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  • Us

    Us

    ★★★★

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

    We are Americans.

    A mirror review for a film about mirrored viewpoints.

    Adelaide: Presented as the hero, but revealed to be the villain. Or is she? Given the opportunity, she escaped from imprisonment, raised two children, and matured as a person. Her narrative is an American one, a story of a social climber who clawed her way from the bottom to the top. However, it is also purely American in that to do so she had to step on someone…

  • Avengers: Endgame

    Avengers: Endgame

    ★★★★

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

    She's great, by the way. We need you. You're new blood.

    While the climactic battle of Avengers: Endgame is, rightly, receiving all of the attention (it's a fan service overload; it strums our heartstrings by killing a beloved character; it's full of splash page moments), there has been less conversation about the opening hour of the film. If anything, the somber, action-light first act of Endgame has been derided as slowly paced, uneventful, and boring in comparison to the final…

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  • Climax

    Climax

    ★★★½

    Were Climax not my first Gaspar Noé film, the aesthetics may have resonated more as part of an auteuristic style. Were I not unfamiliar with current day French politics, the symbolism may have had a greater relevance.

    What I can speak to is how intentionally disorienting Noé's camerawork becomes across the film and how appropriately that parallels the changes in mise-en-scène. By "disorienting," I do not mean objectionable or appalling; there are far more offensive, grotesque, and provocative films out…

  • The Garden of Words

    The Garden of Words

    ★★★

    A rainy day can be like drawing a curtain on the world. Above all, this is what Makoto Shinkai and his animation team capture exceptionally well in The Garden of Words; a private, liminal space where two people can separate themselves from societal obligations, shedding their ages, social statuses, and power dynamics to create an intimate connection. That these two individuals are - in their daily lives - a student and teacher becomes integral to Shinkai's point. These are roles…

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  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

    ★★★★★

    As much as the third Indiana Jones film is about obsessive tendencies (concisely indicated by the hard cut between young and old Indy, both fighting for the Cross of Coronado), it is also about transference of knowledge. That is to say, where the Nazis burn books, Henry Jones shares them with his son. Indy is a testament to the teachings of his father, following in his academic footsteps and displaying a number of the same personality traits; he's been shaped…

  • Mad Max: Fury Road

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    ★★★★★

    A personal aside before the review: The Alamo Drafthouse in Kansas City continues its run as the most impressive theater in the area by providing a free, early screening of Fury Road, entirely making my week!

    Technology and budgetary financing has finally caught up with George Miller's horrifying vision of the post-apocalyptic future! The opening sequence of Mad Max: Fury Road deposits the viewer into a world akin to hell. Immortan Joe's cliffside community is nearly a broadly comedic division…