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  • Zombieland: Double Tap

    Zombieland: Double Tap

    ★★★★

    "Zombieland: Double Tap," Ruben Fleischer's follow-up to 2009's "Zombieland," offers the same flavor of comedy-infused zombie mayhem as Fleischer's original film. The smart, swift, and raucously entertaining sequel finds its predecessor's gang of zombie-outbreak survivors ten years older, wiser, and on the run from evolving undead. The cast and writing are sharp and witty, and Fleischer builds something fully enjoyable.

  • Halloween

    Halloween

    ★★★★

    Heavy, brooding horror that rarely descends into genre-centric histrionics, David Gordon Green's "Halloween" offers a proper follow-up to John Carpenter's 1978 slasher icon. Coming 40 years after Carpenter's original "Halloween," Green's film finds protagonist and antagonist locked in battle decades after their first late-October skirmish. Jamie Lee Curtis turns in an earnest, rich performance as Laurie Strode, and Green works to make the film as much about Strode and her recovery from trauma as it is about a murderous menace. Effectively violent and chilling, while bristling with character-based humanity, the film is a mature and mostly measured genre outing.

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  • Inception

    Inception

    ★★★★★

    "Inception," at its most basic, is two things. It is a heist film dressed in science fiction conventions; and it is a study of a man trying to free himself from a near-suffocating past. "Inception," at its more complex, is a cerebral pop-masterpiece. It is an enthralling combination of thought-provoking, layered story-telling and sumptuous aesthetics enhanced by near-flawless editing, sound design, effects, and musical score. Driven by a pitch-perfect cast and the confident directorial hand of Christopher Nolan, "Inception" is a brilliant and unrivaled piece of filmmaking.

  • Whiplash

    Whiplash

    ★★★★★

    "Whiplash," Damien Chazelle's 107-minute-long ode to mentors, musicians, and motivation, is a taut and mesmerizing piece of filmmaking. A quick-moving and engrossing drama that explores the roles of teacher and learner, parent and child, Chazelle builds a film that brims with energy and emotion, bursts with authentic character beats, and soars with a percussive and narrative brilliance.
    With its powerful performances, crackling direction, and riveting story, "Whiplash" is a truly great piece of work.

    Chazelle's story is built around Miles…