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  • Avengers: Infinity War

    Avengers: Infinity War

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    This is a weird movie to try and write about. The first AVENGERS movie, whatever you think of the character choices, was an almost perfectly balanced, structured, and paced film that not only worked as the culmination of a truly audacious filmmaking experiment, but somehow worked as a stand-alone film as well. AGE OF ULTRON was messier and required more context, but still operated mostly as a sequel to AVENGERS. INFINITY WAR will make absolutely no sense to anyone who…

  • Ben-Hur

    Ben-Hur

    ★★½

    Notable for the subtextual gay relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist (accomplished without Charlton Heston's knowledge or realization, which makes it extra fun) and for the chariot race. The rest of the film is a somewhat bloated, formless, preachy mess, however, lurching from one episode to the next, interspersed with unintentionally comedic views of the back of Jesus' head. Character and plot development both are messy, and the climactic crucifixion really comes out of nowhere.

  • Dune

    Dune

    ★★★★

    This movie is a hot mess in almost every way: structurally, narratively, thematically. But it's incredibly evocative and captivating, with gorgeous production design and cinematography, breathtaking special effects (marred by some less-great ones and some truly horrific compositing), a terrific score by Toto, and scenery chewing performances across the board. It serves more as a "highlights from DUNE" visual accompaniment to the novel than a real movie, but dang if I don't love it anyway.

  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park

    The Lost World: Jurassic Park

    ★★★½

    This movie gets a bum rap. Certainly it's more ragged than the original film, sloppier in its construction. It feels smaller scale, too; much of the action takes place at night, and certain key sequences (the trailer going over the edge of the cliff, for instance) are lacking certain effects shots which might have better established the action and upped the tension. Still, this movie is a blast; the characters tend towards broad stereotypes, but the scenery chewing (particularly from…

  • Jurassic Park

    Jurassic Park

    ★★★★

    So let's be honest, the first act of this movie is kinda garbage. It telegraphs exactly what it is and what it's going to do in the most didactic, Screenplay 101 way possible. What's more, the characters are completely uninteresting (does anyone REALLY care if Dr. Grant decides he likes children after all?), saved only by a collection of really strong performances (turns out this Spielberg guy can direct).

    BUT, once the fun begins, this movie is and remains one…

  • Romeo + Juliet

    Romeo + Juliet

    ★★★★

    Gang, I was worried this wouldn't hold up but oh gosh it DOES.

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    ★★★★

    I always forget how episodic this one is. It's actually not as strong of a film as the other two in the "trilogy," though it seems to generally be the best-regarded. But structurally it doesn't hang together as satisfyingly as the other two, and the characters aren't as interesting or well-developed (particularly when compared with For A Few Dollars More. That final duel in the cemetery, though, is one of the all-time great scenes in cinema.

  • For a Few Dollars More

    For a Few Dollars More

    ★★★★½

    I used to think this one was slow, and inferior to A Fistful of Dollars. I must now revise that conclusion; not only is it wonderfully paced, but it's a much more visually dynamic, not to mention complex and interesting, film than Fistful, and possibly even The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (tho that one will always remain my favorite for sheer scope and ambition).

  • The Black Hole

    The Black Hole

    ★★½

    What a weird fuckin' movie.

  • Powaqqatsi

    Powaqqatsi

    ★★

    This film, while well-meaning (and gorgeously shot), is nevertheless not only problematic as hell, but it lacks the focus and structure of its predecessor (the transcendent KOYAANISQATSI) and thus fails to explore or define its thesis (blatantly stated at the end of the film in a title card) in any sort of meaningful or satisfying way. Too tired right now to deconstruct why; may return to this review later.

  • Upstream Color

    Upstream Color

    ★★★★½

    Beautiful & hypnotic film about trauma, loss, recovery, and community. I love it more and more every time I see it.

  • Thor: Ragnarok

    Thor: Ragnarok

    ★★★★★

    THE HYPE WAS RIGHT