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  • Snowpiercer

    Snowpiercer

    ★★★★½

    "Know your place. Keep your place. Be a shoe."

    I'm not going to lie, when Snowpiercer started, I got a little nervous. Bong Joon-ho sort of dives right into the world with little buildup (which in itself isn't a bad thing!) and the fact that the image was pretty dark and grimy, and the story is aggressively unpleasant, I wasn't sure if I would actually like it.

    Fortunately, once the party started working their way to the front of the…

  • Miss Congeniality

    Miss Congeniality

    ★★★★

    It might seem like an easy comparison to make, but Miss Congeniality truly would make for a great companion piece with Legally Blonde. They both sit nicely on that branch of rom-com with classic, star-making turns from their movie star leads -- Sandra Bullock is quintessentially Sandra Bullock here, and it's terrific, even if I didn't know she would be doing a Joy Behar impression the whole time -- and both work pretty well as modern feminist texts. They're not…

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  • The Departed

    The Departed

    ★★★★★

    When The Departed came out, why was it cool to pretend that it was a minor Scorsese effort?

    It's a fascinating film in the Scorsese canon for a number of reasons. It's got everything that makes a great one (bravura performances, his trademark kinetic direction, the frantic Thelma Schoonmaker editing, an impeccable soundtrack, top-notch writing littered with generous profanity), but with its fundamentally classical plot structure, it feels like it is of a different cloth than Goodfellas or Raging Bull…

  • Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler

    ★★★★★

    Dan Gilroy's remarkably assured directorial debut is a knockout in virtually every way. Jake Gyllenhaal carries the film with tremendous verve, embodying a nightmarish character who is something of a cross between Christian Bale in American Psycho and Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver. He spews the wonderful writing with incredible ease and terror. There are only two other characters of note: Rene Russo, thoroughly mediocre; and Riz Ahmed, simply wonderful. Whereas Russo consistently feels stilted and unnatural, Ahmed always…