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  • It's a Wonderful Life

    It's a Wonderful Life

    ★★★★★

    The Rosetta Stone for 88% of right-wing fireman/police-officer-finds-jesus-and-learns-PTSD-isnt-real movies produced since 2000. Also, a great movie.

  • Batman

    Batman

    ★★★★½

    When seeing Robert Wuhl for the first time, the Joker simply asks "Who is this loss?" Thus concludes my Power Point presentation on why people who put any of the Nolan films above this should be imprisoned for life without the possibility of parole.

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  • Life Itself

    Life Itself

    In college, I heard about a torture in Greece in which an offender was locked inside a large brass bull and a large fire lit underneath, literally roasting the criminal to death. Apparently, due to the way the bull was constructed, the long, anguished screams of the victims were muffled into sounding like the groans and bellows of a bull. There's no way of knowing why I thought of that while watching this.

  • Widows

    Widows

    ★★★★

    At some point, I remember James Gray bemoaning the loss of the great mid-range film, smart crowd pleasers like the ones they churned out in excess during the 1990s. Widows is as good an example as I've seen since the early aughts of a modern director understanding the mechanics of the mid-range film and successfully pushing it forward. It doesn't always work - the script indulges a little too much telegraphing, way too much plot, and tries too hard to…