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  • Midsommar

    Midsommar

    ★★★★½

    I liked "Hereditary" well enough, mostly due to the extra gear Toni Collette kicked into; director Ari Aster proved he has a nose for the creepy and occult with that one. However: This follow-up is a blockbuster effort, a finely-directed Grand Guignol horrorshow which goes all sorts of places you don't expect. I should have thought "Wicker Man" from the start, but I didn't, so I was mostly in the dark about specifics throughout. I love it when a movie…

  • Slave of the Cannibal God

    Slave of the Cannibal God

    ★½

    This is exactly in the same vein as "Cannibal Holocaust," and director Sergio Martino caught the same bug that Ruggerio Deodato contracted in running to a forbidding jungle on the other side of the globe to shoot an exploitation movie for a tiny budget. How Martino managed to get Ursula Andress and Stacy Keach to shoot this piece of trash is beyond me, because Keach was still a decent brand in Los Angeles in 1978. Long story short, poorly-dubbed white…

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  • Her Smell

    Her Smell

    ★★★★

    Alex Ross Perry and Elizabeth Moss are starting to resemble Bergman and Ullmann, without the romance. Each is allowing the other to do their finest work, but with a performer like Moss in the lead that's not hard to understand why. This is a decline-and-fall-and-rise narrative, supposedly inspired by Guns 'n' Roses at their worst, and Perry creates a winding five-act structure to show the convolutions of musician Becky Something (Moss) as she burns down her life and has to…

  • Anatomy of a Murder

    Anatomy of a Murder

    ★★★★★

    The mix of bebop jazz and a murder/rape is not the most obvious combo you might think of, but Otto Preminger makes it work with sizable assistance from Jimmy Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, and George C. Scott. The frankness of the script in dealing with a sexual attack is ahead of its time, but the space where this movie loses traction is the supposed culpability it places on Remick's victim for being an attractive target, even though that reflects…