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  • No Way Out

    No Way Out

    Like Jean-Pierre Melville's famous work, this has a combo of sombre/ contemplative drama, themes of loyalty in the less-than-honorable criminal world and bursts of artfully stylized action. It also borrows Melville's leading man, Delon, to impressive effect. His characterization gives him a good vehicle for his iconic, minimalist acting style and Conte provides a solid counterpoint as capo who is pragmatic but bristles at the fickle nature of his fellow bosses. There's plenty of thrillingly staged car chases and cat-and-mouse…

  • Rome, the other face of violence

    Rome, the other face of violence

    This is a really strong deep-cut in the world of poliziotteschi. It's got an ambitious plot that mixes a POLICE STORY-style procedural and a DEATH WISH/STREET LAW-style vigilante plot hook in with the usual Italian crime movie elements (warning: it also throws in a gratuitous rape scene that will alienate some viewers). There's one plot reveal that any fan who knows the genre will probably guess as soon as the character involved is introduced but even that thread plays out…

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  • Mausoleum

    Mausoleum

    This is exactly the kind of handcrafted, developed-outside-the-studio-system nonsense that would never see the projector light of a theater today. The pacing is ragged, the ramshackle plot is so logic-free that it veers into surrealism and there are flat-out weird inclusions like a "day's work" montage for a gardener character and guest star LaWanda Page as a comic relief maid. On the other hand, you've got a barrage of fun, budget-priced transformation makeup FX, a willingness to be mean and…

  • The Favourite

    The Favourite

    Some critics are trying to pass this off as a lighter effort from Lanthimos but don't be fooled. The laughs just provide a temporary distraction as he dissects humanity with a scalpel sans anesthetic, getting darker and crueler as he goes along before capping things with a staggeringly bleak ending. The result is a poison-pen letter to caste systems and the strivers that fuel them, suggesting we are all the architects of our own demise in such a system and…