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  • Mountains May Depart

    Mountains May Depart

    ★★★★

    An interesting portrait of China in three moments: 1999, just as the current economic boom was getting going; 2014, the "present-day"; and 2025, a vision of the future and the Chinese diaspora. What's interesting is that present and past China is almost as science fictional as the future image of Australia, in its preoccupations and temporality. An image of what Mark Fisher would call "Capitalist Realism." Another clear-eyed look at contemporary China (and our world) from Jia Zhang-ke.

  • Star Trek Beyond

    Star Trek Beyond

    ★★★

    An enjoyable sci-fi romp, Star Trek Beyond captures the B-movie charm of some of Ster Trek's best moments. Chris Pine comes into his own as Kirk, both fully inhabiting the role and coming the closest of all the recast parts of feeling like the same character as Shatner's (I do not feel the same about Quinto's Spock, who remains a bland weak-spot, or John Cho's Sulu, who lacks Takei's impish charm and is given very little to do).

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  • The Thing

    The Thing

    ★★★★★

    Carpenter's film is such a wonderful science fiction horror, building the suspense to a perfect ending. The setting is sublime in its isolation. The creature effects remain deeply disturbing and uncanny. I can't think of another film that captures Lovecraftian horror as well. A truly great film that stands up to repeat viewings.

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel

    The Grand Budapest Hotel

    ★★★★½

    This wonderful film is the closest Wes Anderson has come to making an epic. Part-The Rules of the Game and part-The Great Dictator, it's a paean to the gentile Old World of Anderson's imagination, yet notes the impossibility of the dream and the contributions of diversity and immigrants. Ralph Fiennes' M. Gustav is a remarkable creation and one of the most well-realized comic characters in recent cinema.