'La La Land'
'La La Land'

By: Michael Parnell
Writer and director Damien Chazelle reinvigorates the classic Hollywood musical with "La La Land," and his two stars, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, deliver Oscar-worthy performances. (Photo: Lionsgate)

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'Moana'
'Moana'

By: Ircel Harrison
Disney's "Moana" is the story of a strong-willed Polynesian princess teamed up with a mythological demigod, whose story of redemption is one of the animated film's key themes. (Photo: Walt Disney Studios)

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'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'
'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'

By: Michael Parnell
"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" tells the saga of what took place before that first Star Wars movie in 1977. It's a rousing film that takes its role seriously as part of a larger whole. (Photo: Disney / Lucasfilm)

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'Loving'
'Loving'

By: Michael Parnell
"Loving" tells the story of an interracial couple marrying in 1950s Virginia. Their union violates state law, and they take their battle to the Supreme Court. One of the year's best films. (Photo: Focus Features)

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'Arrival'
'Arrival'

By: Ircel Harrison
Thoughtful science fiction films are few and far between. 'Arrival' is one such rare gem. In this close encounter, we're challenged by what it means to communicate with those who are different from us. (Photo: Paramount)

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'Doctor Strange'
'Doctor Strange'

By: Michael Parnell
The newest comic-book movie on the block, "Doctor Strange," introduces the topic of the spiritual into the Marvel Universe. While serviceable, it tries too hard to cram too much into the story. (Photo: Marvel)

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'The Birth of a Nation'
'The Birth of a Nation'

By: Michael Parnell
"The Birth of a Nation" may have its flaws, but it tells an important story about a preacher to the slave community who can no longer preach submission and calls his fellow slaves to rise up. (Photo: Fox Searchlight)

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'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'
'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

By: Joe LaGuardia
Although the plot seems recycled from "A New Hope," the blockbuster "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is a rousing tale that reminds us of our own uncertainties. (Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

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'Trumbo'
'Trumbo'

By: Ircel Harrison
'Trumbo,' a film about a blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter, reminds us how easily we turn on those who are different from us. It's particularly interesting in light of our current political climate. (Photo: Bleeker Street Media)

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