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  • Down

    Down

    ★★½

    DOWN is a bizarre little tongue-in-cheek horror thrill-avator movie.  On the one hand, nothing really works.  Some of the horror is cheesy; dialog, characters, and performances fluctuate back and forth between self-aware confidence and preposterousness; special effects vary in quality.

    But it’s clear that director Dick Maas has a passion for his final product.  The scenes consistently have an energy, and several of the elevator shaft scenes are clever little horror setups.

    It’s also fun to see this mashup of…

  • Sicario: Day of the Soldado

    Sicario: Day of the Soldado

    ★★½

    I expect SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO will improve greatly upon a second viewing.  I just get that impression.  I think the political upper ranks game-playing and accountability-volleying will be more interesting.  The subplot involving a child’s recruitment into entry-level drug cartel work will likely feel a bit more fully developed and less subtle.

    But, man!  I’m not interested in my second viewing any time soon.  SICARIO 2 is a slow-moving rummaging around in the (mostly front lines) world of…

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  • Manhunter

    Manhunter

    ★★★★½

    Michael Mann’s staples are all there—beautiful horizon vistas; haunting synthesizer scoring; Miami-colorscapes (although it’s set in Atlanta).  But the Thomas Harris source material gives Mann an extra level of depth to work with.

    The FBI manhunt and Peterson’s character’s inner turmoil add a thoughtful, thorough depth. The screenplay includes cat-and-mouse imagery and symbolism that ramp up MANHUNTER’s value and how it resonates.  And Lecter’s (Lektor’s) appearance lend an under current of creepiness to the film.  And Brian Cox as the…

  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

    Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

    ★★½

    Long gone is the wonder and awe of the first Jurassic film.  Even the second film’s sense of an adventure-safari through time is totally spent.  CGI has brought us enough photo-realistic monsters and peril over the years that the awe of being under a brachiosaurus looking up or the adrenaline from racing beside a stampeding one is way harder to come by.  Audiences expect more.

    So at first when the events of JURASSIC WORLD left the Island taking the prehistoric…