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  • The Last Emperor

    The Last Emperor

    ★★★★★

    See if this story sounds familiar: A boy is born into royalty and privilege and is the emperor of all that surrounds him, except that there is a stark reality that exists outside his walls. When he gets older, he finally leaves and becomes a playboy. He eventually decides he wants to rule again. He makes a shady deal with a known enemy of his country and basically becomes a puppet ruler who nobody takes seriously as a real leader,…

  • Café Society

    Café Society

    ★★★½

    Hearing Woody Allen's voice for the first time in three movies (seems like longer), you instantly notice it doesn’t quite sound like the same ol’ Woody. And yet even though the narration doesn't work (it’s a little too intrusive and unnecessary), put in the context of this project of watching one Woody Allen movie every week for a year, there is something strangely perfect about hearing that aged, imperfect, weathered voice as the third-person narrator of this film. There's a…

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  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    ★★★★★

    The closest thing you'll get to a spoiler here is that BB-8 sounds nothing like the Spheero toy. Still very cute, though. Okay, there. How's the movie?

    As a film critic at this time of year, I am watching tons of award screeners, many of which are incredibly depressing (even if they're great, they're mostly downers). Watching The Force Awakens yesterday, I felt like I was transported back to 1977, when moviegoers were finally treated to something incredibly fun and…

  • Pee-wee's Big Holiday

    Pee-wee's Big Holiday

    ★★★★

    I was a little skeptical at first. Can the 63-year-old Paul Reubens still work his magic as one of the most child-like, endearing and iconic pop culture figures of all time? Turns out, he can. His voice may be a little more weathered, but he is still the eternal Pee-Wee. The film avoids the mistakes of "Big Top Pee-Wee" and keeps the story populated by characters who truly belong in Pee-Wee's universe and who all gamefully play by the rules. I had a ball.