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  • Inside Llewyn Davis

    Inside Llewyn Davis

    ★★★★½

    There's something refreshing in seeing a film that portrays the harsh nature of the folk music scene circa 1961 during an era of contemporary folk/indie-rock music that romanticizes the plights of the genre it draws inspiration from. Rather than provide the quick relief and optimistic outlook that comes with strained vocals and dueling banjos, Inside Llewyn Davis is unrelenting in its depiction of the bad habits, tough breaks, and nasty cycles that make the genre so great yet the career…

  • Pacific Rim

    Pacific Rim

    ★★★★★

    To borrow a phrase from Karin Kross' insights on Pacific Rim (link: tinyurl.com/lpdq2gy), "Simple does not equal dumb." Similarly, earnest does not equal naïve. Guillermo Del Toro's love for the kaiju movie is not a blind one. Del Toro fills every frame with detail, every scene with purpose, and is conscious enough to host the visual spectacle underneath an overarching message of love, solidarity, and respect for all of mankind.

    Pacific Rim's visuals are outstanding. Guillermo Navarro embraces the now-standard…

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  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

    ★★★★★

    During the acceptance speech for his AFI Lifetime Achievement award, Director Frank Capra took a moment to share some advice with the young filmmakers of the day. "Don't compromise," Mr. Capra cautioned, "believe in yourself; because only the valiant can create, only the daring should make films, and only the morally corageous are worthy of speaking to their fellow man for two hours and in the dark."

    I can think of few directors who are so worthy of such a…

  • It's a Wonderful Life

    It's a Wonderful Life

    ★★★★★

    There are moments in life when you will be broken. There are moments when you will be beaten. There are moments of love, and of victory. There are the crooks who will be kept at bay by the few decent men of this world, and there are those who will be there to pick you up when you fall. Sometimes your friends won't be there for you at all; everyone will let you down at some point or another, even…