Without a strong story to dance with, all of those fabulous tracking shots, lovingly uncanny art direction details and flickering shafts of light can make The Innkeepers feel more like an exercise in craft than a scary movie.
It wouldn't go so far as to say it feels like you went through Jeremy's ordeal for nothing, but I did wish I had come to know as much about Dorff's character as I did about the size and shape of his nostrils.
The main and most enjoyable difference between the second installment and the first is the greater opportunity the latter provides Cassel to sketch some dimension into the coded mythologizing of his character.
More helpful is Ice Cube's endearing performance as an aged sparring partner of Leon Spinks and Muhammad Ali who provides cover and advice for Kevin as he tries to hold onto both his wits and the ticket.
Because the film is overproduced and unconvincing in telegraphing its several gestural themes, its excellent lead performances get lost in what feels like an aesthetic tug of war over what a movie should be, and do.
A companion film to "Days of Glory," Rachid Bouchareb's 2006 feature about Algerian soldiers who fought for France in World War II, Outside the Law is another historical drama with a heavy heart and a knack for genre.
Rao's ultimate achievements - including a balanced, doleful tone and moments of city symphony elegance - are undercut by the arrangement of her characters into narrative castes that cross paths but can't quite connect.
You'll have to hang on to something to get through the hairpins in The Perfect Host, a chamber piece hostage thriller black comedy undone less by its twists than by the stretches of bad road between them.
Embedded in The Lie is a sharp look at the moral limbo of a complacent life, the self-defeat of committing by halves, the self-interest of false equivalencies - but only the shallowest attempts are made to chip its themes out.