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  • Dunkirk

    Dunkirk

    ★★★

    Nolan is a gifted (though not masterful) filmmaker and a great ambassador of cinema, but an experiential war movie fails if it keeps the viewer at arm's length. At no point does Dunkirk grip or envelope for a you-are-here experience like, say, Saving Private Ryan accomplishes in its Omaha Beach sequence. The time-shifting narrative structure is not only unjustified, it's detrimental: (1) it robs the film of significant tension by contracting the Army's week-long wait for evacuation, (2) it undermines…

  • A Ghost Story

    A Ghost Story

    ★★★

    (I sat on this reaction writeup for a week because I wanted to digest the film a bit more. Unfortunately my opinion hasn't changed.)

    For a film ostensibly about human life on Earth and "the enormity of time," A Ghost Story is strangely bereft of feeling and insight. The film's central relationship generates no emotional entanglement with which to carry us through the ghost's curious existence. There's a distancing effect to Lowery's style. Counterintuitively, the early sections of the film…

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  • Tusk

    Tusk

    ½

    Among the stupidest films I've ever had the displeasure of seeing. There are maybe fifteen minutes of competent filmmaking craft (which comprise the bulk of the trailer), and they expire well before the midpoint. Mostly, Tusk displays a complete lack of understanding in basic storytelling concepts: pertinent exposition, suspense vs. surprise, effective flashbacks, and, uh, story logic. Smith shows his hand far too early and then spends the remaining time putzing around with mundane eccentricity and narrative redundancy. While Tusk

  • Selma

    Selma

    ★★★★

    It's hard to believe the first major motion picture about Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn't made until 2014, but its arrival couldn't have come at a better time. To say race relations in the United States have been strained recently is a vast understatement. While much progress has been made since the days of the Civil Rights Movement, there is still plenty left to accomplish. Selma, with immense skill, illustrates that reality.

    The exclusion of opening credits immediately tells the…