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  • The Martian

    The Martian

    ★★★½

    Fun, frequently funny, and well made. It was a bit long for its story, but it did a great job keeping up the tension even when it was quite clear how things were going to end.

  • The Hateful Eight

    The Hateful Eight

    ★★★★

    Not the greatest, but structurally fascinating. Worked like a stage play, with lots of suspicion and building tension. Not Tarantino's best dialogue, but the performances and filmmaking were of the caliber I expect from this director. It was a bit too sadistic for my taste later on in the running time (oy, what loooooooong running time), but it didn't ruin things for me.

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  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    ★★★★½

    I’ve had several folks tell me that their impossible expectations were exceeded. I have to agree. This movie was so fun, so exciting, and so energizing that I want to watch it every day for the next week.

    Does it lean a little too heavy on homage to the originals? Maybe, but I think that’s a matter of taste. I welcomed it. My only gripe was how quickly the film moved through some plot points, but that was so strongly…

  • Ex Machina

    Ex Machina

    ★★★

    So...short version: I liked this, but feel like it was problematic.

    A little longer: The movie was trying to convince me that it was a smarter story than it actually was. I feel like it was lazy to include the hetero, male fantasy perspective (are we supposed to believe that’s subverted by the ending?), and I also felt like the camera work too frequently telegraphed later scenes/concepts/etc.

    The acting was fine, the effects were impressive for Ava, but the story felt thin and porous.