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  • Into the Woods

    Into the Woods

    ★★

    Every now and again I wrestle with Howard Ashman's assessment of whether the musical can work in live action films. Though Ashman was firmly against it, there seem to be a solid amount of exceptions to his statements: Singing in the Rain, Moulin Rouge, Once, Meet Me in St. Louis, the Muppet Movie (only slightly kidding about that one).

    Into the Woods reminds me that Ashman was mostly correct.

    Completely atonal and with a screenplay that lacks any of the…

  • Isle of Dogs

    Isle of Dogs

    ★★★★

    A display of both everything that makes Wes Anderson one of my favorite directors as well as displaying his limits as a storyteller, Isle of Dogs doesn't detract from Anderson's solid track record. Unfortunately, it doesn't add much to his work either.

    The positives remain: Anderson was born to work in stop-motion animation and his direction, especially his framing of an image, remains flawless. And here, he creates a central character relationship that remains one of his best written. Atari…

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  • Leningrad Cowboys Go America

    Leningrad Cowboys Go America

    ★★★★★

    A very different kind of film compared to the other I watched today, Leningrad Cowboys is simply perfectly tuned to my tastes. These pompadour clad Polka Country Rockers instantly wormed their way into my list of favorite films. From the running gags to the music to the genuinely great imagery that Aki Kaurismäki creates, Leningrad Cowboys Go America simply taps everything I want from a comedic film and more.

  • Shoplifters

    Shoplifters

    ★★★★★

    I don't think it is often that a movie is as sobering and joyful as Shoplifters is. This is the first film I have seen by Hirokazu Koreeda, yet his ability to create empathy is enough to make him a favorite director of mine. Whether it is one of many cheap dinners around a table in a cramped house, sex between a deeply loving couple on a rainy afternoon, or even watching two children carry out the simplest of thefts, the movie finds beauty and heart in all of the interactions it places in front of the camera.