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  • The Cloverfield Paradox

    The Cloverfield Paradox

    ★½

    There’s a wonderful moment in William Gaddis’s novel JR in which the eponymous hero, an enterprising schoolboy turned overnight Wall Street tycoon in command of a motley business empire, cooks up an ingenuous ploy to turn a manufacturing error into a stroke of fortune. JR makes matches, but they aren’t made well, and customers have been complaining they snap in half. So he embraces it. “That’s how we’re advertising them now, with this added snapoff safety feature,” he tells his…

  • Groundhog Day

    Groundhog Day

    ★★★½

    The essential joke of Groundhog Day is that, for many of us, having to repeat the same day again and again isn’t outlandish science-fiction but a plain fact of reality. That’s why the title so swiftly entered the cultural lexicon: we can relate to the tedium of waking up to the same alarm every morning, of encountering the same friends and strangers with their unvarying small talk and salutations, of feeling trapped in a relentless mundane routine. Days just rarely…

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  • Suicide Squad

    Suicide Squad

    ½

    Something I’ve learned writing about the cinema professionally for a number of years is that there are bad movies and bad times at the movies, and the latter are considerably worse. Bad movies can be laugh riots, howlers, like shoddy horror pictures or inane science-fiction, to be indulged in or cackled through or suffered with glee. Bad movies are often likeable, or somehow charming, or else might endear themselves to you with personality or ambition, like, say, Southland Tales or…

  • Suburbicon

    Suburbicon

    just because you're in some Coen brothers movies doesn't mean you can make a Coen brothers movie