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  • Taken

    Taken

    ★½

    30/100

    Used to like this when I was younger and wanted to revisit for nostalgia's sake, but I recognize now how creatively bankrupt this is. Its focus on serious, gritty issues of kidnapping and sex trafficking rids the film of any fun or enjoyment, offering zero surface entertainment in its dull, lifeless action scenes and sequences. The formal ineptitude, dizzying editing, one-dimensional characters, and poor dialogue all contribute to a labored, formulaic story that's too boring, stupid, and cliched to have any fun with.

  • Midsommar

    Midsommar

    ★★½

    50/100

    Terrific world building, special effects, cinematic sequences that indicate that Aster has a masterpiece in store one day. But Midsommar is a frustrating experience, its narrative as disjointed and ultimately detached from exploring its characters' inner psychology as Hereditary was. It prioritizes detailed world building and a compelling sense of atmosphere and mood at the expense of investing genuine depth or empathy in its characters. There's no real catharsis here, just a captivating sense of style that covers up…

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  • In Another Country

    In Another Country

    ★★★★

    The poster for this movie is fucking gorgeous.

  • A Separation

    A Separation

    ★★★★★

    A Masterpiece. Every single scene is dripping with emotional, moral, and human complexity, and Farhadi utilizes the cinematic form to complement the story rather than carry it, mixing together beautiful, vibrant visuals with fluid, elegant camera work. A "controlled dramatic explosion" is right.