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  • A Place in the Sun

    A Place in the Sun

    ★★★½

    It starts out well enough: a lived-in, class-conscious love triangle, with Montgomery Clift giving an almost comically haunted performance and Stevens doing a lot of interesting visual things (especially with foreground-background action). A little derivative of Gatsby, maybe, but steal from the best, right? But eventually the whole thing descends into implausible melodrama and misery for misery's sake. The film sets up a lot of ideas and characters early on only to do nothing with them. Past a certain point, you realize if the film ever had things to say, it's already run out of them.

  • Hidden Figures

    Hidden Figures

    ★★★★

    It's... fine. Actually, it's good. There's a version of this film that is Oscar-by-Numbers*. The version we got isn't, honestly, far off from that, but it's done with a level of nuance and detail that elevates it a step or two above.

    Although, counterpoint, what the hell is the deal with those Pharell songs.

    * Easiest diagnostic of Oscar-by-Numbers: 1. is the only thing being praised about it the cast?; 2. is it based on a historical famous person?

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  • Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange

    ★★½

    Hey, remember last year's Doctor Strange? The one escapist distraction we had around election time? Yeah, well, do you want to see the plot of that movie, without all the things people liked, like the groundbreaking effects, or the grounded sense of humor that made the whole thing plausible?

    Have I got a movie for you.

  • The Eagle Huntress

    The Eagle Huntress

    ★★★★

    It's a bit Disney, thematically, but those themes work for a reason; it's still effective to see this girl stand up against sexism, triumph over nature, relate to her family, etc.

    And it's equally fascinating to see the alien details of her life in rural Mongolia, one of the most remote places on Earth, and the film smartly gives that time, focusing not only on the action-movie elements of the eagle hunts but also anticipating mundane question about the character's…