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  • Creed

    Creed

    ★★★★★

    Bumped it up to the full 5 stars this time.

    An absolutely masterful examination of RACE, primarily in the subversion of the original film's "great white hope" narrative; MASCULINITY, specifically in its association with violence; IDENTITY, particularly in the significance of names; FAMILY, especially in terms of constructed bonds; and LEGACY, essentially in its relationship to death. And what's even more brilliant is not just the exploration of each of these themes individually, but how all of them overlap and…

  • Take Shelter

    Take Shelter

    ★★★★★

    Truly a masterpiece for anyone's turn-of-the-21st-Century time capsule. It's so perfect, I just want to put it in a box for people 100 years from now to open and watch it and know exactly how it felt to live in this time -- as a meticulous record of contemporary anxieties (healthcare, debt, unemployment, climate change), a chilling depiction of mental illness, a powerful deconstruction of traditional masculinity, and a touching portrait of a deeply loving marriage.

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  • Almost Famous

    Almost Famous

    ★★★★★

    "So, Russell, what do you love about music?"
    "To begin with, ... everything."

    The absolute perfect blend of fannish romanticism and journalistic realism, as writer/director Cameron Crowe mines his own life experiences as a teenage writer for Rolling Stone to create a rich portrait of the 1970s rock scene, as well as a love letter to all of the amazing women who have influenced his life -- his mother, his sister, the band-aids, and his (now ex-)wife, Nancy Wilson of Heart.

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    ★★★★★

    MILES MORALES LITERALLY SAVED 2018 CINEMA.

    Honestly, I was afraid I would go the entire year without giving a single 5-star rating. Turns out I was waiting for this. Rousing iconography, stunning animation, thrilling action, hilarious comedy, enormous heart -- truly everything I could want in a film.

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  • 28 Days Later

    28 Days Later

    ★★★★

    Hoop-Tober 2.0 Film #3

    "I promised them women."

    Quite possibly the most terrifying sentence I have ever heard in a film. And that is why I love horror movies like this -- because the true horror lies not in what the monsters do to people, but in what normal people choose to do to each other. After all, the infection here is just that: a disease. It has no agency, no motive. But people do. They choose to deceive, to…

  • Deadpool

    Deadpool

    ★½

    Yes, it's violent and vulgar, but it's not nearly as clever or revolutionary as it seems to think it is. I think if a movie wants to subvert tropes, it should actually, you know, SUBVERT them, not just call attention to its own use of them ('Look, we've got a hot damsel in distress!' 'Look, we've got a generic British villain!' 'Look, we've got a superhero landing!' etc). Also, I guess I just don't find dick jokes as funny as everyone else does apparently.