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  • Wild Nights with Emily

    Wild Nights with Emily

    ★★★

    [... W]hile most films would make a concerted effort to paint their subject's arc, Olnek's film plays more like a series of loosely connected sketches dealing with the sexism of Dickinson's colleagues, male superiority complexes, and her struggle to publish her work. If the film does have a through line, it's Dickinson's relationship with Susan. However, the movie uses it as an avatar for her healthy social life, doing tepid work at rectifying history's gay erasure of the poet.

    It's…

  • High Life

    High Life

    ★★★★½

    It's a common knowledge that power drives humankind. It's an oft-neglected idea that impulse has just as much control. On top of economic or social standards comes something else: a deep-seated need for autonomy so strong that vicariousness can quench the thirst for a little bit of time. Of course that entails sex and, on a good day, it might involve knowledge. The ultimate possession, though, is another body. High Life doesn't take long to marry these issues. An empty…

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  • Eighth Grade

    Eighth Grade

    ★★★★★

    What a hellish time early adolescence is. When I say hellish, I mean that in the most transcendent, stinging way possible: it's a dumpster fire; a cacophony of groans; an implosion of externalized insecurities. They say that burning alive is the most painful way of dying, so why does no one award 13-year-olds for surviving such a sensation for nine whole months? I'm sure that I'm still reeling from it, and seeing such a respectful yet truthful examination of the…

  • Annihilation

    Annihilation

    ★★★★½

    Garland is clearly channeling Tarkovsky here, the setup, themes, and execution resembling the director's most revered works. The visuals and locations are, for some sequences, tethered to reality but decidedly inconsistent in how beautiful or grotesque they are captured. Despite the spurts of Cronenberg-influenced body horror, its centerpiece is a third act that will irritate mainstream moviegoers in a way similar to how mother! did last year not in terms of content, but in terms of audacity and refusal to…