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  • High and Low

    High and Low

    ★★★★½

    Oh. So this is like a Classic Classic. High stakes setup, flawless delivery, just a top to bottom masterpiece.

    My stomach dropped like half a dozen times when reckoning w the abduction, often bc Kurosawa does such a great job of creating tension in the staging of the apartment scenes. You feel the competing pressures in the way characters move across the screen. Same is true for the young criminal's mad scramble at the end.

    I always love police procedurals…

  • Native Son

    Native Son

    ★★½

    Man this is really a worst of both worlds adaptation. The couple of places where this *really* diverges from the novel (namely that closing scene) aren't very effective. And the ways it stays faithful (who hires a live-in driver in 2019?) make this feel like a story that exists in some just-wrong alternate reality.

    Love basically the whole cast and hope some of the sharper moments from this are good for their reels, but this is pretty disappointingly far from…

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  • The Last Laugh

    The Last Laugh

    ★★★★★

    Holy Hell. That this film could weaponize irony, sweep you up in a spacey drunken dream, and ground your heart to dust without any title cards is just astonishing.

    Murneau was a master. I don't really have anything to add to the conversation about this film. I'm just thoroughly impressed.

    (Also the poster LB chose for this is wonderful!)

  • Annihilation

    Annihilation

    ★★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Whereas Arrival envisioned a universe where aliens taught us to understand the world in a more profound way by learning a new language, Annihilation grapples with the opposite. It imagines what might happen if an alien tried to understand us. And succeeded a little too well.

    This movie is just as brilliant. The psychologist tells us that no one goes into The Shimmer looking to commit suicide, but they all self destruct. Whatever has crash landed on Earth is thoroughly…