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"Worth cutting into to see what's inside."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "I expect a bit too much precision and consistency from horror movies in the best of circumstances, preferring that every element pull in the same direction, at least symbolically, even when I know that unpredictability and confusion is part of what makes them scary. Making a film about an autopsy, right from the very title, is only going to encourage that, leading me to nitpick "The Autopsy of Jane Doe" while the credits rolled. And though there certainly are things that could hang together better, it would be a mistake to focus on them at the expense of an exceptionally tense, intriguing, and well-executed thriller." (more)
"Another Kore-eda family under intriguing strain."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "There's a typhoon in Hirokazu Kore-eda's "After the Storm", but it arrives late, too late to be the complete inspiration for the film's English language title (the original Japanese, "Umi yori mo mada fukaku", translates to "Even Deeper than the Sea"). Whoever came up with it was onto something, though; despite the understated, observational bent of Kore-eda's films, there is implied turmoil in these characters' pasts that makes how they tackle the present worth watching." (more)
"Light satire with something stronger possibly hidden beneath."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "A couple days after seeing it, "The Brand New Testament" seems a bit more clever in its satire than it did in the moment, when its loose storytelling can make it seem to have only the vaguest idea where it wants to go with its critique of religion. It takes a moment or three to realize that chaos and lack of direction are part of the point, although filmmaker Jaco Van Dormael’s fondness for the weird doesn’t always translate into the dry, absurdist wit it’s going for." (more)
"Earns the supernatural like few horror movies do."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT MONSTER FEST 2016: Tales of the supernatural naturally tend to rely on a lot of hand-waving when it comes to details, both because their audiences often kind of want things to be able to come out of nowhere and because more detail will inevitably bump up against the audience's basic suspension of disbelief, because this stuff isn't real and each bit of explanation is a potential spot where the viewer no longer buys it. It's especially tricky when the movie needs an expert who can't really show his or her expertise beyond results, at least most of the time. That "A Dark Song" attempts to buck that trend, building a whole movie around the process and logic of working with the supernatural, would make it interesting even if it wasn't also a tense drama." (more)

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