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  • The Firemen's Ball

    The Firemen's Ball

    ★★★★

    A laugh-out-loud comedy and scathing satire of dysfunctional government-by-committee, at times almost like a Christopher Guest mockumentary. This was my favorite film I’ve seen so far from the Czechoslovak New Wave. It is more straightforward and enjoyable on a superficial level than the more, well, wild offerings from that movement (like Daisies or Valerie and Her Week of Wonders); however, the absurdist sensibility is still very much in play here.

  • Howl's Moving Castle

    Howl's Moving Castle

    ★★★

    This movie looks amazing and is lots of fun but is also surprisingly muddled and incoherent. After 2 hours, I still felt like I did not understand how the different pieces of this world fit together, or even what the basic motivations of each main character were. The movie ended basically out of nowhere, while I was still waiting for some exposition. Maybe I just missed the boat on this, but Howl’s was a beautiful mess that ranks as my least favorite Miyazaki film I’ve seen and ultimately made me miss the crystalline clarity of his earlier pre-Mononoke work.

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  • Hamilton

    Hamilton

    ★★★★★

    Hamilton reclaims and refashions America’s national mythology more successfully than any other work of art in my lifetime. I enjoy reading the debate and discourse around the play, where I can see strong arguments on several sides. (For today, at least, I think my views on the politics of the play are probably best captured in this Vox piece by Alissa Wilkinson.) I’ve always thought the point doesn’t seem to be glorification of these particular historical men so much as holding…

  • Eyes Wide Shut

    Eyes Wide Shut

    ★★★★★

    Whenever a Kubrick film begins with a normal-seeming situation (like an affluent married couple dressing for a swanky party), it doesn’t take much to guess that some kind of moral abyss is waiting for you and the characters. Thankfully, we have Kubrick to guide us through it. So, we know that the experience may challenge and even shock us, but will also have its share of beautiful images and rich symbolism that rewards the viewer. 

    Eyes Wide Shut really nails…