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  • How to Train Your Dragon

    How to Train Your Dragon

    ★★★½

    Most of the action is pretty thrilling, but many of the human characters have dead eyes; Gerard Butler has a dazzling forest fire red Brave beard, but his eyes look like buttons. The father/son drama is poorly written and acted; I can see why Jay Baruchel sticks to comedy.  The third act makes no sense: why would Toothless lead the Vikings to the secret dragon lair, why would all the random dragons let Hiccup’s friends hop on and ride them…

  • Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

    Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

    ★★★★½

    Hard to beat hanging out backstage with Bowie as he gives his kooky wife notes on her Ziggy Stardust makeup.  Bowie’s in peak form here in his last performance with Mick Ronson and the Spiders from Mars, acting out each song lyric with gusto.  Some of the guitar solos go on too long, but I guess Bowie needed time to change into his next outfit.  The lighting makes his face look like he’s engulfed in flames.  When he jumps from…

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  • mother!

    mother!

    ★★★★★

    David Lynch on steroids, and I mean that as a compliment, Arronofsky proves yet again why he's one of our best living directors.  This is by far Lawrence's best work, it's almost a silent performance, and she's so tuned into the role that we believe all the crazy things that are happening.  There isn't a bad performance in it.  The director manages to squeeze laughs out of the most extreme circumstances.  The editing is magic.  Many themes emerge in the…

  • Early Man

    Early Man

    ★★½

    Little of the charm and inventive plotting of Aardman’s best work (Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run) surface here.  After a few inspired moments the film settles into a by the numbers sports movie.  They don’t bother with making the characters interesting.  But a few moments amuse:  an instant replay done with puppets, a bunny faking out hunters with shadow puppets.  The best you can say about it is: it’s pleasant enough.