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  • If Beale Street Could Talk

    If Beale Street Could Talk

    ★★★★½

    Jenkins's cinema is stories and gestures of tenderness in a broken world where tenderness is often seen as a proxy for weakness, and the superhuman efforts needed for tenderness to survive and prevail. It's saying grace in a prison visitation room because your kid reminds you.

  • Cries and Whispers

    Cries and Whispers

    ★★★★★

    A simply perfect film, and I candidly wasn't prepared for it. I'd seen it only once before, roughly in 2004 or 2005 when I took my obligatory tour through Berg-burgh as a neophyte cinephile. It struck me then as a bit too severe, even by Bergman's standards. Fourteen or so years later, I'm not sure what's changed. Me, I guess.

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  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    ★★

    Docked a half-star for the digital bastardizations of two human faces.  If I wanted to see a video game I'd play video games.  It smacks of a dearth of filmmaking imagination.  Think of how much more effective the end would have been if you'd only seen Leia's back and heard her voice.  It's an even better alternative now, post-Carrie Fisher's death.

  • Annihilation

    Annihilation

    ★★★★

    The overly-nostalgic of us born in the '70s are always chasing the new ALIEN or BLADE RUNNER or THE THING, and this is it. However, it's not the new STALKER, regardless of any similarities in story or attempted tone. Candidly, the qualitative difference between Garland's atheism and Tarkovsky's Christianity goes a long way toward explaining why the scope is narrower in terms of the actual danger presented to the people who enter the "zone" in each film. We're still primarily…