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  • Cloud Atlas

    Cloud Atlas

    ★★★★½

    Books are books, and movies are movies. I usually don't want or expect any adaptation to copy its source -- in fact, it's usually in everyone's best interests for a derivative work to strive to be its own thing, and not… well, derivative. But Tom Tykwer and Lana & Larry Wachowski's Cloud Atlas turned out to be an astonishingly faithful adaptation of David Mitchell's novel. For a book so sprawling and commonly deemed unadaptable, I fully expected more characters and incident…

  • Aliens vs Predator: Requiem

    Aliens vs Predator: Requiem

    ½

    Ridley Scott's original Alien is one of the most effective and influential horror films ever made, and a personal favorite of mine, with no apologies. Its art direction and visual aesthetic were so far ahead of their time that pretty much only the haircuts have dated, but the real keys to its longevity are its brains and depth of substance. No doubt there have since been dozens of graduate school dissertations on its gender themes and often overtly sexualized imagery…

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  • The Counselor

    The Counselor

    ★★★

    Cormac McCarthy and Ridley Scott were bound to be an odd couple in any case. All the richly composed and poetic dialogue in the world doesn't disguise the fact The Counselor is basically a grimy, scuzzy, sleazy, feel-bad potboiler.

    There is an element of pulp to several of McCarthy's novels, but here it's brought to the forefront. As highly regarded as he is as a literary novelist, his subject matter is still mostly comprised of cowboys, bandits, whores, thieves, madmen,…

  • Mad Max: Fury Road

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    ★★★★½

    A dystopia ruled by three corporate fiefdoms: petrochemicals, munitions, and Aqua-Cola. A diseased and starving population terrorized by a religious army motivated by martyrdom. A decadent ruling class reliant upon the subjugation of women. Environmental collapse. Car culture run amok.

    It must be escapist summer blockbuster season! In case I sound too snarky, let me be clear: I checked my pacifism at the door and loved it. More visionary lunatic filmmakers should get multimillion dollar budgets.

    I was going to…