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  • Kwaidan

    Kwaidan

    ★★★★

    Black Hair--*** The weakest of the three stories, partially because it is the least theatrical.

    Lady in the Snow--***** Easily my favorite story. Absolutely gorgeous visuals and a compelling, creepy narrative.

    Hoichi the Earless--**** 1/2 Another gorgeous piece, and I love the story on this one too. The opening battle sequence is haunting and the idea is quite compelling. Perhaps a bit long.

    Cup of Tea--*** 1/2 Somewhat middle of the road. More realistic like the first one, but an interesting idea.

  • Saboteur

    Saboteur

    ★★★★

    Some terrific set pieces, a great proto-Phillip Vandamm villain, and a strong anti-individualist sentiment that would have been verboten a few years later. It's particularly interesting how the outcasts who band together are portrayed as the good side of America, and the wealthy capitalists are the Nazis. There are a few weaknesses that are a product of its pseudo-propaganda status. For one, Cummings is a bit too squeaky clean here for a Hitchcock protagonist (but is probably more appealing for a wartime anti-Nazi film), and the music is positively maudlin.

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  • Gremlins

    Gremlins

    ★★★★★

    I say this without irony: Gremlins is a fantastic Christmas movie. In many ways a Reagan-era response to It's a Wonderful Life, this film explores what happens to those who for whatever reason are unable to have a Merry Christmas, those who fall through the cracks of '80s capitalism. Marketing and consumerism is everywhere in this film, and it is no surprise that the targets of the gremlins: a gadget-filled middle-class home, a bank, a department store, and a movie…

  • Guardians of the Galaxy

    Guardians of the Galaxy

    ★★★★

    Guardians in the Galaxy was as awesome as it was billed; very much a cross between The Fifth Element and The Avengers. Speaking of The Fifth Element though, I agree that the villains are pretty lacking here (Again, Marvel) and that what a movie like this really needed was a Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg. I mean, Lee Pace, you're playing a character called Ronan the Accuser in a movie with a talking raccoon and a dude who gets inside more alien…