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  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    ★★★★★

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

    we mustn't destroy what we hate, we must save what we love.

    This is a tremendous, immensely valuable chapter of the Star Wars saga. While I may not come to love it on a personal level as much as I do some of it's predecessors, this thing is fascinating to take in. Johnson provides a cleanse of sorts of all the baggage from this saga's long, rich history; addressed literally in the film as "letting the past die". The divisiveness…

  • First Reformed

    First Reformed

    ★★★★★

    A fierce and passionate parable about hope; First Reformed is a response, at times a whimper and at others a shout, to Jesus’ infamous question in the garden just before his death - My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? A look at the difficulties of a *truly* religious life, one in which all actions, perceptions and reactions are analyzed, scrutinized and reconciled in relation to a foundational text that offers little empathy to those who stray from…

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  • Vice

    Vice

    ★★★½

    Should note off the bat that I found this to be completely engrossing and deeply satisfying as a pointed declaration of Dick Cheney's villainous and profoundly unethical abuse of his power at a crucial point in American history. BUT, this is like seven different films shoved into one which occasionally soars, often stumbles and consistently renders itself a mess. I loved The Big Short, I know many reduce it to McKay yelling about how we as a population just aren't…

  • If Beale Street Could Talk

    If Beale Street Could Talk

    ★★★★★

    "it's rough, but we'll make it"

    Somehow overflowing with magnificence, tragedy, anger and love all at once; if Beale Street Could Talk applies a rich glamour, of sorts, to the black experience, which is so often glimpsed only from a place of pity or politics. Jenkins allows the romance here to develop outside of all that context; an exercise in pure love that exudes *so* much warmth and happiness. Every moment of this film feels like a dream; every frame…

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  • La La Land

    La La Land

    ★★★★★

    I've been seeing lots of "controversy" over the supposed value of La La Land vs something like Moonlight, usually insinuating that La La Land's comparative levity somehow renders it lesser. My quick two cents would that be that yes, Moonlight is a magnificent portrait of masculinity in 2017's world, with broad, valuable insights on how race, sexual preference (*orientation*) and class all influence and inform one's identity. Basically a vehicle and showcase for compassion and empathy in a world seemingly…

  • Arrival

    Arrival

    ★★★★★

    In light of recent events, I'm reminded of Fermi's paradox. A cynical and unsettling notion which suggests the reason we've never been contacted by extraterrestrial intelligent life is that the no civilization has survived long enough to innovate to that level. Or, in simpler terms, that the fundamental nature of intelligent life is to ultimately destroy itself. As tech and sciences progress further and further, what matters is how we allocate that technology; what leaders we elect to control it…