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  • Millennium Mambo

    Millennium Mambo

    ★★★★½

    She drifts through three relationships (an abuser, a protector, a friend) in a woozy, repeating cycle, only there's hope—life may not move in a straight line, but the circle itself can move forward, and the snow and the sense of wholeness and family that was once your escape from the pain of home can, itself, become home. People talk about that opening shot a lot, and they should, because it's an absolute stunner. But somehow it's those closing images, snow falling on the empty streets of Yubari, that have really seared into my memory.

  • Voices of a Distant Star

    Voices of a Distant Star

    ★★★★½

    MAKOTO SHINKAI WAS ABLE TO BUILD THIS IN A CAVE!! ...WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!

    If some lopsided anime faces are the trade-off for this DIY sledgehammer of heartache, I'm all in. Voices of a Distant Star announces Shinkai as one of the most important contemporary poets of incorporeal love, digital distances, the heart in the internet age.

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  • Guardians of the Galaxy

    Guardians of the Galaxy

    ★★½

    This Mass Effect reskin of The Avengers has moments of genuine humor and poignancy, and a few characters who show a spark of personality. At one point the angry raccoon starts crying and it would have taken a harder heart than mine not to well up a little.

    In the early part of the film there's also a lot of really stunning outer-space imagery, like an orbiting mining station built out of the colossal skull of some elder god. But…

  • When Marnie Was There

    When Marnie Was There

    ★★★★★

    I saw When Marnie Was There this morning. By evening I was on my way to the theater to see it again. That's a first for me.

    It wasn't just that my local cinema provided both dubbed and subtitled screenings. Sure, I wanted to see both versions. But more than that, I wanted to return to the world of this movie because it stirred some deep nerve cluster that connected my childhood to my adulthood. That's a quality that I've…