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Khoi has written 26 reviews for films rated ★★½ during 2018.

  • Aquaman

    Aquaman

    ★★½

    An incredibly elaborate log flume ride.

  • Bel Canto

    Bel Canto

    ★★½

    Not a failure, but Weitz can’t seem to do more than just glance over the emotional depths of the story. Anxious editing doesn’t help, either.

  • Lion

    Lion

    ★★½

    When Nicole Kidman appears at about the midpoint, you think for a while that the film is going to be able to successfully transition from its remarkably confident, documentarian first half into a successfully nuanced indie feelgood piece for the remainder. Kidman does all she can toward that end, but stars Dev Patel and Rooney Mara can’t help her. Their onscreen heft is too sleight and their chemistry too tepid. Worse, the script fails to offer them anything substantial to work with; there is virtually no depth and certainly no surprise to the way this story resolves itself.

  • In the Fade

    In the Fade

    ★★½

    Average.

  • The Place Beyond the Pines

    The Place Beyond the Pines

    ★★½

    The first third is incredibly self-assured filmmaking, but the director can’t hold it together for the remainder.

  • The Parent Trap

    The Parent Trap

    ★★½

    Cloying and syrupy, exactly as expected.

  • The Way of the Gun

    The Way of the Gun

    ★★½

    I remembered liking it when it debuted two decades ago but the first hour or so I was surprised to find it somewhat overwrought, as if McQuarrie hadn't been able to fully bake his creation. Then towards the second half, it started to really come together, and shows more of what has become McQuarrie's trademark storytelling rigor. Not a great movie, but a worthwhile progression.

  • You Were Never Really Here

    You Were Never Really Here

    ★★½

    So beautifully crafted that it’s a shame it wastes itself on a story about an emotionally crippled middle aged man finding salvation in an underaged girl.

  • Red Sparrow

    Red Sparrow

    ★★½

    The marketing way oversold the salacious bits, which are ridiculous, making the movie seem much more absurd than it is. On the whole it’s reasonably entertaining.

  • The Ipcress File

    The Ipcress File

    ★★½

    Points for style but demerits for torpor.

  • Mission: Impossible

    Mission: Impossible

    ★★½

    My family wanted to watch it again, so I tried as best as I could to see it with a cold eye. And I definitely could see why it works so well for so many people, but it’s also so patchy and sloppy. Things I couldn’t abide: dispensing with the deeply fascinating Kristin Scott Thomas in favor of the monotonous Emmanuelle Beart; the ploddingly expositional dialogue the pervades throughout; the fact that to bring Ethan Hunt in from the cold…

  • From the Land of the Moon

    From the Land of the Moon

    ★★½

    Pretty ridiculous but largely well made.