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  • mother!

    mother!

    ★★★★

    If nothing else, you can’t deny “mother!” earned its exclamation point.

    An allegory so undisguised that it barely qualifies as an allegory. It’s more like a smoothie: blend one (1) King James Bible, the Big Bang / Big Crunch wikipedia article, a heavy splash of Lars Von Trier-esque torture of a beautiful woman, season to taste with climate change studies, and suffer through it.

    A male filmmaker portraying a male artist as god, simultaneously elevating and exploiting the woman that…

  • Wonder Woman

    Wonder Woman

    ★★★½

    The default tone for most of Warner Bros.’ superhero movies so far has been “punishingly dour”. Considering the poor reception for so many of its recent attempts, if Warner Bros. wants to find a way forward that isn’t merely to copy Marvel Studios, they’re already found it. Wonder Woman leaves the adolescent self-seriousness behind, adopts a sense of fun, and remembers the “hero” in superhero.

    Considering this triumph, it’s all the more mystifying that Bryan Singer and Zack Snyder screwed…

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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,…

  • 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…