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  • My Neighbor Totoro

    My Neighbor Totoro

    ★★★★★

    My Neighbor Totoro is probably my favorite Miyazaki film. It's not a complex story, nor is it his best or most detailed animation, but that doesn't matter ... this film is pure magic. I'm not referring to Totoro, Catbus or the soot sprites ... the magic is in the way it recreates the nostalgic atmosphere of childhood summers, those long and beautiful days of wonder when the world was all ours.

    Set in rural Japan during the mid 1950s (the…

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  • Serpico

    Serpico

    ★★★★

    Rewatching this for the first time in decades, right on the heels of seeing "Bombshell," I am reminded of just how important a good script can be to a film, even when dealing with a true story that has a wealth of previously-published material to draw upon. Pacino's powerhouse performance helps of course, but this 1973 film about corruption in the New York City police force proves that great acting still needs a great story.

    Journalist Peter Maas provided the…

  • Bombshell

    Bombshell

    ★★★

    Makeup artists won an Oscar for the subtle and not-so-subtle alterations to Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow and other members of the cast of this based-on-fact account of the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News.

    Margot Robbie, playing a composite character appears pretty much as she appears in real life (or as close as most actresses get in big-budget films anyway), and along with Charlize Theron does most of the heavy lifting in terms of acting (both…

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  • The Seventh Seal

    The Seventh Seal

    ★★★★★

    Weird movie. Takes place near the sea, but there wasn't a single seal.

  • Star Wars

    Star Wars

    ★★★★½

    There's not much new to be said about one of the best sci-fi action adventure flicks of all time. Quippy dialog and hammy acting rooted in the classic mid-20th century sci-fi serials, a fast-moving story, rousing music and spectacular special effects all combine in a nearly flawless way for the cinematic experience of a lifetime. The film industry has changed quite a bit since then in terms of visual technique and digital effects, but the basic storytelling really doesn't get…