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  • Edge of Winter

    Edge of Winter

    ★★½

    A dour tale of a man losing his children, Rob Connolly's "Edge of Winter" is stark, sad drama as cold as its setting. Starring Joel Kinnaman as a man facing the reality of his sons leaving the country with their mother, the film observes the man as he slips into a morass of violence and desperation. The film boasts solid performances and an icy tone, but the weight of the story collapses with little redemptive lightness. "The Edge of Winter" is watchable, but its pulpy oppressiveness does nothing to make it stand out.

  • Streets of Fire

    Streets of Fire

    ★★★★★

    Imagine a screenplay whose story beats seem distilled from song lyrics from the dawn of rock and roll. Imagine characters whose humanity is defined by cinematic archetypes and broad strokes of genre suggestion. Imagine a landscape that exists out of time and place but rings as familiar as a faded album cover.

    Now, imagine those elements unfolding in a triumphant mix where a wooden lead performance is easily forgiven by the audacity of cinema; and imagine them taking flight under…

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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…