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  • Miracle

    Miracle

    ★★★½

    Gavin O'Connor's "Miracle," recounting the unexpected rise of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team, is a rousing sports drama that follows, to the letter, the rousing-sports-drama formula. Gruff coach puts together rag-tag team. Rag-team learns to play well together. Rag-tag team bucks the odds and...and, well, the rest is history. O'Connor puts that history on display with era-rich detail, crisp performances, and impactful fervor. Thanks to both the history and the formula, "Miracle" works.

  • Incredibles 2

    Incredibles 2

    ★★★★

    A fitting follow-up to one of PIXAR's best films, Brad Bird's "Incredibles 2" exudes the same high speed, family-friendly swagger of its predecessor while presenting a fresh, exciting adventure. The Parr family dons its super suits again in this animated action sequel that supports a smart story and colorful characters. A technical marvel featuring sleek, stylish designs, a popping score, and theme park-ready set-pieces, the work is eye-catching and electric. It is a endearing and enjoyable experience.

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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…