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  • My Happy Family

    My Happy Family

    ★★½

    Given how the best joke here is that the middle-aged heroine has no specific cause to leave her 'happy family', except the wish to be independent - they crowd around hysterically, trying to figure out her decision and talk her out of it, but all she wants is (literally) a place where she can eat cake in peace - it seems unwise for the second half to belatedly give her a legitimate reason for having left (*), esp. since both…

  • Black Panther

    Black Panther

    ★★★

    Politically speaking, surprisingly down on BLM-type radicalism (even the 'All life began in Africa' line goes to the villain), pushing a dignified, above-it-all Black identity that tends to seem like wishful thinking, given (a) the state of US culture and (b) the political associations in the title (look for hyper-sensitive types to call it 'tone-deaf', once the hype dies down). Cinematically speaking, more dynastic drama than superhero movie - Thor is the closest MCU analogue - nor do the Black…

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  • Margaret

    Margaret

    ★★★★★

    Held me spellbound for three hours, if nothing else (extended cut, fwiw). 25th HOUR-ish - New York movie, moral drama about Doing the Right Thing, symphonic score over jagged rhythms - also Desplechin-ish for the sweep and scale, but more ambitious than either: an epic of human disconnection, based around the fact that language is such an imperfect way of trying to connect - emotion is easier, but we lose it as we grow older ("It is Margaret you mourn…

  • Aloha

    Aloha

    ★★★★

    File with James L. Brooks' How Do You Know as a late-period rom-com that may seem inept because it dispenses with the usual pretence of realism (the magical setting helps, like it did, in a different way, in Almost Famous; maybe Crowe's peculiar sensibility needs the licence of an anything-goes milieu to really take flight). Myths and omens appear prominently. There's an emphasis on the touchy-feely - Danny McBride as Colonel "Fingers"; Bill Murray giving an impromptu massage - over…