Let Me In (2010, Directed by Matt Reeves) English 8

Starring Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Cara Buono, Elias Koteas, Dylan Minette

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A bullied 12 year old, Owen (Smit-McPhee), finds a friend in the odd girl who moved across the hall in his apartment, Abby (Grace Moretz). Around the same time, a string of grisly murders have shocked their small town in New Mexico, baffling the police, and putting families on edge. Soon, Owen finds that Abby is a vampire, and his growing love for her is tested. As a close remake of the Swedish Let the Right One In, many devotees of the original might not be able to see this film for what it’s worth. This is a gorgeously filmed, beautifully acted horror film that lingers in your thoughts for long after its finish.

The Emoji Movie (2017, Directed by Tony Leondis) English 4

Voices of T.J Miller, Anna Farris, James Corden, Maya Rudolph, Steven Wright, Jennifer Coolidge, Patrick Stewart

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In the world of a teenage boy’s phone live the emojis. Ideograms with minds of their own, that exist simply to convey the right message in their owner’s texts. Gene (Miller), a meh emoji, struggles with capturing the emotion he’s assigned, and his mistake leads to an adventure through aps to escape his own deletion. It’s about as good as you’d expect with its premise, which is to say pretty bad. No matter how colorful or skillful the animation (and I will credit the filmmakers with that), you just cannot get past the inane idea that emojis exist and have feelings. Aside from that the adventure is short and boring. The jokes are lame. Not one of the worst films of all time as its single digit Rotten Tomatoes approval rating would suggest, but it is a horrible movie.

The Band Wagon (1953, Directed by Vincente Minnelli) English 10

Starring Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Oscar Levant, Nanette Fabray, Jack Buchanan

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Fred Astaire is Tony Hunter, a once famous song and dance movie star, now attempting to make a comeback on the stage. Joining him in the production of The Band Wagon are the quarreling writers Lily and Lester Marton (Fabray and Levant), the egotistical director, Jeffrey Cordova (Buchanan), and the young and beautiful Gabriel Gerard (Charisse) who bickers relentlessly with Tony before the two fall hopelessly in love. The best of Vincente Minnelli’s musicals which is to say the best of all musicals. Unique for its early use of meta humor with Astaire playing a caricature of himself at that point of his career. What’s best is its undertones of sadness in portraying the rigors of putting on a show filled with joy. Minnelli and Astaire were tremendous artists and this was their masterpiece.

Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (1984, Directed by Steven Spielberg) English 10

Starring Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Amrish Puri, Roshan Seth, Jonathan Ke Quan

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Indy (Ford) returns, though set before the events of the first one, here, stumbling upon a small village in India losing its children to a Thuggee cult. He investigates with the help of Short Round, his young Chinese sidekick, and the diva-esque Willie Scott (Capshaw), leading him to a remote temple full of bizarre rituals and horrors in every corner. My favorite popcorn flick. I adore this movie and every odd choice. No one is better than Spielberg at layering the suspense, or raising the stakes mid-action scene. Superior to the original, thanks to Short Round and the compelling, exotic location. Countless memorable moments including the killer opening.

Gigi (1958, Directed by Vincente Minnelli) English 7

Starring Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan, Hermione Gingold, Eva Gabor

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Set in 1900s Paris, Gigi tells the story of a young courtesan in training named Gilberte (Caron) who attracts the attention of a bored aristocrat and family friend, Gaston (Jourdan). The level of craftsmanship on display by Minnelli, the director, and his cast and crew is remarkable. Truly one of the beautiful films you’ll ever see. However, I’ve always found the film lacking in anything substantial. As a classic musical, it’s meant as pure escapism and so it isn’t necessary that it be profound or dramatic, but this film lacks any drama. The main conflict is essentially a matter of how much Gaston loves Gilberte. Does he want her just as a mistress or as a wife? I didn’t find that gripping enough. The soundtrack has some nice moments, but pales in comparison with Lerner and Loew’s My Fair Lady.

The Age of Innocence (1993, Directed by Martin Scorsese) English 10

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder, Richard E. Grant, Geraldine Chaplin, Jonathan Pryce

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New York, 1870s. Newland Archer (Day-Lewis) appears to live a charmed life. He’s affluent, handsome, and engaged to the beautiful May Welland (Ryder), but his passion is awakened when he meets his fiancĂ©’s troubled cousin, Ellen Olenska (Pfieffer), who’s still married and looked upon by society unfavorably. My favorite novel, Scorsese adapts Edith Wharton’s work beautifully, demonstrating an unparalleled level of craft and skill. His camera, constantly moving, gives an impressionistic depiction of upscale New York civilization, and true to the book’s themes, we see how in a society as rich and beautiful as Newland Archer dwells in, a man can still be trapped, his soul crushed. There’s the perception of freedom, but honorable men such as Newland, have their life made for them. Until we get to the haunting finale, which is heartbreaking.

Pillow Talk (1959, Directed by Michael Gordon) English 8

Starring Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Tony Randall, Thelma Ritter, Nick Adams

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In the days of something called a “party line,” where multiple people shared telephone service with each other, a successful interior decorator, Jan Morrow (Day), finds her line constantly in use by a womanizing stranger, Brad Allen (Hudson). Although the two bicker incessantly, Brad’s feelings change when he sees her in person, so he (knowing she only knows him by his voice) pretends to be a gentleman from Texas in order to woo her. Acts almost as a time capsule as it is very much of its time. The party line, the Doris Day music, the sparkling Eastmancolor. That’s not to say it’s dated badly, because it remains a blast, and the pairing of Day and Hudson (who did a couple of more films together) show great chemistry.