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  • Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

    Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

    ★★

    I love the obi-wan sleuth stuff and some of the pulpy world building and scenery is stunningly beautiful. Most everything else falls flat, and the movie ultimately sinks under the weight of a budding love story that is a stifled, lifeless facsimile of real people falling in love. Their chemistry is so unnatural you can feel the impotence rising.

  • Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

    Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

    ★★★★

    After years of reconciling my disappointment, I've finally wrapped back around to an unabashed appreciation for this weird little Lucasian space movie. The set pieces are astonishing, the design work impeccable, and even with a bit of primitive FX work, the movie has such a beautiful tactile feel that would vanish in the digital cameras and CGI maelstrom of the next two. I've even mellowed on Jar Jar a bit. His Buster Keaton moments are silly but fun. And while Jake Lloyd is a bit lost in the role, I think his guileless performance is an asset to the movie.

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  • Mission: Impossible - Fallout

    Mission: Impossible - Fallout

    ★★★★½

    McQuarrie might just be the best engineer of long, propulsive action set pieces currently working. Truly astonishing, each and every one. I was also really impressed by all the little nods and story threads seamlessly weaved in from the other Missions. And beyond the thrills, the way they dug into Ethan's motivations, beautifully defining his raison d'être and his moral compass in a way we haven't really seen before...it was surprisingly moving. I loved it.

  • Warcraft

    Warcraft

    ★★½

    Awesomely dorky depictions of magic aside, this is a garish, confused, lumbering mess of a movie. And yet it doesn't feel like the typical summer blockbuster, not like it was forged on the assembly line of safe bets for the summer audience. It embraces its niche roots audaciously, and it has a real conscience and intelligence hidden beneath the vibrant digital wankery. It might fail at being a good movie, but it at least tries to be a different one.