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  • BPM (Beats per Minute)

    BPM (Beats per Minute)

    ★★★★★

    At the barricades and in the meeting rooms of ACT-UP Paris in the early 1990s when politics really was life and death, and time was running out. It also gives us the strange and even urgent texture of how things were before the internet. This is a film about love and death that is stirring and deeply emotive.

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    ★★★★

    These cartoon-like vignettes of the Old West grow deeper and darker as the film goes on, turning into fuller stories. Death is a joke in the first, title story, a tragedy by the fifth, “The Gal Who Got Rattled”, and the overall, morose theme of the last, “The Mortal Remains”. But the double act of Liam Neeson and Harry Melling as the desperate impresario and the outmoded entertainer in “Meal Ticket” are the soul of the thing. Of course the artist recites “Ozymandias”. Pride and ruins in the desert. Our revels now are ended.

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  • Solo: A Star Wars Story

    Solo: A Star Wars Story

    ★★★★

    You were a Luke Skywalker person or you were a Han Solo person. It was like the Beatles or the Rolling Stones must have been. Luke was Apollonian, it was in the name, celestial, blond, monkish, probably celibate; Han was Dionysian, disreputable, a smart-ass, a ladies’ man, in the swamps with a hairy monster. Han was also the human being, a would-be Bogartian presence among the demigods, aliens and robots, too old to be play-acting with the kids and never…

  • Roma

    Roma

    ★★★★★

    This masterpiece is a Fellini memory of a Mexico City childhood in 1970-71, patiently staged as tableaux, steeped in emotion, and evoking the arthouse cinema of the time. This is moving and profound, but playful, too, in its way: one scene seems to be a homage to Gravity, although Alfonso Cuaron says it goes the other way (Marooned was a source of Gravity), and at times it reminds us of Children of Men, with that sense of life among the tumult of the times. Cuaron: “In this one, the research was just memory, memory, memory.”