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  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    we mustn't destroy what we hate, we must save what we love.

    This is a tremendous, immensely valuable chapter of the Star Wars saga. While I may not come to love it on a personal level as much as I do some of it's predecessors, this thing is fascinating to take in. Johnson provides a cleanse of sorts of all the baggage from this saga's long, rich history; addressed literally in the film as "letting the past die". The divisiveness…

  • First Reformed

    First Reformed

    ★★★★★

    A fierce and passionate parable about hope; First Reformed is a response, at times a whimper and at others a shout, to Jesus’ infamous question in the garden just before his death - My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? A look at the difficulties of a *truly* religious life, one in which all actions, perceptions and reactions are analyzed, scrutinized and reconciled in relation to a foundational text that offers little empathy to those who stray from…

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  • The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

    The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

    ★★★½

    The joys of this remake are found in watching Denzel and Travolta shoulder the weight of this frenetically paced, somewhat chaotically directed heist thriller. The updates to the original, a riff of sorts on post-911 fears of terrorism and financial instability, are inelegant but effective. And there's a weight to the violence that works to the film's credit; even when the bad guys die it's somewhat revolting. I'm a Tony Scott noob; I've seen very few of his films and…

  • The Talented Mr. Ripley

    The Talented Mr. Ripley

    ★★★★

    A grand and luxurious thriller in the style of Hitchcock; as much a travelogue about Italy as it is a delightfully disturbing character drama. Matt Damon's Tom Ripley is so unnerving because we never once see who he really is; he's a fraud from the very start. The Talented Mr. Ripley allows us to watch as he constructs and manages a complex web of lies. He becomes obsessed with the lifestyle of his wealthy companions and does all he can…

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  • La La Land

    La La Land

    ★★★★★

    I've been seeing lots of "controversy" over the supposed value of La La Land vs something like Moonlight, usually insinuating that La La Land's comparative levity somehow renders it lesser. My quick two cents would that be that yes, Moonlight is a magnificent portrait of masculinity in 2017's world, with broad, valuable insights on how race, sexual preference (*orientation*) and class all influence and inform one's identity. Basically a vehicle and showcase for compassion and empathy in a world seemingly…

  • Arrival

    Arrival

    ★★★★★

    In light of recent events, I'm reminded of Fermi's paradox. A cynical and unsettling notion which suggests the reason we've never been contacted by extraterrestrial intelligent life is that the no civilization has survived long enough to innovate to that level. Or, in simpler terms, that the fundamental nature of intelligent life is to ultimately destroy itself. As tech and sciences progress further and further, what matters is how we allocate that technology; what leaders we elect to control it…