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  • The Greatest Showman

    The Greatest Showman

    ★★★

    Back when this was in theaters and I was first reading reviews, I could tell that it was the kind of thing that was right up my daughter's alley.

    She said "no way" about 10 seconds into the first preview she saw.

    Months later, once it was out on DVD, she was over at a friend's house and they watched it — and she embraced it.

    One of my great parental triumphs was mentioning to her only once, and calmly,…

  • Solo: A Star Wars Story

    Solo: A Star Wars Story

    ★★½

    Why is this Star Wars story so uninspiring, even though it's about my favorite character from the original trilogy? A moment at the end of the movie clarified it for me this time.

    (Fairly banal SPOILERS follow, but you do you.)

    Han wins the Millennium Falcon from Lando, after swiping the sylop card that Lando literally keeps up his sleeve in order to cheat.

    Howard and the actors are careful to show that Han didn't play that card himself. His…

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  • Her

    Her

    ★★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Scattered thoughts:

    Among so many other riches, this features my favorite Scarlett Johansson performance since GHOST WORLD. In that one she was perfectly affectless; in this one she's almost all affect.

    This is an intimate portrayal of a momentous event: What happens when we create artificial intelligence?

    This would make a fantastic double feature with A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. "Artificial" love as hardware vs. as software.

    Contrast: artificial life forms in a futuristic Los Angeles here vs. in BLADE RUNNER. (I…

  • The Shining

    The Shining

    ★★★★½

    I remember watching this movie on TV — apparently in 1983, when I was 13, which is when it premiered — and finding it completely terrifying, huddling with my mom and hoping Wendy and Danny made it out. And ever since then, I've had a vague voice saying "yeah, that was good, but don't watch it again" in the back of my head. (Made easier because I'm in the "Kubrick's cold genius doesn't do it for me" camp, in general.)…