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  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    ★★★★★

    I love this movie so much. It features some of the best characters of any Star Wars film, the most interesting and beautiful locations, wonderful costumes. In just one movie, Rogue One introduces a bunch of characters, hints at just enough of their backstories, and then takes each of them to a very different place before their end. The prequels couldn't do any of this in three movies, and the 7-9 trilogy doesn't seem to be doing much better.

    I…

  • It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

    It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

    ★★★★

    Every time I watch this, I marvel at what an impression it made on me as a kid, because it now seems so lite and inconsequential. Yet it is a strong memory from my growing-up years.

    But as lite as it is, this time I was surprisingly affected by Linus's simple, idealistic faith. I resonate with his desperation to make at least this one little part of the world perfect and "sincere." How often I've wished that, too--not that I…

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  • U2: 360 Degrees at the Rose Bowl

    U2: 360 Degrees at the Rose Bowl

    ★★★★

    The 360° tour was probably the peak of U2 (though I regard Songs of Experience as one of their finest albums). Watching this video last night, we were amazed to see just how energetic Bono was as he neared 50. Seeing him running around the circle of the stage, and hearing his falsetto singing that has since mostly disappeared, made me think, "It's probably not going to be like that ever again." So much about this tour feels like the…

  • The Sound of Music

    The Sound of Music

    ★★★★

    The last time we watched this, I really didn't care for it. But this time, though I began it with some dread (in a good-natured way--I like that my kids wanted to watch it again), I actually quite liked it. I've been watching some YouTube videos about cinematography, and so watching The Sound of Music I really noticed the extreme wide shots that are so prevalent. I also noted the use of color--an entire room and all but one or…

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  • Kubo and the Two Strings

    Kubo and the Two Strings

    ★★★★★

    The seven or so trailers we endured before Kubo and the Two Strings seem to prove a hypothesis I have that there is only one good animated film for every seven or so that are produced. Kubo is that film. It will be praised for the gorgeous animation, design, and music, but these technical triumphs would be meaningless without good storytelling. Kubo proves that movie storytelling has not entirely died under the weight of endless iterations of franchises, sequels, and…

  • Inception

    Inception

    ★★★★★

    I don't know how I so disliked this movie the first time I watched it.

    Each time I've watched it since, I've enjoyed it more and more. On this viewing, I was especially noticing connections to Vertigo. The most obvious visual link, of course, is when Ariadne, in the second dream level, is wearing the same outfit and hairstyle as Madeleine. This seems to signify that Ariadne, like Madeleine, is being used by a protagonist desperate to remake the world…