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  • Wonder Wheel

    Wonder Wheel

    ★★★★

    I hesitate to refer to Wonder Wheel as an amalgam of Allen’s prior several films, as that might detract from its own originality and the uniqueness of the ideas that it explores, but something from each of them can be found in the latest, ranging from the Ninotchka-esque cinematographic flourishes in Café Society to To Rome with Love’s brilliant use of a diegetic character as semi-omniscient narrator. Justin Timberlake’s Mickey Rubin, an aspiring playwright, introduces the film to the audience…

  • The Small Town

    The Small Town

    ★★½

    Kasaba feels like something of a student film, some of the shots of animals or other nature-related scenes feeling a bit forced and intellectually (rather than emotionally) driven. Some of the conversations do a decent job capturing the claustrophobia of growing up in a small town and realizing that the lives one sees around him are the extent of what is within his reach, but there is little about the film that interested me or that felt particularly original. Compare…

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  • Birdman

    Birdman

    ★★★★½

    Visually, Birdman is a beautiful film whose appearance as one unbroken take allows us to understand the complexity of life behind the Broadway stage and the fast-paced nature of the world of theatre. It is this world where we find Riggan Thomson, a washed-up actor who is about to star in a stage adaptation of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love that he both wrote and directed but who struggles with his own descent from fame. Despite…

  • Foxcatcher

    Foxcatcher

    ★★★★★

    This is the best 2014 film I have seen so far. For the entire 2 hours and 14 minutes of its runtime, Foxcatcher is riveting and awe-inspiring. This is my prediction to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and as of now, it is my hope that I guess right.

    Bennett Miller directed this film with the kind of restraint so rare in modern Hollywood films. The atmosphere is dark and brooding, with an excellent muted color palette and…