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  • Star Wars

    Star Wars

    ★★★★

    A video essay about how Star Wars was saved in the edit inspired me to finally watch Harmy’s Despecialized Edition, which had been sitting on my hard drive for years. Not having seen the original practical effects in decades, I expected them to look a lot rougher than they did. Their toyetic artifice is definitely apparent, but knowing how much of a leap forward they were in 1977—the industry drafted behind this achievement for well over a decade—inspires far more awe than the digital revisions that came later.

  • Fist of Fury

    Fist of Fury

    ★★★

    Bruce Lee’s electrifying fight scenes may be the primary draw, but Nora Miao’s amazing outfit is a close second. I didn’t expect this to be the case, but Gordon Chan’s loose remake with Jet Li, Fist of Legend, is a superior film in nearly all respects.

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  • The Florida Project

    The Florida Project

    ★★★★½

    When I see a new film of almost universal acclaim, sometimes I go out of my way to read the negative reviews to get a little distance from the zeitgeist. In the case of The Florida Project’s negative reviews, I saw a few patterns:

    • the expected backlash against the critical consensus
    • the frustration of viewers who prefer more traditional narratives
    • locals objecting to the portrayal of Florida
    • accusations of poverty porn

    One flavor of that last…

  • The Others

    The Others

    ★★

    Remember when Nirvana exploded and every major label scrambled to sign any band they could find that was even remotely similar? Well, if The Sixth Sense is Nirvana (and given how quickly M Night Shyamalan squandered whatever goodwill his breakout hit engendered, I hesitate to draw the comparison), then The Others is Bush.

    The themes, tone, essential plot points, and even the color palette are all lifted directly. To its credit, this is not immediately apparent, and the way the…