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  • Damsels in Distress

    Damsels in Distress

    ★★★★½

    While his preceding triptych were some of the funniest films of the 1990s, it is only in viewing this out-and-out comedy that the generic misapplication of "comedy" to the others becomes clear. The hilarity of finely observed social interactions decorated with finely polished dialogic diamonds previously served larger questions of making one's way in the world while burdened with the knowledge of the historical moment. Damsels is dislodged from time (but not from history; note: "last of the Select Seven…

  • Alien: Covenant

    Alien: Covenant

    ★★★★

    I had forgotten the awe-striking power of a great villain. Perhaps I've been subjected to too many comic book films that expect a higher tolerance for ridiculousness than I've been allowing, or perhaps I've been working through too many romantic comedies with obstacles instead of antagonists, but when the villain emerges in the second half of Alien: Covenant, everything else recedes into the gorgeous backgrounds. (More accurately, the large, painterly backgrounds give way to cramped spaces and poor visibility.) By…

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  • Certified Copy

    Certified Copy

    ★★★★★

    Second viewing confirms this is among the handful of films I'd consider my all-time favorites. Everything I want in a film is here. (Well, I could use a chase scene with a car explosion, I guess.)

    What's the movie about? It's about an hour and forty-five minutes.

    An hour and forty-five minutes of dizzying, glorious, beautiful starts and stops, ideas and emotions, reality and fiction, truth and lies, beauty and deceit. AK demands our attention, but doesn't mind if we…

  • La La Land

    La La Land

    ★★★★

    A quick scan of reviews reveals a lot of handwringing about the possibility of a musical in a time without musicals. The focus of these generally seems to be, "in a time where audiences aren't willing to go along with people breaking into song and dance," which is, I strongly suspect, hogwash. My packed Saturday matinee screening (the most even mix of young and old I've seen in my local cineplex), my students frequently mentioning The Wizard of Oz and…