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  • Argo

    Argo

    ★★★

    An excellent tale... if only it were true, as the film radically plays up American ingenuity and pushes Canada to the side. This is yet another "good" film about the entertainment industry that has been elevated to the supposed "greatness" thanks the the Academy.

    I will acknowledge that the continuous threat of death via revolutionary mobs and military firing squads maintains tension without reducing Iranians to frothing, cartoonish maniacs but I'd rate the attention to operational detail and historical accuracy of Spielberg's Bridge of Spies - and thus the film itself - a bit higher than Argo.

  • Pariah

    Pariah

    ★★★½

    Vividly depicting the banter and gossip of high school life, the no-nonsense fierceness of spades card games, the tension between protective parents and exploratory teens, and the frustrating stops and starts of teenage identity development, Pariah adds an edge of danger and hostility faced by LGBTQ+ youth but isn't the tragic downer its title suggests.

    In fact, there are some very funny scenes including an exasperated mother exclaiming as she turns on the radio "I'm going to listen to what…

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  • Mulholland Drive

    Mulholland Drive

    ★★★★★

    Pick nearly any scene from this film - Winkie's Diner, the espresso tasting, Adam's wife's affair, the bungled hit, the cowboy, Betty's audition, the love scene, Club Silencio, or the nightmarish "waking up" - and you'll find a masterclass in direction, acting and atmosphere. No other movie so effectively prods the primal unconscious while stimulating the higher brain's need to make sense of it all. Mulholland Drive is my favorite film from my favorite director, which puts it in the…

  • In the Mood for Love

    In the Mood for Love

    ★★★★★

    This film has been on my "I-should-probably-check-that-out" list for nearly 20 years... and I now understand what all the hype is about. The lighting and original score set a tone of elegance and propriety while the inclusion of Cuban jazz evokes a cosmopolitan sensibility and - through its lyrics - ambiguity for the ultimate outcome of the plot. Then along comes that subtly expansive ending! It's a good thing I never saw this in the theater because I might be anchored to my seat waiting for the next showing to begin. I am absolutely smitten.