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  • BlacKkKlansman

    BlacKkKlansman

    ★★½

    Spike Lee, thy preaching has reached thy congregation, and just in time to counter a whopping dozens of white supremacists gathering in Washington D.C.

    I would submit that Dave Chappelle’s 5-minute riff on this particular narrative is far more potent, in its simple sublimity, than this 135-minute lecture.  Does anybody remember laughter?

  • The Captain

    The Captain

    ★★★

    Having gone in blind, I was genuinely shocked by the this-is-a-true-story text that came up at the end of the film, which is set in Nazi Germany toward the end of WWII sans the Jews (read: refreshingly non-topical).  Amidst preachy fare occupying the arthouse at the moment, The Captain offers a sober reminder about the nature of humanity that certainly warrants contemplation: there can be a fine line between surviving in desperation and the exertion of cruelty.

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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…