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  • You've Got Mail

    You've Got Mail

    ★★★

    I appreciate the woefully dated Netscape Navigator-era application interfaces here. This is above all a movie about people engaging decidedly and enthusiastically with user interfaces. The whole thing could have been done with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan just using computers the whole time and it'd've been just as cute.

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    ★★★

    More gothic than it is western, maybe. Which is to say parts of it play like a "good" Tim Burton movie.

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  • Annihilation

    Annihilation

    ★★½

    For the first third or so this is ominous and self-serious in the tradition characteristic of all cerebral sci-fi movies, which permits a precariously narrow margin of error. So when a line of dialogue is delivered amusingly, or the appearance of a CGI creature isn’t convincingly material enough, the laughter that follows is concentrated because it’s been stifled for the time leading up to it—because up until this moment you don’t know if it’s going to fall on the side…

  • 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,…