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  • Mission: Impossible

    Mission: Impossible

    ★★★★½

    Ranked — Brian De Palma

    The movie that kicked off my favorite franchise has somehow eluded me until now. Sure, I knew about the Langley heist and the helicopter's dance with the train, but I hadn't seen this entire breezy gem in full. Boy oh boy, does it deliver.

    It's incredible how swiftly Mission: Impossible set the entire template for this string of Cruise-led action movies. The double crosses, operatic set pieces, and face rips are all teed up here…

  • The Dead Don't Die

    The Dead Don't Die

    ★★½

    Ranked — 2019
    Theater Visits — 2019

    Very interesting, very specific, and somehow very dull. This is my first Jarmusch flick so maybe I'm just missing something but uh, this was strange. There's a bizarre mishmash of meta and political commentary wrapped up in a clunky zombie tale that doesn't ever seem to amount to anything intentional. I don't mind a movie going out on a limb—those are actually the things I love most—but it's tough when it drags this much.

    That being said, long live Adam Driver.

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  • Game Night

    Game Night

    ★★★½

    Game Night is a lot better than it needs to be. There’s definitely a much dumber and clunkier version of this movie that John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein avoid with fairly nimble direction and a surprisingly well-rounded cast (the world can always use more Kyle Chandler). Three cheers for mainstream action comedies!!

  • In a Lonely Place

    In a Lonely Place

    ★★★★

    Challenge — Criterion Collection
    Ranked — Criterion Collection

    "One day I'll surprise you and write something good."

    The American film-noirs of the 40s and 50s have always struck me as the films that cut through the most from that era; they still feel dated (in a good way) but the best of them also seemed way ahead of their time. Key example: In a Lonely Place. The movie's views on women and domestic violence are definitely complicated, but the attempt…