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  • Martha Marcy May Marlene

    Martha Marcy May Marlene

    ★★★★

    One of those movies I had been "meaning to watch" for what suddenly became nearly a decade. Olsen was great, the back and forth editing was smooth, and the elements of the story don't get spelled out. It's incredibly tense, ambiguous, and difficult. A simmering Queen of Earth style vibe that I definitely enjoy.

  • Frownland

    Frownland

    ★★★½

    No surprise to see folks from the Safdie world involved here, this thing is full of anxiety and an ever-present sense that time is about to run out. It's frantic in real world terms, responsibilities and social juggling that can't possibly work out, which won't have any truly devastating outcomes, but which feel as important as diffusing a bomb.

  • Devil Town

    Devil Town

    ★★★

    Thinly acted but with a much more interesting visual aesthetic than expected out of this sort of thing. The circular motion feels purposeful, the confusion is strong, the dread is just beneath the surface enough to feel potentially misplaced, as if things might be OK in the end.

  • Bad Fever

    Bad Fever

    ★★★

    This feels a lot closer to the early days of mumblecore, it's fairly annoying, actually mumbly, mildly infuriating, and mostly aimless. Duh, it's mumblecore - and for some reason I'm drawn to these films despite their rampant imperfections.

  • Jasper Mall

    Jasper Mall

    ★★★½

    As someone who spent a lot of formative time in a smalltown midwestern mall, I could have watched this for hours. Where's the Fredrick Wiseman version? There's of course an element of class-tourism or ruinporn here, a questionable gaze that probably wouldn't be so blatant in a more hands-off Wiseman style as opposed to this indie filmfest style doc, but I can't help but feel a personal affinity for this kind of content.

  • Black Is King

    Black Is King

    ★★★★

    For the first ten minutes I was thinking I might not be able to sit through the whole thing. There's a lot of cheese here, Bey's affected whispery "poetic" narration, some goofy space imagery, songs that aren't clicking for me, and of course the Lion King shit. But it took a turn part way through and I was glued.

    Of course I wish there weren't audio clips from the movie - did we really need Billy Eichner voiceover? But there…

  • Koyaanisqatsi

    Koyaanisqatsi

    ★★★★½

    After years of only ever seeing snippits of this in the background at stupid parties on thriftstore TVs I decided the best way to break in my new giant TV by watching it in full 1080p glory. I'm a huge Glass fan so obviously the soundtrack slapped but the visuals, that I thought might be a bit corny or hamfisted, felt natural and smooth. There were certainly parts that did feel corny and hamfisted, but not enough to really knock it at all. A pretty wild journey I'm glad to have finally had.

  • The Rental

    The Rental

    ★★½

    The first Airbnb horror I've seen (and I expect many more to come). Aside from that it all feels pretty standard and predictable. Whatever interesting ideas could be pursued are pretty much thrown out in favor of a quick and dirty ending that felt anti-climatic and like a bit of a copout.

  • The Blackout

    The Blackout

    ★★★

    Falls somewhere between Lynch and Videodrome, which sounds perfect but it doesn't quite work. I do love Dennis Hopper so much, though.

  • Relic

    Relic

    ★★★½

    Very obviously a post-Hereditary movie. Far from perfect but refreshing in many ways. Certainly the first time I've seen dementia used like this. Goes a bit wild as it peaks but the sheer absurdity and strangeness of it was pleasing.

  • Cure

    Cure

    ★★★★

    What at first might be a straightforward procedural, quickly turns strange and dreamy, increasingly surreal as it builds and impressively sticks the landing. Pulse was good but this is great.

  • Yes, God, Yes

    Yes, God, Yes

    Very obviously a pitch for feature-length funding - and it works. I'm curious to see how it developed.