearing in the current media coverage. Contagion is a worst case scenario pandemic story, but its approach is very measured and clinical. The emotional beats are understated which gives them more impact. This is well worth watching or rewatching if you’re curious about it.