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  • The Cloverfield Paradox

    The Cloverfield Paradox

    ★★

    What a way to ruin a franchise.

    The first Cloverfield was a rough but effective use of hand-held footage, with an emotional core bookending the film. The second film seemed unrelated at first, a slowly steaming pressure-cooker film that kind of went off the rails in the last fifteen as it tried to tie back to the first. But this third, "The Cloverfield Paradox"? I wasn't surprised to learn later that it was a retrofit of something off the slush…

  • Hidden Figures

    Hidden Figures

    ★★★★½

    "Hidden Figures" is a movie that made me mad on some levels. I was born in the late 60's, so I never lived through segregation per se, although I still see the reverberations of it today. Everything in this movie seems SO absurd to me -- people sitting in the back of the bus, using different bathrooms and coffee pots, being confined to their own library sections (underfunded, of course), treated with amusement by the legal system, being singled out…

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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,…