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  • Black Panther

    Black Panther

    ★★½

    30 second review: Culturally it’s a triumph. But narratively it’s a muddle. And a huge disappointment after Coogler’s previous two masterpieces.

  • The Raid

    The Raid

    ★★½

    Can I kick it?

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  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    ★★

    Rambly, tonally sloppy, prequelish, overlong, tedious, gimmicky but not genuinely surprising. Despite its attempts at subverting Star Wars tropes it plays entirely within the most unimaginative rules of that universe. None of the characters have real arcs; stuff happens TO them but that stuff doesn’t materially change these characters the way that Luke, Leia and Han were all changed by the end of IV and especially by the end of V. Ultimately it’s just a complete drag to leave yet another Star Wars movie disappointed.

  • X-Men

    X-Men

    ★★★

    Sixteen years later the FX don't hold up, the cinematography looks chintzy, the set pieces are surprisingly small scale, and the Logan/Jean Grey tension seems forced. But Singer still got a lot right, including a wry undercurrent that never allows the movie to take itself too seriously, even if it’s a more sober and thoughtful comic book actioner than anything that came before it. He also chose the absolute correct core for the film: a surprisingly tender and plausible friendship between Hugh Jackman’s Logan and Anna Paquin’s Rogue; their connection is beautifully and understatedly delivered.