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  • Final Destination 5

    Final Destination 5

    ★★★

    "Final Destination 5" was a lot of fun in theaters—more fun than any movie with the number "5" after it has any right to be, frankly. Watching it at home, almost a decade later, the film reads as overly digital and the shoddy effects are more noticeable (something 3-D glasses nicely glazed over). But there are still some highlights: that opening bridge disaster offers the grandest destruction in the entire series, and the gymnast death sequence is its own perfect little short film, one that takes perverse delight in misdirecting its audience until the final, jaw-dropping denouement.

  • Final Destination

    Final Destination

    ★★★★

    Prior to 2020, I would have argued that Elevated Horror has done a great deal of good for the genre as a whole, restoring a sense of old-school film technique and suspense in the process, but several months into this pandemic I'm ready to ask...can we just go back to the year 2000, when Devon Sawa could headline a movie, New Line Cinema was filling multiplexes with their brand of gore-tastic horror, and Nine Inch Nails was a regular fixture on soundtrack albums?

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  • The Irishman

    The Irishman

    ★★★★★

    "You don't know how good a friend you got."

    A late career masterwork from director Martin Scorsese, "The Irishman" is a film that encompasses many things—Shakespearean tragedy writ large, secret backroom history of the second half of the American 20th century—but on one level I'm simply thrilled we've been granted a story this dense, this meaningful on the subject of male friendship.

  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    ★★

    "Rise of Skywalker" feels like what no other "Star Wars" movie has felt like before (not even Ron Howard's fill-in job on "Solo"): rushed, sloppy, incomplete. Rian Johnson sought to further the mythology by interrogating it—a sign of respect. In his place, Abrams offers a breakneck MacGuffin hunt. Thank God, then, for Daisy Ridley, who reminds us why she was such a golden find back in 2015. She always conveys humanity, even when little else here does.