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  • Black Panther

    Black Panther

    ★★★

    The most joyful, and probably best, film the MCU has ever produced but these things have a clear, corporate-imposed ceiling for artistic expression. And if this couldn't break through it, nothing will. There is some room for improvement even within the franchise framework (the CGI is atrocious) but nothing substantial that would be possible without changing the core of the whole enterprise. Its radical ideas are ravishing and energizing but neutered by the mandates of the conservative, capitalist behemoth behind…

  • The Shape of Water

    The Shape of Water

    ★★½

    Never thought I would ever get the feeling that del Toro is actively coasting. That might be an unkind description of a film that has such a visible amount of technical craft and labor put into it. But even that artistry feels like it is on calculated display, playing into the film’s overall desire to weaponize its director’s reputation for fairy tales, and childlike creativity, and all those things that got you labeled a “visionary” on your posters before everyone…

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  • Total Recall

    Total Recall

    ★★★½

    Kept thinking that this could have been a bona fide masterpiece if Cronenberg was behind the camera, so you can imagine my disappointment when I found out he was actually working on the project before Verhoeven. Even more importantly, his version was in development before Schwarzenegger's involvement. I love seeing Arnie as much as any '90s kid, but his skillset - and appearance - is fundamentally incompatible with the demands of this movie. While Arnold's screen persona hurts the movie,…

  • The Duke of Burgundy

    The Duke of Burgundy

    ★★★★½

    look, if your movie doesn't have a "perfume by" credit, what is even the point