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  • Suicide Squad

    Suicide Squad

    ★★

    How can a movie have no second act and still be way too long? I dunno. But here is a movie that clearly wants to be about 3-4 people but must accommodate another 5 or so or reasons that are unclear to anyone outside of anyone making money off toys.

    Typically, I want DC movies to be more experimental than Marvel ones, which play it safe at every opportunity -- this marked the first time I wish the DC folks…

  • The Descent

    The Descent

    ★★★★

    I don't necessarily value meanness and storytelling efficiency above all other traits in horror, but I sure do admire them a lot. This one is both mean AND efficient, setting up 6 distinct protagonists in a short amount of time and putting them in a terrifying situation... before adding a whole other layer of fight-or-die. It's quite a trick, keeping everything essential and not feeling like you're simply loading a script down with calls to be responded to further down…

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  • John Dies at the End

    John Dies at the End

    ★★★½

    Seems like it's less than half the book's contents, which is a good thing -- the book is by its nature disjointed and hard to summarize, and benefits greatly from Coscarelli's comparatively more economical take.

    What the movie does very well -- besides visualize many of the book's best gags brilliantly (lookin' at you, bratwurst) -- is literalize the story's sensation that the ramblings of a paranoid schizophrenic might actually be, y'know, true. The tale always has the hook of…

  • The Magnificent Seven

    The Magnificent Seven

    ★★★

    Not great, not bad. Firmly a matinee movie, or a lazy-Saturday-afternoon-on-basic-cable experience.

    What impresses most is the reliance on practical effects and stunt work. Just as many argue (correctly or not) you shouldn't notice a score that's really doing its job, I probably shouldn't have been thinking of the planning and complexity of all the action I saw -- and there is a lot, this movie has the action-to-story ratio of MAN OF STEEL, complete with bombastic third act --…