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  • The Gamma People

    The Gamma People

    ★★½

    "Gamma People" is a British-American co-poduction set in the fictional Eastern Bloc dictatorship of Guadavia, a one-village country barely large enough to show up on a map. Somehow this poor little nation has mustered the resources to embark on a genetic manipulation program that turns children into either geniuses or mindless monsters. The geniuses are being trained to take over the world while the monsters become knuckle-dragging cops who help Guadavia maintain its low profile.

    One day, a railway passenger…

  • Black Panther

    Black Panther

    ★★★★½

    Superhero films have often dealt with political, racial and socioeconomic conflicts as subtext but this may be the first to put them up front as the driving forces of the film. "Black Panther" is an operatic tale in which these issues (as well as questions of honor, duty and family) propel the action (yes, there's plenty of action) and provide critical motivation for every character. It's a complex and absorbing tale that carries significant weight ... so much so that…

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  • Star Wars

    Star Wars

    ★★★★½

    There's not much new to be said about one of the best sci-fi action adventure flicks of all time. Quippy dialog and hammy acting rooted in the classic mid-20th century sci-fi serials, a fast-moving story, rousing music and spectacular special effects all combine in a nearly flawless way for the cinematic experience of a lifetime. The film industry has changed quite a bit since then in terms of visual technique and digital effects, but the basic storytelling really doesn't get…

  • Whiplash

    Whiplash

    ★★★★★

    Whiplash has received a lot of attention for its visceral and at times brutal portrayal of the relationship between an ambitious young music student and the volatile college professor who alternately inspires and abuses him. We've seen a lot of music films going back to the thirties that deal with these same themes so we're all familiar by now with the numerous and well-worn cliches which make the odds of seeing something new and different pretty slim at this point.…