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  • Ghost in the Shell

    Ghost in the Shell

    ★★★

    Having no experience with the "Ghost in the Shell" franchise, I at least had the benefit of evaluating this live-action iteration for whatever it ended up being.

    ...which could be best described as "frustrating" as there are elements of this film I really enjoyed but at the same time found myself disappointed by its deep failings. As some other reviewers described it, it seems to be "all shell, little ghost" -- but boy is the shell really great much of…

  • Dunkirk

    Dunkirk

    ★★★★½

    "Dunkirk" might be Christopher Nolan's most confident film. For a director who has spent his career depending on some kind of narrative twist or at times providing clumsy exegesis within dialog, "Dunkirk" is refreshingly clean and even straightforward much of the time in terms of plot and script.
    We already know what happened broadly at Dunkirk, and we already can imagine the kinds of things that occurred there... but Nolan makes those events specific and individual. There are stakes for…

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  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    ★★★★

    Whether the reverberations of Lucas' first trilogy here are viewed as a homage and bridge between the old and new or as a lack of imagination will depend on one's personal tastes and the long-term intentions of the creative staff.

    There is a LOT of "The Force Awakens" that echoed things we've seen before. Some of the settings seem awfully familiar even if given other names, and from a high-concept level there's not much of a plot (First Order AKA…

  • Captain America: Civil War

    Captain America: Civil War

    ★★★★½

    In some ways, "Civil War" scans as an Avengers movie, as it is mainly concerned with the team's future on the international level and has a huge roster of probably 13-14 heroes. (At some point, I lost count.) But somehow the Russos pull this off without really diluting the characters; everyone seems to get the amount of face time they deserve based on the dynamics of plot and relationship, and each is firmly established in terms of what they want,…