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  • Hidden Figures

    Hidden Figures

    ★★★

    I was not a fan of the script, and am generally cranky about feel-good period biopics which play fast and loose with history, but I’ll be damned if the cast didn’t sell me on this for a substantial portion of the running time.

    I still think it’s valid to worry about the tendency to lionize movies that allow us to safely condemn the racism and sexism in America’s past, while being afraid or unwilling to extend that criticism to the…

  • La La Land

    La La Land

    ★★

    A musical for people who don’t like musicals, and for people who like them a little too much. Repulsive as a romance, hollow as a drama, and punctuated with tedious pastiche.

    Like Whiplash, this is a movie built around a toxic relationship between a pair of self-involved assholes. The film’s homage-as-satire opening number poisoned the well for me in a number of ways, not least by emphasizing just how many photogenic people are more talented singers and dancers than Ryan…

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  • John Wick: Chapter 2

    John Wick: Chapter 2

    ★★★

    Finally, a film that truly captures what it’s like to live in New York City.

    Eh. It’s fine. It’s fine. There was never anywhere for this story to go except deeper down the rabbit hole of its own mythology, and that’s exactly what it does. There are more than a few meta moments acknowledging the limitations and risks of a second go-round—the sick drop hits and the bullets fly as the crowd goes wild—but the strictly commercial need to turn…

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    ★★★½

    Hey. Remember that thing you like? They made more, and they didn’t screw it up this time. They went back to the original recipe.

    Boy, did they ever.

    The Force Awakens doubles down on the series’ talismanic repetition of phrases and situations, to the point that it might as well be a remake of the first film. Unfortunately, it’s a sequel, and the weakest moments in the film are easily those featuring the original trilogy cast. (To be blunt, having…