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  • The Hitcher

    The Hitcher

    ★★★★½

    I still have vague memories of the remake, so I was totally unprepared for the original Hitcher to be one of the best action-horror movies I've ever watched. It's on par with The Terminator, which is fitting since this film is like Duel infused with the slasher movie dread of Cameron's classic. The Hitcher is approximately 90 minutes of unrelenting suspense, dread, and thrills, propelled by an unforgettable villain.

    The movie transforms a simple premise into a harrowing nightmare unfolding…

  • The Vanishing

    The Vanishing

    ★★★★★

    A constant simmer of suspense marinates every minute of The Vanishing. The title alone makes even the early scenes of bittersweet romance feel tense. Those minutes are crucial though. The relationship between Rex and Saskia seems genuine and realistic; there’s anger, frustration, mistakes, but also playful fun, concern, and care. Saskia leaves a lasting impression even in her absence. 

    It would have been so easy for this movie to be something more cliched. How many times have we seen psychological…

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  • Rambo: First Blood Part II

    Rambo: First Blood Part II

    ★★★½

    First Blood was a restrained and exhilarating action drama, that used its accessible plot to explore the psychological plight of veterans. First Blood Part 2 is the id of ‘80s America yearning for cinematic vengeance. “Do we get to win this time?” is a line stated in the first five minutes, and that sentiment underlines all the action and violence.

    While the antagonists in the first movie had a semblance of nuance, this movie throws cartoonishly evil Russians into the…

  • First Blood

    First Blood

    ★★★★

    Watching the first Rambo movie in a vacuum, it’s hard to imagine that the name would become synonymous with over-the-top bombastic ‘80s action. Because First Blood is decidedly not that kind of movie; it’s anti-war commentary wrapped in a chase thriller. Rather than the ultra-macho superhero of later films, John Rambo is presented in a tragic sympathetic light, a man suffering from PTSD and survivor’s guilt. The stories of his Vietnam exploits provide context for his abilities but also contrast…

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  • Apocalypse Now

    Apocalypse Now

    ★★★★★

    I don’t know if I’d classify Apocalypse Now as a war movie. It certainly takes place during a war, and comments on war. But the movie’s plot and pace are so drastically different from the likes of Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, or other films like Saving Private Ryan.

    By transplanting Heart of Darkness to the suffocating jungles of Vietnam, Apocalypse Now turns the warzone into an increasingly nightmarish purgatory. Every pitstop along the river is a further descent into hell,…

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    ★★★★★

    The ultimate love letter to the character. A well-done story that nails an exceptional balance of heart, humor, and action. An unparalleled visual feast.

    Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is many things, but as a whole, the movie embraces the character’s roots in a way none of the adaptations, film or show, have before. It marries the visual language of comics and the dynamic movement of animation more effectively than any direct recreation of panels ever could. It respects both the…