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  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit

    Who Framed Roger Rabbit

    ★★★★★

    Can we retroactively give Bob Hoskins all the awards? One of the finest examples of this special breed of acting, and an incredible performance apart from the technical aspects.

  • Little Shop of Horrors

    Little Shop of Horrors

    ★★★★½

    I’m not the biggest fan of stage musicals, and probably less a fan of movie musicals, but I can safely say that this is one of the finest of the form when it comes to the latter. Frank Oz, surely tapped for the project thanks to his puppetry background, excels at that part—Audrey II is an incredible piece of work. But Oz deserves even more credit for bringing vitality, wit and ingenuity to his direction. Shot on a soundstage, it…

  • Back to the Future

    Back to the Future

    ★★★★★

    Clocks make for an obvious motif in Back to the Future, but the real marvel of a clock is the film itself. This thing is so finely tuned. Every little background detail that sent the Internet abuzz more than 20 years ago is not so much an Easter egg as it is proof that Zemeckis and Gale (and probably Spielberg, too) had fun thinking about every aspect of this script as they developed it over the course of multiple years.…

  • Boy

    Boy

    ★★★★

    Far more depressing than I imagined it would be, but also more inventive in its construction and masterful in its tone than I expected for one of Taika Waititi’s earliest efforts. His sensibility is so well formed that I’m interested to go back to Eagle vs Shark to see if he had it locked down from day one.

  • Big

    Big

    ★★★½

    Once it gets past that first night in the dirty, scary-in-the-‘80s-New York motel, Big glosses over the darker and prurient aspects of what would surely be a harrowing experience. I’m not saying this should fulfill the dreams of a YouTube horror trailer, but it’s kind of crazy how the heaviness of the story is ignored in favor of light dramedy, turning a truly odd pitch into a family-friendly blockbuster.

    Maybe it’s the Hanks of it all? He is truly magnetic…

  • Grosse Pointe Blank

    Grosse Pointe Blank

    ★★★★

    The versatility of Minnie Driver to believably play a 10-year high school graduate and a college senior (in Good Will Hunting) in the same year is not to be underestimated. Also, this movie still rules. Incredible soundtrack, excellent use of the fast-talking, wise-cracking persona John Cusack had built in the ‘80s, and fun supporting performances. Hadn’t seen this in awhile, but it was great revisiting one of my faves from the turn of the century.

  • The Pink Panther

    The Pink Panther

    ★★★

    Extra half star for that iconic Mancini theme and for the excellent title sequence which, honestly, is all you really need? I have fond, if vague, childhood memories of the Pink Panther cartoon in syndication, and it's hard to believe the "character" is actually just a gem. Don't think I knew that.

  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off

    Ferris Bueller's Day Off

    ★★★★★

    Though I've had this on VHS and DVD for decades, I've seen either seen it dozens of times on TV, or saw it on TV at the most impressionable age, that every time someone swears, I can hear the dubbed version in my mind's ear.

    What I'm trying to say is that this movie is embedded in my brain in umpteen ways and I will never not love it.

  • Heartburn

    Heartburn

    ★★★

    The '80s (and Meryl, for that matter) sure loved dissolving marriage dramedies, didn't they?

    It's hard to believe, given the leads, director, and writer, that this doesn't have more of a legacy. In a weird way, I think that's because it's too straightforward a tale of philandering, reparations, and loss.

    Knowing how history is written—it's right there in the name, after all, the film's disappearance in time might also be because it's focused on the female side of the story.

    I wouldn't say it's the best work from any of the key players, but it's certainly worth a look.

  • Don Jon

    Don Jon

    ★★★

    Jogol touches on some tough, honest interrogation of porn addiction, bro culture, masculinity and misogyny, but the package in which he puts his thoughts is tonally out of whack for me. It's a broad, crowd-pleasing rom-com, interspersed with enough actual porn footage to truly earn a hard R.

    The dude knows how to put together a cast, though, and finds some truth amid the often wacky family hijinks.

  • A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III

    A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III

    ★★

    Dear Roman, you had me at Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman, but you lost me at believing in a penitent, soul-searching Charlie Sheen.

  • The Meaning of Life

    The Meaning of Life

    ★★★★½

    I don't know why, but the Crimson Permanent Assurance was always my favorite part of this movie, mostly for the brilliant twist of incorporating the otherwise-unrelated story into the arc of the main film.