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  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    ★★★★½

    In the doc that precedes the 40th anniversary release, director Denis Villeneuve suggests the movie is a personal one for Spielberg beyond his obvious fascination with the material. He says the movie is about movie-making too, which struck me as a little trite - and cliche - in the moment. I mean, how many directors and their films has this been / could it be said about?

    And yet, watching this time, I was struck by Roy Neary's journey from…

  • Before Sunrise

    Before Sunrise

    ★★★★★

    If somebody had told 19 year-old me that one day I’d watch this intimate masterpiece with my 14 year-old daughter... after having a conversation with Ethan Hawke where, just like an Ethan Hawke character in a Richard Linklater movie, he oh-so-insightfully schooled me on the importance of giving said daughter permission to make mistakes, to break hearts and have her heart broken... well, I might’ve said that sounded like something from a Richard Linklater movie. 

    There is some kind of magic in this world.

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  • Long Shot

    Long Shot

    ★★★

    Theron is low-key pretty great in this, isn't she?

  • A Hidden Life

    A Hidden Life

    ★★★★

    I'm not sure there's anything aesthetically similar in the way Malick makes movies and the way Paul Schrader's heroes do, or the way he does in "First Reformed." There's an austerity to those approaches Malick eschews with elliptical editing and a camera that’s always in motion, yet no filmmaker strives more "towards the ineffable and invisible." Magically, he seeks it – and finds it – in the accumulative beauty of things that are secular and visible... a valley, a waterfall, grass swaying in the wind, a couple’s embrace.

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  • Sing Street

    Sing Street

    ★★★★★

    Everyone is going to get so sick of me talking about this movie.

  • Before Sunset

    Before Sunset

    ★★★★★

    Forget finally confronting "Upstream Color," or the eventual Sacred Cow conversation about "2001"... Having completed my "Before Sunrise/Sunset" homework, I can't imagine anything more daunting than seeing and discussing "Midnight." I find I'm utterly incapable of talking about these films in a rational, analytical way. Remember Ebert's joyous opening to his "Almost Famous" review?

    Oh, what a lovely film. I was almost hugging myself while I watched it.

    That's me with "Sunrise/Sunset", except instead of an impulse to hug myself,…