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  • Princess Mononoke

    Princess Mononoke

    ★★★★★

    Princess Mononoke stands proudly on its ever-more-urgent exploration of humankind’s conflict with nature, showcasing through fantasy all that we don’t realize our own greed steals from us. (As a villager expresses after the crisis has passed, “Huh, I didn't know the Forest Spirit made the flowers grow.”)

    But there’s still more here. Two revolutionary women clash; they each know down to the bone what they are fighting for. Our boy warrior’s strongest gift is being deeply in touch with and…

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  • Margarita with a Straw

    Margarita with a Straw

    ★★★½

    High praise from me for how Margarita with a Straw depicts the ways disability and same-sex attraction interact with each other and sometimes do, sometimes don’t change our experiences of first relationships, moments of sensuality, and moving toward independence in our young adult years. After the first half of the film I also anticipated writing, all without resorting to melodrama. The central character, Laila, a college writing student living with cerebral palsy, is interesting even when on Facebook or moving…

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    ★★★★½

    Woah! A half or maybe whole star of this rating reflects my incredible experience catching this in 3D in the theatre, my first time actually enjoying 3D outside of a theme park. I highly recommend it. 

    Beyond that, Into the Spider-Verse does develop a compelling central character (a biracial hero!) and uses the medium of computer animation with real artistry. I hope the delicious halftones, color offsets, and what just had to be some hand-painted tricks hold up in 2D as well, because this is a superhero film I’d love to catch again.

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  • Contagion

    Contagion

    ★★★½

    The very quality for which people criticize this film - its detachment, its lack of big moments for the actors, its cool pacing - is exactly what makes the film work. It is that lack of sentimentalism (along with the extended shots of snotty hands on door handles and elevator buttons) which lets film creep up on you for weeks after you see it.

    I would also like to applaud the abundant representation of capable, unobjectified women scientists in this film.

  • Cloud Atlas

    Cloud Atlas

    ★★★★

    What a beautiful, courageous, glorious mess. This is the kind of film I wish would be made more often. I loved it, and I am sure it only gets better with more viewings. This film won't be soon forgotten.