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  • Us

    Us

    ★★★½

    Really strongly executed, though the labored quality of the setup (and payoff) deflates the creep factor for me. I can appreciate the big, weird long game and its loose metaphor, but at the end of the day I’m most impressed by the ripping action of the second act. I wish more of the concept could have come out through that action.

  • Hale County This Morning, This Evening

    Hale County This Morning, This Evening

    ★★★½

    A loose, vivid accretion of ambient details and discretely captured personal moments—though I can't help feeling like the way this reached the world (as a hyped poetic/observational doc positioned through festivals; as a representation of black rural Alabama; with a producer having brought in Weerasethakul as a consultant) actually obscures some of what's specific about Ross's project, and this community. The eclipse scene is brilliant, although elsewhere the atmospheric/cosmological images threaten to overwhelm the more unruly (and perhaps less "cinematic")…

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  • The Thing

    The Thing

    ★★★★½

    Being human is torture—the only real option is an attempt at transcendence: a fat, conical joint and a Stevie Wonder album, say, or a bottle of J&B scotch. So we don’t hate the Thing; we revere it and envy it. I think that’s why we’re drawn to its morphing, why we don’t necessarily want to pass the “blood test.”

    [The only existing 70mm blow-up print, screened at the Music Box to a raucous, sold-out crowd of Chicagoans. Super red, faded…

  • The Pumpkin Race

    The Pumpkin Race

    There are few film images more satisfying than giant, self-propelled pumpkins softly bouncing into a manhole.