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  • The Last Samurai

    The Last Samurai

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    2003. I graduated from high school and the band broke up. My ex-best-friend named his Final Fantasy XI character Nobutada, but didn't stick around the game for long. Meanwhile everyone went to college and I was stuck at home, zonked on bad meds and a toxic mom, unable to part ways with Vana'diel, eighteen hour sessions in the Valkurm Dunes. I barely wanted to live. It was a depression so sour and thick and pungent that every song it stained…

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  • The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight

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    Christopher Nolan is rocking the Star power-up from Mario for the duration of this manic miracle. Heath Ledger isn't acting so much as conducting a sΓ©ance to the jaws of hell.

    I stand by my assertion that Nolan does his best work here because he's thrilled, fascinated by the Joker β€” our director is nothing if not a clever, scheming capitalist, and here he invents his own unmaking: an agent of chaos who knows which threads to pull to make…

  • Batman Begins

    Batman Begins

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    "A vigilante is a man caught up in the scramble for his own gratification."

    For a guy who has billions in personal wealth and runs a gigantic infrastructure & defense company, Bruce Wayne's solution to organized crime sure is "fistfight" and not "dispatch any number of the paramilitary goons that Wayne Enterprises no doubt employs."

    This Bruce Wayne is a spoiled Ivy League brat dramatizing his grief against the backdrop of a city of 30 million. His Batman is, in fact,…

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  • When Marnie Was There

    When Marnie Was There

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    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…

  • The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

    The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

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    Around the age of 14, I had an experience that changed how I felt about film.

    I was sitting on the floor of my room, staring at the large tree that obscured my window. The lights were off and I was sulking β€” who can remember why. But this ordinary teenage activity was mixed with real depression, something a lot more pernicious.

    At that time I didn’t have many healthy outlets for my problems. The ones I did have were…