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  • The Abyss

    The Abyss

    ★★★½

    James Cameron's least-loved and most earnest film! Cut to pieces for theatrical audiences, the theatrical cut not only omits key plot elements that leave the end of the film a bewildering mess, but it also cuts out the most earnest and heartfelt portions of Cameron's film. The restored special edition IS cheesy and didactic to the point of being embarrassing, it's true. But it also wears its heart on its sleeve in an endearing way that's hard to resist (and,…

  • Black Panther

    Black Panther

    ★★★★

    THE HYPE IS TRUE! Probably the best Marvel movie, certainly the first one with anything to say. It suffers from a paint-by-numbers plot, but the characters and performances are all so rich and deep and charming (Shuri!!!) that it almost doesn't matter. Apart from being revolutionary in terms of black people on-screen (& behind the camera), it also features (I'm guessing) the most significant speaking roles for women (of any color) in a Marvel movie yet (which is sad, but…

  • Stargate

    Stargate

    ★★★

    First time seeing this since its original theatrical run in 1994 (from which I remembered next to nothing). A goofy, if endearing ride, this movie's premise and production values are juuuuuust interesting enough to overcome its blank slate characters and the fact that it lurches from one tired trope to the next, seemingly as uninterested in exploring them as we are in watching them. The action is amateurishly staged and directed, and the editing doesn't do much to conceal that…

  • Heat

    Heat

    ★★★★★

    Best movie.

  • Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange

    ★★½

    A fine, if uninspiring, entry in the Marvel canon. If you can get past the "colorblind" casting, Tilda Swinton makes for an engaging and entertaining Ancient One, even if she's not particularly well fleshed out as a character. Cumberbatch is good as Strange (even if I always imagined him as Middle Eastern), though the real MVP here is Chiwetel Ejiofor. Visually the film has interesting moments, though it IS a Marvel film, and therefore not brave enough to really luxuriate…

  • A Bullet for the General

    A Bullet for the General

    ★★★★

    Not as bold or flashy visually as some of its brethren, but what it lacks in visual panache it more than makes up for in solid characters, strong storytelling, and a consistent (and, sadly, still relevant) ethical point of view. I dug it.

  • For All Mankind

    For All Mankind

    ★★★★★

    Beautiful, gauzy, dream-like synthesis of the entire Apollo program into 80 glorious minutes using NASA archival footage. Like A MAN ON THE MOON by way of KOYAANISQATSI. Breathtaking.

  • Proud Mary

    Proud Mary

    ★★★★

    Hey, I liked this movie a lot, gang!

    The plot here is nothing to write home about—hired killer adopts the son of one of her targets, tries to cover her tracks, and when that doesn’t work, tries to break from the business for good—but that doesn’t matter, for a couple reasons. One is the fact that at a crisp 88 minutes, this is one of the most efficient action movies I’ve ever seen; the plot and character beats may be…

  • Apollo 13

    Apollo 13

    ★★★★★

    What struck me the most watching this film this time was the sense of longing and loss. This film understands the primal urge to travel into space and explore the universe, and it mourns the fact that our efforts to do so have stalled.

    There’s the personal aspect of that, of course; the sequence where astronaut Jim Lovell, flying past what was to have been his lunar landing site in a damaged spacecraft that can no longer make the landing,…

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    ★★★★

    Yeah, it's safe, but it's safe in a warm & embracing way. So much fun.

  • Gremlins

    Gremlins

    ★★★★

    This movie is genius. Has someone written a book-length critical analysis of it yet? Should I?

  • Spartacus

    Spartacus

    ★★★★★

    Comfort food.