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  • A Ghost Story

    A Ghost Story

    ★★★★★

    This is more of a journal entry or blog than a review of the film, so bear with me.

    I have just come back from seeing this film a second time and it was a completely new experience, mainly because things have changed for me quite a bit since I first saw the film at the closing night of the Chicago Critics Film Festival (of which I am a curator) two months ago. That night, my life would change.

    When…

  • City of Ghosts

    City of Ghosts

    ★★★★½

    Matthew Heineman ("Cartel Land") has become one of our most essential documentary filmmakers and his kind of fearlessness is needed right now. After giving a first-hand account of the violence at the center of the drug trade on the U.S./Mexico border, it's very fitting that he would eventually find his way to Syria, documenting the rise of ISIS as well as the rise of RBSS (Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently), a group of underground journalists who risk their lives to…

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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.