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PIXAR SCORES WITH HEARTFELT ‘ONWARD’

2007
With an uninspired title like Onward the newest offering from Pixar doesn’t do itself justice. Derived from director and co-writer Dan Scanlon’s experience growing up without knowing his father, this heartfelt film scores a direct hit on our emotions. Ian (voiced…

A SINGULAR VOICE: KELLY REICHARDT’S ‘FIRST COW’

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Kelly Reichardt’s slowly paced films aren’t everyone’s cup of milk, but I thoroughly enjoyed her latest effort, First Cow. I’ve been a fan since her 2006 feature Old Joy, which like this one deals with friendship in a serene setting. Since then…

SORRY WE MISSED YOU: ANOTHER SMALL GEM FROM KEN LOACH

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Ken Loach’s follow-up to the heartrending I, Daniel Blake covers similar ground, dramatizing the way “the system” of commerce and government in the 21st century devalues and undermines working-class people. Sorry We Missed You was filmed in Newcastle, England but could be transposed to…

‘BIRDS’ PREYS ON CIVILIZED MOVIEMAKING

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What price girl-power? Does the positive energy of a female-centric comic book movie—made by women—compensate for the nihilistic, super-violent nature of its content? Is this really a step forward for women, behind the camera and in the audience? That’s…

DOWNHILL: A SMART COMEDY/DRAMA FOR GROWNUPS

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If you’re among the relative handful of people who saw Ruben Östland’s wry Swedish film Force Majeure you’ll know the story of this remake, about an upscale couple on a European ski vacation which puts their relationship to a critical…

UNCUT GEMS: CONTROLLED CHAOS

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Everything you may have heard or read about Uncut Gems is true: it’s tough to watch, especially at the start. In-your-face filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie throw a lot at us in the opening sequence, which establishes the tone of their…

MY TOP FILMS OF THE YEAR

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People love lists because they stimulate discussion and debate. I don’t enjoy compiling them because they are so arbitrary, but who am I do sit out this year-end ritual? I can’t call this a “top ten” because I couldn’t…

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