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  • Halloween

    Halloween

    ★★★★★

    I’ve probably watched this film half a dozen times since I was 11 years old, keenly aware of its significance as the progenitor of the slasher film - a subgenre of horror that we don’t really associate with the supernatural.  But this time around, I couldn’t help but notice the laundry room door that closes and locks itself (to lock the victim in), the cabinet door that opens itself (to reveal a body), etc.

  • The Hate U Give

    The Hate U Give

    ★★

    #BlackLivesMatter: The After-School Special

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  • Dear Basketball

    Dear Basketball

    ½

    The narration has all of the nuance and poetry that you’d expect from a recently retired pro basketball player whose ego just can’t be stopped and who desperately wants the #metoo world to forget all the rape-y stuff.  The animation by Glen Keane (Tangled (2010)) was positively groundbreaking when it appeared in an A-Ha video over three decades ago.  And so this six-minute commercial for the post-NBA Kobe Bryant brand is nothing less (or more) than a triumph for his publicity team and a perfect reminder of what the Oscars (and Hollywood) are really all about.

    Hoop Dreams, anyone?

  • La La Land

    La La Land

    ★★★★½

    It's 2016. Among our prime A-listers, we don't have a Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers; hell, we don't even have an Olivia Newton-John or John Travolta. What we do have is Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling (Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011), Gangster Squad (2013)) and a talented director (Damien Chazelle) who has the audacity to create an original musical in 2016 (as opposed to adapting/stewarding a Broadway franchise). With Chazelle's invocation of nostalgia for a once dominant cinematic form and generous…