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  • Alien

    Alien

    ★★★★★

    This is one of those movies that is so entirely exactly what it needs to be that it can't really be improved upon. You can iterate out the idea to great effect (ALIENS, countless knock-offs), but you can't take these pieces and create a superior experience. There are more ambitious movies, movies that do more for the human spirit, movies that find greater nuance in the human experience or mine deeper expressions of emotion and beauty. But there is no movie as good at being ALIEN as ALIEN.

  • Paterson

    Paterson

    ★★★★★

    This is the sort of movie that makes you okay with being alive for a while. (Also, there's a bit near the end that made me gasp so loud in the theater my girlfriend gave me A Look.)

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  • Frances Ha

    Frances Ha

    ★★★★★

    A few years ago, I moved to Portland to live with my best friend--we'd known each other since high school, and he was back in Maine for the first time in years, and I desperately wanted to get out of Lewiston. And it was a good time. I don't do groups well, and I have a hard time meeting people, but for a while, me and my best friend would just hang out and watch movies and sometimes there'd be…

  • The Silence of the Lambs

    The Silence of the Lambs

    ★★★★★

    When I was a kid, I had this linked up with Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a Movie That Will Probably Kill You If You Watch It. When I finally saw it, I wasn't disappointed or anything, but it certainly didn't have the raw, bleak found-object intensity of TCM; and watching it as an adult, I'm struck again by how warm and satisfyingly and richly human Silence is. It's a serial killer story that consistently refuses to turn anyone, victim or…