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  • Shoplifters

    Shoplifters

    ★★★★★

    2018
    Seen In Theaters

    Before the title card for Hirokazu Kore-eda‘s Shoplifters has even graced the frame of an immaculate Japanese supermarket, we have already fallen in love with two of our principle characters. Warm, quiet notes of piano punctuate the silence between Osamu (Lily Franky) and his son Shota (Kairi Jō) as they prepare to execute their latest shoplifting spree, gesturing quietly to one another with shimmering eyes and devious smirks among the oblivious other patrons. It’s the subconscious…

  • Roma

    Roma

    ★★★★½

    2018
    Seen In Theaters

    The opening credits of Alfonso Cuarón‘s Roma unfold over an extended shot staring firmly down at a tiled patio floor. We hear the sounds of the morning- dogs barking, birds chirping, tile being scrubbed. After about a minute, a tide of soapy water reaches our tight field of vision, revealing in its foamy reflection the bright sky of day. The credits continue for several minutes more over this new canvas, as a commercial jetliner swims across…

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  • Skate Kitchen

    Skate Kitchen

    ★★★½

    2018

    If nothing else, Skate Kitchen serves as irrefutable proof that we desperately need more female-centric coming of age films.

    The whole skate posse is terrific (especially Rachelle Vinberg as the relatably introverted lead), and Jaden Smith is actually tolerable for once, even if his entire presence is superfluous.

    Serves as a nice double feature with Minding the Gap.

  • Minding the Gap

    Minding the Gap

    ★★★★

    2018

    A pretty astounding debut from Bing Liu. It's breathtaking how astutely he's able to capture the lives of him and his friends in a way that feels sweet, genuine, and hopeful despite the present bleakness enveloping their futures.

    All in all a remarkable piece of documentary filmmaking.

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  • Blade Runner 2049

    Blade Runner 2049

    ★★★★½

    2017

    So frustratingly close to becoming a modern masterpiece, held back literally by a handful of clumsy scenes of exposition.

    Roger Deakins is a treasure. The first shot of Ryan Gosling's silhouette against the harsh orange of poisoned Las Vegas air is *perfect*. Its jaw-dropping beauty caught me off guard even on a second watch.

  • Taxi Driver

    Taxi Driver

    ★★★★½

    There's a moment in Taxi Driver when Travis Bickle is balancing his TV set with his foot. There's a light tension in the air as it oscillates back and forth between the force of his foot and gravity. Ultimately it falls over, and its assured destruction is perhaps the film's most obvious parallel to Travis's own downward spiral. Teetering on the edge in his own mental illness and isolation, Travis is very much that TV set.