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  • High Life

    High Life

    ★★★★½

    For people who have seen the likes of "Solaris" or "The Man Who Fell to Earth," the brainy, metaphor-laden "High Life" is the most challenging head case you can have at the movies this year. It's a stroke of luck I saw it on the big screen, because I'll be honest, it would have suffered if I had waited to see it at home. Robert Pattinson is the father of an infant on a grungy, dilapidated space ship flying in…

  • Interstellar

    Interstellar

    ★★★★½

    "Interstellar" in 2014 was a momentous occasion before walking into the theater based on anticipation alone. You'd have to be blind not to see that while it was happening (in the second half in particular) it had spectacle and a vision, as if imagined out of Christopher Nolan's childlike space fantasies as well as hallucinations. It also had nagging deficiencies, it seemed, like perfunctory dialogue and preoccupation with ghosts in the first half hour. It had functional textbook shots intermixed…

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  • Sully

    Sully

    ★★★★★

    Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven” is his career best, but I really do say this is the next essential one up in line even given with the fact that there are so many must-see Eastwoods. With “Sully,” I see it as a political movie. You just can’t perform a heroic miracle in this day and age without some government faction trying to defame it and take the heroism away. This is a portrait of worst United States bureaucratic instincts. Tom Hanks is…

  • Ash Is Purest White

    Ash Is Purest White

    ★★★½

    If there was ever a film I wanted a graphic sex scene in it is the Chinese film Ash is Purest White between Qiao (Tao Zhao) and Bin (Liao Fan). Not only is that scene denied that would allow us to observe heat or tenderness, but many other such scenes are missing where we can observe any pleasure between them, or pleasantness, although an early nightclub scene displays chemistry. The same scene also features a handgun that falls out of…

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  • 2001: A Space Odyssey

    2001: A Space Odyssey

    ★★★★★

    2001: A Space Odyssey is as much the ultimate meditation experience as well as the “ultimate head trip” as advertised in its year of release. Today, meditative cinema has all but vanquished from our screens in favor of rapid-fire editing and pop tunes on the soundtrack. With each passing decade, I’ve casually noticed a disregard for Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece. Mostly, I believe, is because we can’t sit still without checking our phones. I’ve noticed that adults that tune in to…

  • The Wolf of Wall Street

    The Wolf of Wall Street

    ★★★★½

    Cinema as bacchanal, and somehow I’m not in love with it but I envy it. Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street is the hyper adrenaline-fuel thrill ride that puts your mind on a buzz-stimulated high. This is an extreme visual plunge into debauched sex and drugs, so graphic it is despised by some. I’ve seen “Fellini’s Satyricon” (1970) which graphically depicted Roman excess in the times before Christ, and so if there was ever a modern time in our…