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  • Disobedience

    Disobedience

    ★★★

    As forbidden love stories go, Sebastian Lelio's "Disobedience" offers little new to the canon. At its well-worn core, the drama revolves around two lovers disallowed by societal machinations to be together. "Disobedience" paints that core with conservative religion, family politics, and homosexuality, however, and these elements give the film its narrative gimmick. All of this is elevated by its lead performances that add recognizable passion to the dour piece of work.

  • Christopher Robin

    Christopher Robin

    ★★★½

    Sweet, sometimes magical, but just a little routine, "Christopher Robin" is lovely work that never seems to fully embrace what makes it special. The story of a grown-up Christopher Robin whose hundred-acre wood friends reappear in his life when he needs them most, Marc Forster's film follows well-worn narrative paths. The production charms with its human leads and animated costars, and Forster balances emotion with a burnished period aesthetic and family-friendly verve. Never overwhelming and consistently satisfying, the solid fantasy makes for an enjoyable film.

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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…