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  • Carol

    Carol

    ★★★★★

    A lot has changed in the world since 2015 but Carol still remains the best American movie of this century. Flung from space and into rarified air.

    In a 1950s department store, Therese (Rooney Mara) is stuck working behind the doll counter. Though it’s not in her section, she daily sets up the Christmas train set in a different area of the store before it opens, and then resigns herself to her post. In a sea of housewives frantically shopping…

  • If Beale Street Could Talk

    If Beale Street Could Talk

    ★★★★★

    Barry Jenkins' film opens with the same introduction that James Baldwin's novel starts with, describing Beale Street in New Orleans as something identifiable and inside every African American; the film (and novel, obviously) is set in 1960s Harlem and though it seemed a little too novelistic to include that title card at the start, I am glad that Jenkins did. After numerous scenes involving hand placement of loved ones and strangers, sometimes wanted, often unwanted, we found ourselves in Puerto…

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  • Phoenix

    Phoenix

    ★★★★

    Phoenix turns Eyes without a Face into a post-WWII film noir, focusing on a woman who survived the Holocaust but needed facial reconstruction surgery and when she returns to Berlin she rediscovers the husband who betrayed her to the Nazis but doesn't recognize her in her new state. Though she saved his hide before her husband attempts to use the new woman who "somewhat resembles" his wife to claim her survivor's money by having "Esther" play Nelly. So much of…

  • Donkey Skin

    Donkey Skin

    ★★★★

    Plum delightful. Playtime elegance daintily skirting the icky beginning. So matter of fact with its magic that it’s somehow believable in every moment. Fun times hiding from the patriarchy!

    [Poets from the future is my favorite fairy tale addition.]

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  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    Bohemian Rhapsody

    ★½

    When rock critics hear Queen’s impossible hit single “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the first time, Bryan Singer’s film (of the same name) flashes a bunch of dismissive critical quotes. One quote outstretches all the others and ends the sequence, that’s “perfectly adequate” and it perfectly describes the adequate rock biopic of aha musical moments, backstage drama, and 15-year reflections from backstage framing. But the problem is that where it isn't perfectly adequate and vanilla it's actually painfully safe and somewhat erasing,…

  • Unsane

    Unsane

    ★★★★

    A few personal things: In college, I overdosed on some drugs and while I was in the post charcoal haze, I was questioned about my emotional well-being and I remember drifting in and out of consciousness, answering the "do you have suicidal thoughts" question with an affirmative because, if we're all being honest, we all have. I had to sign some paperwork and by the time I fully came out of my adolescent post-drug near coma I asked when I…