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  • The Tree of Life

    The Tree of Life

    ★★★★★

    Realized that even though I've seen this movie at least six times (maybe ten or twelve), there were certain moments I had zero recollection of. Certain shots that last at least a few seconds but which I'd somehow missed (probably because something struck me about the previous shot and I was trying to process it).

    It's interesting how watching the same movie with someone new can help you to see new things in it. To some extent you perceive the…

  • Whiplash

    Whiplash

    ★★★½

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

    Compelling (though I did have a hard time buying the idea that students weren't walking out on this instructor every day, let alone that he kept his job for years).

    A meditation on the conflict between greatness and goodness. Or rather, between greatness in one particular (e.g., drumming) and goodness all around (i.e., general human flourishing). We're not sure which way the film is going to go; it swings back and forth. In the end, it seems to side with…

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  • The Flowers of St. Francis

    The Flowers of St. Francis

    ★★★★★

    How simple, how beautiful, how good! Overall this film reflects the lighthearted simplicity of St. Francis and the comedy of his way of life, though the scene with the leper -- for me, one of the most moving scenes in any film ever -- shows Francis in agony as he carries the cross of those who are despised and ostracized.

  • Blue Valentine

    Blue Valentine

    ★★★★

    Powerful. Takes unborn life seriously, takes marriage vows seriously, takes the difficulties of marriage seriously. I'm sure there are people out there who sympathize more with the wife, but my sympathies are with the husband and his desire to keep the marriage intact.