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  • Creed II

    Creed II

    ★★★

    Not sure if I’m overrating this a half star since it’s the first time I’ve been to an Alamo Drafthouse theater, but there you have it. 

    Where Creed thought hard about the tropes of Rocky movies and came at them from interesting angles, this one comes at them swinging and takes a few too many staggering blows. The script tosses around “Shakespearean” in the dialogue, but the movie never makes you feel anything like that weight. (The trailer was more…

  • Bad Day at Black Rock

    Bad Day at Black Rock

    ★★★★

    Feels like I discovered the secret origins of half the Jack Reacher novels: Stranger comes to town, uncovers a poisonous secret, kicks some butt, tears down the bad guys.

    Things I love:

    The CinemaScope width and bright colors make all the menace more effective, even though you can see the details instead of shadows.

    The opening shots of the train racing through the desert, always off-center and with the camera tilting, do a masterful job of introducing a world that…

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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.)…