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  • Andrei Rublev

    Andrei Rublev

    ★★★★★

    Tarkovsky's expanses here are breathtaking in their cold beauty and atmospheric horror, and his massacre sequence is wildly mounted. The terror of nature and the man-made world force confrontation with superficial, cloistered faith, which subsequently reshaped and, ultimately, reaffirmed by confrontation. In an odd way it's a reminder that true faith was accelerating the contradictions well before Karl Marx suggested it as a bedrock of communism. The glory of God is not omnipresent, it must be rigorously sought out, and constantly subject to revision.

  • Ash Is Purest White

    Ash Is Purest White

    ★★★★★

    A culminating work, the full blossom of Jia's efforts to mix his undergirding aesthetic and thematic documentation of China's modernization with his recent forays into genre filmmaking. Living proof of the anguish of Major Briggs's stated fear in Twin Peaks that "love is not enough."

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  • Black Panther

    Black Panther

    ★★½

    Coogler's Creed is one of the best films of its kind, a work that confronted and gently but pointedly revised the racist underpinnings of the Rocky franchise and then happened to make the best movie in the whole series by its own rules. Black Panther, by contrast, is the latest reminder, after a few wilder, looser entries in the MCU, that when it comes to Marvel, the house always wins. Glacially paced and burdened with action so busy yet clumsy…

  • Dallas Buyers Club

    Dallas Buyers Club

    ½

    It's easy, if one only ever has to suffer a few times a year the no-budget, no-talent indies dumped on one-week NY runs and burned onto screener discs, to have a charmed view of what constitutes a bad film. Truth be told, with the number of films produced domestically exploding in recent years thanks to mass proliferation of acceptable-quality, cheap DV, it's a good bet that the vast majority of American movies made each year now consist of films made…