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  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

    Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

    ★★½

    There are a few nice visuals - the unbroken underwater shot, the whole volcano escape, some nice use of silhouette in the mansion - but Bayona was dealt a bad hand with this inert, cynical, and aggressively dumb script. Enabling its villains to consistently use whataboutism without repudiation? Sure, why not. Muddled messages on animal rights...for the genetically-modified creatures that are trying to kill everyone? You bet. (Unintentional?) meta-commentary about the place of this sequel in Hollywood? Poorly managed. Throw…

  • The Great Muppet Caper

    The Great Muppet Caper

    ★★★★

    I was definitely wowed by the technical achievements of the bike ride and water ballet numbers, but I was similarly impressed by the all-out chaos thrown into the opening scene for basically no good reason. Charles Grodin killed me (dancing by himself at the "supper club," lip-synching to Miss Piggy during the Berkeley scene) and more should be made of Peter Falk's hilarious cameo. Just overall timeless, cleverly insane goofiness [B+]

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  • Philomena

    Philomena

    ★★★★

    A compelling, devastating, and twisted true story about a former Magdalene girl trying to find her long-lost son. Judy Dench is poignant and often hilarious as the chatty and provincial Philomena, who easily could have slipped further into characterture in less capable hands. Coogan has some nice scenes throughout that transcend the familiar trappings of the skeptical, depressed, and put-upon journalist trying to resurrect his career. The screenplay is a bit too efficient and on-the-nose at times, and even though…

  • mother!

    mother!

    ★★½

    Guinness World Record holder for most metaphors used to say pretty much the same thing over and over and over again. It's impressive technically (particularly in the last 20 minutes), but it's so monotonous and one note on a character and thematic level that being shotgun in the face with the overarching allegory in its third act feels like diminishing returns instead of elevating and crystalizing what came before [C].