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  • The Great Wall

    The Great Wall

    ★★★★

    It's as if Zhang Yimou wanted to make Gremlins 3: The Much Bigger Batch, but had to do so in a way that was a logical extension of his oeuvre. I mean that in the best possible way. Hell, I even loved Matt Damon's accent.

  • Logan

    Logan

    ★★★★

    An acquaintance described it to me as “Leaving Las Vegas with talons,” which perhaps got me a little bit too excited for the obvious reasons (and I prefer it to the oft-used No Country for X-Men). It’s definitely up there with 3:10 to Yuma as far as Mangold’s best recent output, though – and I really appreciated the additional character focus. Still, the more “human” portrait of Wolverine—and Jackman acting his ass off like I’ve never seen before—creates an odd…

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  • Compliance

    Compliance

    ½

    There are two reasons that Craig Zobel could have decided to make Compliance, both equally wrongheaded:

    1) Zobel simply wanted to expose this case (and, by extension, the others like it) to the world, without any sort of greater message. While I don't buy this as the filmmaker's motivation for a second, some people have argued such, so I'll address it...

    Put simply: text-based reporting, as had already been done extensively in this case (meaning, no further examination was really…

  • Take Shelter

    Take Shelter

    ★★★★★

    The best film of 2011 is also the most criminally under-seen. Blue-collar, Midwestern father Curtis LaForche is either developing paranoid schizophrenia or accurately prophesizing the apocalypse — a binary that could have all too easily become fodder for hokey metaphor. But with writer/director Jeff Nichols and actor Michael Shannon at the helm (their second film together, following 2007’s Shotgun Stories), Curtis becomes one of the most authentically human characters in the history of cinema. He may be the symbolic fulcrum…