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  • Third Person

    Third Person

    ★★½

    A soggy melodrama told in narratively disparate segments, Paul Haggis' "Third Person" compels but lacks staying power. Starring Liam Neeson as a perhaps-past-his-prime novelist, Haggis' film sees those segments finding their players in various modes of love and loss. Each segments is watchable and capably imagined, visualized with a crisp aesthetic. Though it all packs an emotional punch, that punch is not enough to make the work, as a whole, stand out.

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    ★★★★

    Proving there are new stories to tell and new ways to tell them even when those stories involve well established characters in well established genres, "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" is an electric jolt of a superhero film. Animated in a style that weds traditional cel animation, 3D-animated form, and comic book art, the action film finds a cabal of Spider-beings from various universes brought together to save one. The narrative pops, the characters intrigue, and the aesthetic rivets. The film is a smart and completely enjoyable piece of work that may go down as 2018's best animated 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…