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  • Creed

    Creed

    ★★★★

    As invigorating a film as I've seen this year: at least for one without the word Max in the title.

    Ryan Coogler and Aaron Covington have internalized all that we love about the Rocky franchise and all that we expect from a sports picture, and they manage to make these cliches feel fresh. So, we get the hardscrabble childhood of our hero, but it's interrupted by a couple decades of privilege by way of his absent father's wife (Phylicia Rashad).…

  • Sicario

    Sicario

    ★★★★

    Denis Villeneuve and screenwriter Taylor Sheridan have created a hell of a thriller, and I mean that in the most literal sense of the world. Sicario is like a series of increasing shocks to the nervous system, all at the service of depicting the modern drug war in as bleak of terms imaginable.

    No one does lurking dread quite like Villeneuve, and the US-Mexican border of this picture is a modern Hell, with nights of tracer lights and explosions and…

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  • George Washington

    George Washington

    ★★★½

    I've put off seeing Green's debut feature for reasons I cannot express. It is nothing like I expected, an odd mixture of Terrence Malick, John Hughes and Harmony Korine. A singular work, but I find it more impressive than lovable.

    Individual scenes are spellbinding: the chatter of teenage girls doing each other's hair, a distant husband in a tub, four kids facing the unimaginable in a public bathroom. The arc of the picture is disorienting, moving from unblinking realism to…

  • Foxcatcher

    Foxcatcher

    ★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Like Miller's other films, Foxcatcher is about ambitious men. It’s also a portrait of mental illness, a platform for three big performances and a critique of American exceptionalism.

    Steve Carell and the filmmakers create a John du Pont that is less raving and more disconnected. He’s been simultaneously shunned by society for his off-putting personality and indulged for his wealth. Carell has several horrifying moments where he attempts to stand before his wrestlers and expound as a leader. These are…