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  • Joker

    Joker

    ★★★★

    Yes, it is a more dangerous film than we want in theaters, but only because it is a more reflective mirror than we tend to bargain for in a cinematic escape. Funny how the more damning a film is of society, the more damning society will be of it.

    Joker triumphs in so many ways, but my biggest criticism is of a fatal flaw -- the more realistic and essential this character is portrayed, the more the DC universe is distracting baggage.

  • American Factory

    American Factory

    ★★★½

    An illuminating look inside unionization as it germinates, combined with a raw cultural study of Chinese vs. American work.

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  • Ad Astra

    Ad Astra

    ★★★★½

    Definitely not "just another space movie" -- this one stands out as a father-son Malick-y drama-in-space, but also delivers novel and beautiful sci-fi concepts in every scene. Brad Pitt is phenomenal -- the space between his eyes and his cheekbones deserves an Oscar nomination. On the whole I'd say the metaphor of the story is a bit too sparse and literal to push this above mindbenders or thrillers like Interstellar and Gravity, but this is one of the few fully realized artistic visions of the year.