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  • Rio

    Rio

    ★★★½

    Brazilian director Carlos Saldanha’s Rio [2011], the sixth feature film from Blue Sky Studios, was the perfect antidote to a Monday that threatened to collapse under the weight of blah-ness. I caught it on the big screen, as any animated film of such glorious colors as this should be, with Jasper and Anna. We needed this kind of film. It was a delightful romp filled with just-nice-enough songs and a motley crew of lovable animal characters that have the splashy…

  • The Adjustment Bureau

    The Adjustment Bureau

    ★★★

    Is it still a spoiler if one reveals the ending of a film to be a cliche you’ve seen from too many movies? You know the kind. Love prevails. The kiss breaks the spell. Disney has made mountains of moolah from this simple formula we’ve seen in almost all fairy tales. But watching the same thing unfold in George Nolfi’s The Adjustment Bureau [2011] finally felt like a cheat. Did we deserve the ending we got, or was it a…

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  • Just a Question of Love

    Just a Question of Love

    ★★★★★

    There is a scene in Christian Faure’s powerful and surprisingly deft Juste une Question d’Amour [Just a Question of Love, 2000] where a mother tells the lover of her gay son: “You’re much too young to carry around all that useless pain.” The boy has just been accidentally outed, and has subsequently been told by his very conservative family that he could not go home again.

    Despondent, he finds everything else that matters in his life on the verge of…

  • Before Sunset

    Before Sunset

    ★★★★★

    When I was in college — coming off the angst-ridden books by Alex Garland, Brett Easton Ellis, Douglas Coupland, and Jay McInerney — I thought the movie that best described my generation was Ben Stiller’s Reality Bites [1994]. But it turned out to be Richard Linklater’s series of conversation movies with Ethan Hawke and Julien Delpy. I saw Before Sunrise [1995] and Before Sunset [2004] again recently, and I’m both amused (and reflective) at how arrogant about our youth and…