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  • The War on Democracy

    The War on Democracy

    ★★★★½

    Three stars for typical quality, British-voiced political doc you might see on NPR. 

    +3 stars for this being an absolutely necessary history lesson for anyone in the US.

    -1.5 stars for being so baldly biased. When a hostile interview subject disputes your facts, you should be able to do a bit better than “well, actually, a lot of people disagree with you.”

  • His House

    His House

    ★★★

    Yet another horror(-adjacent) film in recent years that’s conceptually amazing but stumbles on execution (as with The VVitch, The Babadook, etc.)

    Audiovisually, this is pretty great. So many of the moves it makes are really brilliant. The scares are effective. The performances are strong.

    But the Achilles Heel of the whole endeavor is the lack of character development. Strong though the lead performances are, the actors are let down by a script that never bothers to give much depth to the characters and direction that gives them little to do but get tossed about by the plot.

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  • The Dead Zone

    The Dead Zone

    ★★★★

    Cronenberg's many strengths do not generally include particularly strong plotting - which is why this film is so darn good. The plot's already been taken care of, and Cronenberg's moody direction, Walken's powerful performance, and Kamen's sad-scary score mix together to create wonderful genre cinema.

  • Hereditary

    Hereditary

    ★★★

    There’s this moment in some horror movies when the movie gets to its equivalent of a song’s “bridge”: the melody of the verses and the chorus drops away and is replaced by something else. HEREDITARY tries to stay in that place for its entirety. The result is a film that - even though it is often masterful - just simply doesn’t have enough tonal range to support a feature- length narrative. Some of the blame for this goes to whoever…