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  • Lady Bird

    Lady Bird

    ★★★★

    Rather than the tepid satire of "the midwest of California" promised by the opening minutes of the film, LADY BIRD ends up being refreshingly unconcerned with its title character's point of view. She is a well-drawn, sympathetic, and delightful presence, but Gerwig writes as someone older, wiser, and finally able to see the terrible pain that surrounds her younger self. If LADY BIRD were about anyone other than Lady Bird, it would be almost unbearably depressing. Her father is on…

  • History Is Made at Night

    History Is Made at Night

    ★★★★★

    Once again, I'm sorry to report that everyone was right about a movie.

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  • Manchester by the Sea

    Manchester by the Sea

    ★★★★½

    The custodial relationship, where one assumes temporary care over another's person or property, is Manchester by the Sea's guiding metaphor. In the first ten minutes, Lee tolerates the creeping intimacy of his tenants in order to plunge toilets and replace corroded stoppers. Those first ten minutes define a relationship that we see repeated throughout the film, but with Lee on the other side. Once he arrives back in Manchester, we see him depend on the professional competence of doctors, nurses,…

  • La La Land

    La La Land

    ★★★

    L.A. is full of young people who move to the city with an open mind and shelf full of old Mike Davis books, ready to find the "real" and "authentic" L.A. that apparently existed before the Dodgers stole Chavez Ravine or before city boosterism ran amuck or... before capitalism maybe? La La Land is full of winks to many knowing groups of people; a side entertainment of my viewing was listening to the involuntary "hmms" and "huhs" of the audience…