Dunkirk (2017)

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Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II. (IMDb)
I appreciated the effort to strip any story fluff or contrived emotions away from the event at hand, and along with the triple-timeline narrative it made for a tightly focused and refreshing approach to the genre, but in the end its lack of exposition on the event’s scope and context (just a title screen wasn’t enough for me) made for a bit of an underwhelming experience, despite the amazing visuals, tense action set pieces, solid acting, and perfectly subtle yet strong character work.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

Inception (2010)

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A thief, who steals corporate secrets through use of dream-sharing technology, is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO. (IMDb)
The (literal) levels to which Nolan expounds upon his (literally) mind-bending premise are extraordinary, and his resulting film is nothing short of spectacular, as he (mostly) tactfully exposits his fascinating concepts through two complimentary and converging tracks: One action-oriented and exciting; the other character-focused and emotional. Brilliant cinematography (Arthur’s hotel fight is one highlight), engaging turns, and excellent music decorate this exhilarating and exquisite thriller.
9.5/10 (Breathtaking)

 

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

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A woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in postapocalyptic Australia in search for her home-land with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshipper, and a drifter named Max. (IMDb)
You know when there’s a wounded pregnant woman narrowly dodging a rock overhang while hanging off the side of a steampunk-style big rig that this is far from your typical action film. A gloriously refreshing set of protagonists (Theron leads a great cast of females young and old) drives (literally; it’s almost all insane car chases) forward a simple apocalyptic story beautifully filmed and fantastically decorated. Max’s backstory flashes are a little distracting without any context though.
9/10 (Amazing)

The Revenant (2015)

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A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. (IMDb)
An immaculate cinematic experience; gorgeous forested landscapes and their well-worn inhabitants are captured in spectacular natural light and with as much gritty detail as breathtaking breadth. Swelling strings and impeccable action-camerawork add further flair. DiCaprio’s committed turn drives forward a brutal and bloody survival/revenge plot that fits its severe setting like a glove with its stark visceral simplicity, while Hardy and co. offer strong support in their own secondary narrative.
9/10 (Amazing)

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Eight years after the Joker’s reign of anarchy, the Dark Knight is forced to return from his imposed exile to save Gotham City from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane with the help of the enigmatic Catwoman. (IMDb)
The entertainment value here is again sky high, with nary a dull moment; the narrative is wonderfully layered with constant twists and turns at each level. It doesn’t feel quite as deep or dark as its predecessor, and Hardy’s Bane isn’t quite as interesting as Ledger’s Joker (although that was a tough act to follow), but the plot’s new lows of despair for Batman and Gotham, along with the cast additions of Hathaway and Gordon-Levitt, add freshness and help craft for it its own positive identity.
9/10 (Amazing)