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Mike has written 12 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ .

  • Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh

    Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh

    ★★★★½

    A surprising return to form for Sandler. Heartfelt and personal and incredibly funny.

  • Apostle

    Apostle

    ★★★★½

    Wow. Holy shit. Gareth Evans does with Apostle what The Raid did for action movies.

  • Private Life

    Private Life

    ★★★★½

    Painfully accurate.

  • Won't You Be My Neighbor?

    Won't You Be My Neighbor?

    ★★★★½

    A much-needed reminder in this toxic climate that there was once at least one person who loved us and knew we ourselves were capable of loving.

  • A Quiet Place

    A Quiet Place

    ★★★★½

    A surprisingly emotional and tense thriller. Very efficient storytelling given the short run time and near absence of spoken dialogue. John Krasinski and Emily Blunt's real-world relationship really brings a tangible feeling of intimacy to the film. Definitely up there among the best horror/thrillers of the past few years.

  • Black Panther

    Black Panther

    ★★★★½

    I was hyped for this movie but it managed to even exceed my expectations. What an amazing world Ryan Coogler and his crew built. The production design and costumes really make Wakanda come to life. It was really powerful seeing so many people of color playing nuanced characters and not the usual superhero caricatures. The only thing keeping Black Panther from five stars for me was that the action wasn't particularly thrilling or memorable. But the characters and their relationships more than made up for it. Looking forward to the many years of amazing work ahead for Coogler.

  • Good Time

    Good Time

    ★★★★½

    Good Time gave me all the queasy heist-gone-wrong thrills of Victoria without the gimmicky (but still awesome) single take. Robert Pattinson is almost unrecognizable as a desperate criminal trying to help his incarcerated, special needs brother. Looking forward to seeing what the Safdie Brothers can do with a bigger budget.

  • Thor: Ragnarok

    Thor: Ragnarok

    ★★★★½

    As a long-time fan of director Taika Waititi, I was excited to see what he could do with perhaps the most boring Avenger franchise. His sensibilities are on full display here, including a small but delightful role for himself as a CG alien. The plot itself is nothing groundbreaking, but turning the previously dour Thor into a wise-cracking goof and surrounding him with a fantastic cast (Goldblum, Thompson, and Waititi himself particularly shine) was genius. If not the best Marvel movie, it might be the most fun.

  • Baby Driver

    Baby Driver

    ★★★★½

    Holy shit this movie is a blast. Baby Driver is, as far as I can tell, the first action musical. Edgar Wright executes his vision with such confidence. The soundtrack (a whopping 30 tracks) will be in heavy rotation this summer.

  • Lion

    Lion

    ★★★★½

    Lion is essentially two movies. The first, following a young boy in India, is gripping and electric. The second, set in Australia twenty five years later, is carried by Dev Patel, the boy grown up. Surrounded by thin characters, he obsesses about the events of the first part of the movie. The latter is nothing particularly remarkable, but the scenes in India are so touching it elevates the rest.

  • The Handmaiden

    The Handmaiden

    ★★★★½

    A lusty, colorful noir movie, expertly directed by Chan-wook Park. Every frame of this movie is just stunning to behold. The film feels like it meanders at times, while setting up its intricate twists, but the payoff is worth it.

  • La La Land

    La La Land

    ★★★★½

    La La Land is greater than the sum of its parts. The main characters are not incredibly well developed but Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling play them with such charm and their chemistry is wonderful. The musical numbers are accentuated by long takes and sweeping camera movements. The colors throughout the film just pop off the screen. It all comes together in a modern yet nostalgic love letter to cinema and jazz. It's not a perfect film but it reminded me why I love movies and stayed with me long after I left the theater.