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  • The Founder

    The Founder

    ★★★½

    If this movie is basically the fast food version of a biopic, it's at least the 1950s MacDonald's fast food version that you would've gotten from visiting the MacDonald brothers' location in San Bernardino. Clean, efficient, tasty, fine customer service. There's nothing wrong with an informative and entertaining origin story like this, and it even comes with a secret sauce of an ambivalent thematic undertow. Sure you know it's just color-dyed thousand island / an obligatory screenwriting tactic to make…

  • Beauty and the Beast

    Beauty and the Beast

    ★★★★

    Bottles and even sometimes enhances the exuberant showmanship of their animated classic, filling out story arcs and character development to mostly beneficial ends, and setting the best precedent yet for these live-action do-overs that, at this pace, we're going to be receiving for the next three decades at least. Still, needless to say as the movie expands into a full-blown 2+ hours of stage musical bombast (and it is kind of a delight that it evokes old-fashioned '50s-'60s musical epics…

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  • Green Room

    Green Room

    ★★★★½

    Pragmatic!

    Is the best way to describe this scrappy, intense, black-comedy thriller from the rising master of scrappy, intense, black-comedy thrillers Jeremy Saulnier. Like his debut "Murder Party", this is a chamber piece, confining a young punk band to mostly one room of a neo-Nazi club they made the mistake of playing at, where they become sitting ducks after witnessing a murder. And close quarters suit Saulnier's modus operandi impeccably, as he once again tackles a succinct premise with an…

  • 10 Cloverfield Lane

    10 Cloverfield Lane

    ★★★★½

    Oooh yeah! One of those movies that reignites my love for the medium, not that it was flagging or anything, but this actually thrilled me physically and as a (formerly) prospective writer myself. I never wanted to be avant garde or anything – my dream was to write and/or make smart but accessible entertainment like this (and preferably in genre territory), so to see it pulled off so expertly every now and then in movies like "10 Cloverfield Lane" feels…