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  • Loving

    Loving

    ★★★★

    The story of the Lovings is quite compelling. It would be hard not to like a film that celebrates their triumph. Still, I wasn't entirely thrilled by the way this was handled. It felt like pieces of the story were missing, deliberately overlooked so as not to disturb the film's relentlessly quiet atmosphere. Remember when movies used to actually discuss issues? Now it's all pregnant pauses and pensive looks. Has conversation become passé? In the end, however, the great performances by the two lead actors won me over.

  • The Magnificent Seven

    The Magnificent Seven

    ★★½

    This is a good-looking western, but I just didn't care much about what was happening in it. The characters are introduced, there's a lot of shooting, and the survivors ride off into the sunset. What the film really lacks is a decent villain. Peter Sarsgaard is neither believable nor interesting as the heavy, and none of his henchmen are given the opportunity to stand out from the rest of the cannon fodder. Denzel Washington is great in this, which makes…

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  • The Lost World

    The Lost World

    ★★★

    Beyond the basic premise of dinosaurs in South America, the plot of this adaptation bears little resemblance to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original novel, but it does manage to evoke the general atmosphere of the story. Claude Rains captures the blustery arrogance of Professor Challenger, Conan Doyle's sci-fi hero. Performances by the rest of the cast are pretty dismal, except for maybe Fernando Lamas as a creepy, guitar-wielding helicopter pilot.

    Instead of using claymation for the dinosaurs, the special effects…

  • The Maltese Falcon

    The Maltese Falcon

    ★★★★½

    Bogart is at his best in this classic proto-noir thriller. For a guy who played so many anti-heroes, his portrayal of Sam Spade may just be his anti-est. It's a joy to watch a movie with so many despicable yet magnetic characters. The rest of the cast is phenomenal as well, and the rapid-fire dialogue is some of the best of its era. If the film has a flaw, it may be that it's TOO talky. Would it have killed…