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  • Aliens

    Aliens

    ★★★★★

    One of the best films of both its genre and its decade, James Cameron's "Aliens" is a horror-tinged science fiction triumph for the ages. Bristling with character-based personality, shadow-soaked action, and iconic effects, Cameron's sequel to Ridley Scott's 1979 landmark, "Alien," expands the canvas of the original while mirroring that film's quality.

    Decades after Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley jettisoned the beast that killed the crew of her vessel, the Nostromo, into the cold void of space, she is pressed into…

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  • Gnome Alone

    Gnome Alone

    ★★½

    A forgettable, family-friendly fantasy about a girl and her gnomes, "Gnome Alone" combines coming-of-age beats and imaginary creatures to mediocre effect. None of it is bad: the animation is polished, the designs are solid, and the voice-talent is fitting. It is just that none of its stands out: the story is built on the most recognizable of recognizable plot points, and the energy is exactly what an audience would expect from a streaming animation entry with a solid budget. All of it lands squarely in the middle of both the quality and enjoyment spectrum.

  • The Indian in the Cupboard

    The Indian in the Cupboard

    ★★★

    A gentle-natured fantasy about friendship and understanding that even the smallest actions can carry with them outsized ramifications, Frank Oz' "The Indian in the Cupboard" is a light and appealing piece of work. Revolving around young Omri, the film finds the nine-year-old learning that he can bring his toys to life and that with this magical act can come heavy consequences. The story mixes adventure with genuine, youthful emotion, and Oz assembles something fun and full of heart that is never overwhelmed by special effects bluster. The results are a warm, mild, and positive all-ages 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…