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  • Ghost in the Shell

    Ghost in the Shell

    ★★★½

    The first thing I noticed (having watched the 2017 feature first) is that a lot of the live-action movie is cribbed from this 1995 "Ghost in the Shell" release. There are actual visual sequences that were emulated pretty close to frame in the newest movie, and it really feels like the 2017 cut the 1995 release into jigsaw pieces, threw out a few, and then reassembled the rest into its own movie while adding a subplot of its own. It…

  • The Simpsons Movie

    The Simpsons Movie

    ★★★★

    Sometimes moving a TV show to the big screen can go horribly wrong... since with hours and hours of episodes already in the can, the movie might just come across as a longer / two-part episode itself and not really worth a movie release except for as a callous and transparent money grab.

    Of course, The Simpsons Movie points that out, mocking itself along the way in a series of jokes that at least are among the best of what…

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  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    ★★★★

    Whether the reverberations of Lucas' first trilogy here are viewed as a homage and bridge between the old and new or as a lack of imagination will depend on one's personal tastes and the long-term intentions of the creative staff.

    There is a LOT of "The Force Awakens" that echoed things we've seen before. Some of the settings seem awfully familiar even if given other names, and from a high-concept level there's not much of a plot (First Order AKA…

  • Captain America: Civil War

    Captain America: Civil War

    ★★★★½

    In some ways, "Civil War" scans as an Avengers movie, as it is mainly concerned with the team's future on the international level and has a huge roster of probably 13-14 heroes. (At some point, I lost count.) But somehow the Russos pull this off without really diluting the characters; everyone seems to get the amount of face time they deserve based on the dynamics of plot and relationship, and each is firmly established in terms of what they want,…