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  • Zero Dark Thirty

    Zero Dark Thirty

    ★★★★

    ⅘ths of this is Clint Eastwood-level partisan propaganda, and then it culminates in a wholly riveting action set piece that has lost none of its bone-shaking suspense.

    +½★

  • Logan

    Logan

    ★★★½

    I haven’t seen all of the X-Men films but the impression I get from this and maybe one other is that Wolverine is if not the best X-Man, then the one whose mode of violence lends itself most appreciably to cinematic iteration. To wit, this movie has over a hundred visual effects engineers which is at least one for each barbaric face slash, each of which tend to be administered straight down from the forehead or up from the chin.…

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  • The Big Short

    The Big Short

    ★★★★

    The film’s regular fourth wall transgressions that intend to demystify credit bubbles and CDOs or whatever else didn’t quite clarify exactly what’s going on for me, but nevertheless this is a film that’s transparently cognizant of the viewer’s level of interest, checking in every now in then in case one of us is nodding off. It’s this tactic that I really admire, and a film that purposefully solicits participation because McKay & Co. intend to educate under the guise of entertainment,…

  • They Live

    They Live

    ★★★★★

    They Live is at times totally absurd (the bubblegum line, for example, which I’ve never thought was all that funny), but its central revelation is masterful, melding the film’s political satire with its good old-fashioned alien invasion narrative. You laugh when those cartoonish bug-eyed aliens pronounce their capitalistic agenda – think about that; in what other movies do aliens want to harvest Mother Earth's monetary instead of horticultural resources? – but behind the ridiculous one-liners and the shootouts and the spectacularly elongated fight scene is a genuine frustration. I wish more movies ballasted such absurdity with sincerity.