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  • The Kindergarten Teacher

    The Kindergarten Teacher

    ★★★★

    The Kindergarten Teacher doesn't always work, but Maggie Gyllenhaal's performance certainly does. I admire what the film is trying to say about creativity, the lack of it, and how our culture tends to squelch it once we go beyond the age of six or seven. Gyllenhaal's character Lisa is understandably frustrated with this situation as well as the state of her family, especially her teenage children. Gyllenhaal's range and restraint are tremendous. She deserves an Oscar nomination for this film. Whether she'll receive it for a mostly unlikeable character in a movie few people have seen is another matter.

  • Hold the Dark

    Hold the Dark

    ★★★★

    Alaska, the setting of Jeremy Saulnier’s latest film Hold the Dark, is the least visited state in America. Even if we’ve never been to Brooklyn, Virginia, or Oregon (the settings of Saulnier’s previous films Murder Party (2007), Blue Ruin (2013), and Green Room (2015), respectively), we probably know enough about them to serve as a point of entry for those stories. Alaska, however, remains an open question for many Americans. Even those who have visited the state probably stopped in…

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  • The Narrow Margin

    The Narrow Margin

    ★★★★★

    If you’re a film noir lover and want to convert others, The Narrow Margin may just be the best movie to give them. It contains several noir components, but is also a fine thriller in its own right. LAPD Detective Walter Brown (Charles McGraw) and his partner are assigned to travel to Chicago to escort a mob boss’s widow (Marie Windsor) to appear before a Los Angeles grand jury. Only some people in the criminal underworld aren’t very excited about…

  • Vertigo

    Vertigo

    ★★★★★

    I will never, ever stop loving this movie AND being devastated by it.