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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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  • The Red Turtle

    The Red Turtle

    ★★★★

    I knew almost nothing about this movie before watching it, so I was surprised that what I'd thought was going to be a castaway/survival story turned out to be an extended metaphor for adulthood itself. I liked that metaphor, though I feel that adulthood is not quite so bleak as the movie seems to portray it.

    The animation is fantastic and beautiful, and the extra features on the disc, with director Michael Dudok de Wit sketching and explaining the development…

  • The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight

    ★★★★★

    In most ways, I don't think The Dark Knight is really a much better movie than Batman Begins. But the one way that it is better is the Joker, and that one difference elevates this sequel far above the first movie.

    The dialogue here is maybe not quite as clunky as in the first movie, but it's not a lot better. We now have two female characters instead of one--but the new one turns out to be a traitor. And…

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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…