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  • The Meg

    The Meg

    ★★½

    The Meg is a '70s underwater adventure/disaster movie with 21st century special effects. It mixes a bit of the The Neptune Adventure with a lot of Jaws, a fairly standard (though kinder and more ethnically diverse) array of supporting characters, and some pretty good post-production 3D. Refreshingly, when the Big Bad heads for a crowded beach, it's an Asian beach rather than an American (or other predominantly white-skinned) beach. (Refreshingly, not because I have it in for Asian beach-goers, but…

  • The Spy Gone North

    The Spy Gone North

    ★★

    The unglamorous work of a nuclear spy is thoroughly documented in this based-on-true-events espionage drama. It's a very interesting look at spyecraft and politics and well produced, but also very dry and deliberate, which does not make the two and a quarter hour running time fly by.

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  • Passing Strange

    Passing Strange

    ★★★★½

    Filming a stage play is a fool's game; you can't capture the power, intimacy and intensity of a great live show. Spike Lee played that fool's game and won. This is an amazing film.

  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

    The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

    ★½

    Looks like we're just going through the motions at this stage. Move things around on the screen. Plop actors in front of green screen to recite their dialog and execute their choreography. Sorta-kinda integrate them with the animation and backgrounds.

    Martin Freeman is the only actor delivering any nuance. He's still great whenever his pull-on feet aren't visible to distract from his performance. And seriously, the stockings that gave him hairy hobbit legs were sagging at times. Couldn't that have…