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  • Black Panther

    Black Panther

    ★★★½

    The best Marvel film to-date, certainly the most important comic-book film of all time and possibly the greatest. The action is taught and visceral but doesn't overstay its welcome, the script is cookie-cutter but every scene takes care to develop both characters AND plot - a rare feat for a blockbuster - the performances are great, and the costume design by Ruth Baker deserves every accolade it will no doubt receive. I'll probably see it twice, but everyone needs to see it at least once.

  • Tehran Taboo

    Tehran Taboo

    ★★★

    A beautifully rotoscoped and affecting look at modern theocracy and deviance in Iran, with particular care given to the plight of women in a misogynistic society that uses religion as an excuse for the oppression of female agency and sexuality. The plot delves into groan-worthy melodrama at times, but these moments are offset by the visceral honesty. This is a fine addition to the compendium of ensemble-cast city films a la Magnolia and, particularly, Mizoguchi's Street of Shame.

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  • Fifty Shades Freed

    Fifty Shades Freed

    ½

    I saw this tequila-drunk and without any knowledge of the story of the previous two movies, but my inability to make sense of the plot here had nothing to do with a lack of prior-knowledge or an abundance of alcohol. There is no A-Plot, at least not until the last twenty minutes; there is no rhyme or reason to the way plot lines are picked up and immediately abandoned without any resolution. All of the sex scenes are so mind-bendingly vanilla I'm confused why anyone thinks these books are hot. This film is missionary position.

  • Howl's Moving Castle

    Howl's Moving Castle

    ★★★★

    Miyazaki at both his most commercial and his most innovative, with thrilling Hollywood-esque set-pieces grounded by fantasy silliness and charm.