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  • Avengers: Infinity War

    Avengers: Infinity War

    ★★★★

    This is perhaps the most critic-proof of all Marvel Studios productions to date -- a super-sequel drawing on dozens of movies, relying on scads of extant characterization, with a page-to-screen fidelity in what serialized comic events feel like. It doesn't aspire to stand on its own as a movie, it doesn't pretend to be a movie. The screen is so inundated with characters that it's impossible for any of them to arc -- their stories are unfinished, and begun in…

  • A Quiet Place

    A Quiet Place

    ★★★★

    This totally exceeded my expectations. While the sign language conceit, the dampening of aural input to heighten attention and tension, and the use of long takes to increase immersion, are not new -- 2014's The Tribe had all these on lock -- it's a great fit for the story, and builds interest right into the premise from the jump. It's great to see such a good hook deployed with such a strong crew and ample budget; Charlotte Bruus Christensen, the…

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  • Black Panther

    Black Panther

    ★★★★

    There's a lot here. There's a LOT here. As a fan and apologist of Marvel House Style, I will reluctantly admit that where this film is at its most Marvel-y, it's at its weakest. But even liberalism, weak structural scaffolding, and the closed sandbox feel of a franchise movie, cannot dilute the revelatory power of the things Black Panther does do.

    Ryan Coogler and his fantastic cast use gesture and movement perhaps better than any blockbuster in history. The production…

  • Justice League

    Justice League

    Wow, this is a misfire on every conceivable level.

    After no fewer than four scenes jockeying for “first sequence” -- in no intelligible causal order, a ponderously slow and grating vertical cameraphone video of Superman, a ludicrous fakeout-fight leading to a cheesy parademon rumble and mind-boggling expository dump, an overwrought funeral montage set to a bad Leonard Cohen cover, and Wonder Woman doing sorta-superheroic things -- we're off to the races, in a totally batshit litany of seemingly disconnected events…