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  • Sweetheart

    Sweetheart

    ★★½

    Functions best as a solo desert island survival story, as Kiersey Clemons is most likable when given minimal dialogue. The slow reveal of the monster – a semi-decent shark-man, though still very typical of Neville Paige's style – works pretty well. Once a group of other people float into the story, the film degrades into directionless bickering and other attempts to pad this out to feature length.

  • Doctor Sleep

    Doctor Sleep

    ★★½

    Where “The Shining” was cold and calculated, “Doctor Sleep” is sentimental and meandering. (It often feels like a Netflix show cut down to a feature.) Despite that, Mike Flanigan is reverent of Kubrick, distractingly recreating several shots from the original. This is also the kind of movie where the dialogue directly explains the themes. It's all pretty dopey yet the actors – McGregor especially – are quite good, the villains are occasionally fascinating, and the trippy psychic communication scenes are pretty fun.

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  • It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown

    It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown

    ★★

    As with any beloved institution, thoughts eventually turned towards sequelizing “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Of course, “It’s Christmas Time Again, Charlie Brown” came twenty-seven years after the original, after the “Peanuts” specials had cycled through every other calendar event imaginable.

    A lot had change in those two and a half decades. The “Peanuts” supporting cast had evolved considerably. Iconic pop culture quasi-lesbian couple Marcy and Peppermint Patty had long been added to the crew. Snoopy had gained a sidekick in…

  • The Babadook

    The Babadook

    ★★★★

    Every year, I endeavor to see a newly released horror movie, preferably in the theaters. Because, while Halloween is about revisiting old favorites, it should be about new discoveries too. Of course, I did see a new horror movie in the theater this season, “Dracula Untold.” But that barely counts. I had other options, like fucking “Ouija,” ugh. The horror movie I really wanted to see, though, was “The Babadook,” a new Australian film that had been getting rave reviews…