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  • Muriel's Wedding

    Muriel's Wedding

    ★★★★★

    Whether stumbling through her aimless existence in the dead-end town of Porpoise Spit, Queensland or following her supposed “friends” on a vacation to which she was purposely not invited, Toni Collette’s mercilessly romantic, hopelessly awkward Muriel Heslop just can’t catch a break. Her only solace lies in the dream of someday throwing herself an outlandishly glamorous wedding, these overactive flights of fantasy set to the warm, Swede-pop glow of maximally orchestrated, endlessly positive ABBA tunes. With sincere affection for the…

  • Decalogue VIII.

    Decalogue VIII.

    ★★★★½

    An exploration of the sanctity of truth, VIII takes ethics professor Zofia and Holocaust survivor Elżbieta outside of the familiar Warsaw apartment block to another building with another distinct array of covert, complicated stories, including a poignant past shared between the two women. As we learn that even an edifice can be a witness to our shame and humiliation, the delicate nuance involved in upholding the commandment “thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” expands Kieślowski’s series in…

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  • Amarcord

    Amarcord

    ★★★★★

    Fellini’s last major commercial success, this early-’70s, sublime fantasy/drama might also be the Italian master’s most triumphantly auto-biographical and unapologetically nostalgic effort. Amarcord, a Northern Italian term that translates to “I remember,” employs the teenaged Titta as guide through the uncannily familiar, absurd comedy of everyday life in a small, seaside village. Immersing us in the seasons, births, marriages, and deaths of the caricatural residents of Italy’s Borgo San Giuliano—a community still very much beholden the Fascist zeitgeist of the…

  • Birth

    Birth

    ★★★★

    Moving beyond the trappings of typical paranormality, Jonathan Glazer’s followup to Sexy Beast only builds on the filmmaker’s career-defining resistance to giving audiences what they think they want. Equally unsettling and entertaining, Glazer’s polarizing Birth uses simple elements--a camera angle, a particular cut within a shot--to dig deeper than the film’s visual starkness first suggests, cutting both emotionally and intellectually through subjective character experiences to explore concepts of doubt, faith, denial, and love within the rigid confines of Manhattan’s stuffy,…