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  • Alien: Covenant

    Alien: Covenant

    ★★

    Strange state for this franchise in that it continues to explore new, absorbing thematic avenues while exhibiting a creative bankruptcy of form. Covenant's first hour and final half-hour are structured (and play out) exactly as one who has seen previous entries would expect. I'm almost surprised at how transparently Scott and co. regurgitate Alien and Prometheus—and somehow the characters act even dumber than they did in the latter. There's no denying that the film "looks great," but because it's so…

  • Yellow Sky

    Yellow Sky

    ★★★★½

    Nevermind any Tempest connections; Yellow Sky easily stands on its own. Its post-Civil War narrative parallels, to some extent, the post-WWII era in which the film was produced: a group of frayed young men, too familiar with violence, find themselves adrift in an environment where a young woman and an elderly man pursue financial prosperity (though with the "greater good" in mind). The ensuing conflict examines the breakdown of collective action in the face of greed and, more subconsciously, sexism.…

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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…