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  • The Edge of Seventeen

    The Edge of Seventeen

    ★½

    This movie is insincere bullshit. 

    Where to start? The "ugly" kids look like Hailee Steinfeld and have six-pack abs. Everyone but Hailee and her hot friend looks like they're 30. Her brother's enormous popularity doesn't rub off on her at all, a bullshit notion as anyone who actually went to high school can attest. 

    But the most serious crime is that the film is completely uninterested in examining what makes this unpopular, awkward girl tick, why she's an antisocial mess…

  • The Founder

    The Founder

    ★★★

    I'm gonna tell you where this falters: It makes Ray Kroc a villain of almost cartoonish proportions, giddily ripping off the poor McDonald Brothers. 

    But the thing is, the movie never demonstrates much interest in this Ray Kroc, a self-described "over-the-hill milkshake machine salesman" who stumbles upon a great idea and explodes it into a worldwide business powerhouse. He's just pure drive, and though that could be believable, it doesn't take the time as would a better film, like, say,…

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  • Live Free or Die Hard

    Live Free or Die Hard

    ★★★½

    Myopic fanboys largely just complained that this didn't have enough profanity, but as an exciting look at another bad day for Willis' John McClane, this does the trick. Wiseman's competent handling of action scenes is bolstered by Willis' enthusiastic performance, while the pacing makes it feel leaner than it actually is. Serious foul with the fighter jet/semi-truck battle, though, a scene so stupid and unnecessary that it nearly wrecks the climax.

  • La La Land

    La La Land

    ★★★★½

    "La La Land" is good news. It's a reason to smile, a musical love story that hits all the right emotional and aesthetic notes. Wunderkind director Damien Chazelle’s sophomore feature is a rare delight, a romantic ode to artistic passion and the capacity of Los Angeles to incubate great work.

    Its stars, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, aren't singers, but that's OK. Their charm, including Gosling’s handsome relatability and Stone's soulful silliness, is cinematic magic. This is Gosling and Stone’s…