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  • Florence Foster Jenkins

    Florence Foster Jenkins

    ★★

    It's an interesting idea - to make comfortable-seeming film about a harmless old woman. Frears and Streep have the intelligence to have dug so much deeper into the willful ignorance, complicity, and artistic "settling" that swirl around the spectacle of Florence Foster Jenkins' performance at Carnegie Hall. But Florence Foster Jenkins is entirely uninterested in that kind of examination. At bottom, it's a harmless movie itself: full of 40s period gloss, stock comedic supports, and Hugh Grant. Which is fine. There's just a missed opportunity here, in this story about what it is to love something, and only be fine at it.

  • Kubo and the Two Strings

    Kubo and the Two Strings

    ★★★★

    They did it. They finally did it. They made the Zelda movie.

    There are problems with Kubo and the Two Strings - the script overemphasizes its thematic pivots, its desire to be very consciously structured leads to it feeling self-conscious at points, its ending builds to an emotional crescendo it doesn't entirely earn. Do I care about those problems? No. Not at all. Not even a little bit. Laika somehow used stop motion to shoot New Zealand better than Peter…

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  • North by Northwest

    North by Northwest

    ★★★★½

    If you'll indulge me, friends, I'd like to tell you about my proudest moment as an undergraduate. You see, having been given the infuriatingly delightful and dauntingly iconic North By Northwest as a group assignment, I picked up on the detail that basically the first thing we see Cary Grant do is steal a cab. He does it in an incredibly charming fashion, mind you, but he steals a cab. He's resourceful but self-interested, able to move fluidly through the…

  • Inglourious Basterds

    Inglourious Basterds

    ★★★★½

    On his best days - and I freely admit he has awful ones. It's what happens when you blow a chuck of your Kill Bill budget on blow and Chinese hookers - watching a Quentin Tarantino movie is like going out to a seven-course gourmet dinner with someone who both understands and deeply appreciates food. Not a chef, who could be judgey or unable to leave work at home; not a food snob, who, regardless of what the salad is,…