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  • Baby Driver

    Baby Driver

    ★★★★

    “You in?” “I’m in, Baby.”

    For the pop culture obsessive, every thought, every conversation, every interaction is freighted with meaning. The music, books, films, and television we love become the prism through which we view the universe. A group of umbrellas on a rainy day brings to mind a hapless brigade of nannies in Mary Poppins or a gifted assassin’s divertissement in Foreign Correspondent or a lovelorn Catherine Deneuve in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. A bus ride recalls the ambiguous…

  • The Driver

    The Driver

    ★★★½

    “You can do better than that.” “I don’t have to.”

    The New Hollywood, that glorious time from the late 1960s until the one-two punch of Heaven’s Gate and One from the Heart, produced some of American cinema’s finest output. Narrative norms were upended, content restrictions were cast aside, the pomp and glamour of the studio system were replaced with grit and darkness. That’s the prevailing story, anyway—and there’s a lot of truth to it. But as with any prevailing story,…

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  • Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler

    ★★★★

    “On TV it looks so real.”

    The chonmage was a traditional Japanese male hairstyle, usually associated with the samurai of the Edo period. Consisting of long hair oiled and tied into a topknot (commonly with the top of the head shaved), it is the formal name of what might colloquially be called the “samurai bun.” While it began as a practical device—the knot was used to hold the samurai’s helmet in place—it eventually became a status symbol in Japanese culture,…

  • Se7en

    Se7en

    ★★★★½

    Part of Hoop-Tober

    “Anyone who spends a significant amount of time with me finds me disagreeable.”

    Gluttony

    He has taken on too much. Det. David Mills (Brad Pitt), deliberately uprooting his wife, Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow), from upstate and dragging her to this lurid hellhole, all out of a naïve desire to save the world. So much ambition, he nearly chokes on it. So much chatter, he sucks all the air from the room.

    Det. William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) long ago…