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  • The Devil's Backbone

    The Devil's Backbone

    ★★★

    You can really see a lot of Guillermo Del Toro's ideas in place here already in his career. Namely the thesis he likes to return to time and again; that man is the real monster. The Devil's Backbone is a ghost story and a war story, much like his later (and admittedly better) films Pan's Labyrinth and Crimson Peak, wherein the ghost at first seems like the true threat but is revealed to be something altogether more benevolent, with a…

  • Stagecoach

    Stagecoach

    ★★★

    Stagecoach is an immaculately constructed early Western by John Ford, featuring a remarkably pure performance from John Wayne. It has just about everything you would expect of a traditional Western; action, drama, romance, and a good bit of comedy thrown in as well. The characters are well realised if archetypical, including the honourable outlaw who finds love, the prostitute with a heart of gold, a scheming bank manager, a drunk doctor, and so on.

    The only thing really holding it…

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  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters

    Godzilla: King of the Monsters

    ★★★

    I'm not sure what it is about Godzilla: King of the Monsters that has caused critics and audiences to treat it as harshly as they have. Blockbuster fatigue, maybe. The script does admittedly sometimes confuse world ending scale for real intrigue. But there's a lot of fun to be had here as a monster movie.

    King of the Monsters has the same shortcomings as its predecessor. Notably that the human story is pretty dull for the most part, despite some…

  • Booksmart

    Booksmart

    ★★★★

    Sometimes a film comes along and sort of blindsides you. It's usually a result of the marketing department not really knowing how to properly advertise something, which I found was the case with Booksmart. The trailers sold it as something akin to a female Superbad, but I found it fell more in line with the tone of something like a Dazed and Confused or Everybody Wants Some!! only with a more feminine touch Richard Linklater doesn't have with his coming…