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  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

    ★★★

    “Hey, Newt, why did you keep me around?”
    “Because I like you. Because you're my friend.”

    There’s a lot that I like about this film. The core cast of Redmayne, Fogler, Waterston, Sudol, and Farrell is fun to watch, the world-building is consistently engaging, and I enjoy the traces of Dr. Seuss and Mary Poppins and especially the nods to classic screwball comedy—there are some great moments of physical comedy here. But then there’s a lot that just doesn’t work…

  • JFK

    JFK

    ★★★★

    “It's a mystery! It's a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma! The shooters don't even know! Don't you get it?”

    I was surprised to find that I actually really, really enjoyed this sprawling, melodramatic, talky, and totally paranoid movie. Say what you will about Oliver Stone’s wild theorizing and fear-mongering, you have to admit that this is the work of an accomplished artist in top form. The script is so exposition-heavy and preachy it makes Christopher Nolan’s scripts…

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  • Brother Bear

    Brother Bear

    ★★★★½

    “I have a story to tell you. . . . It’s kind of about a man . . . and kind of about a bear. But mostly, it’s about a monster.”

    I feel a little sheepish giving this such a high rating, but this film has stuck with me for years, and even now it moves me like so few others do. I’ll happily defend its merits even as I’ll readily admit its faults. Watch it—or give it another chance—because…

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    ★★★★½

    “This is not going to go the way you think.”

    Indeed. Rian Johnson’s study of Star Wars—it’s more helpful to view all post-Lucas installments as an anthology of essays from his scholars, with varying aims and interpretations, rather than embracing or rejecting them by “What Would George Do?”—The Last Jedi is challenging and cheeky, ingenious and incendiary, unlike any Star Wars, or really any movie, I’ve ever seen. I had high expectations. But this is not at all what I…