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  • Thor: Ragnarok

    Thor: Ragnarok

    ★★½

    The scenes on Planet Goldblum are sweet and loose and kooky, and Blanchett does what she can with lazy writing and bad puns (and a world-class catsuit), but my attention drifted the whole way through. The MCU has entered its contemplative meta-period, fine, good, congrats. Thing is, I’m not going to go see a superhero movie when I’m in the mood for cinematic navel-gazing.

    Also: Scratch an itch often and vigorously enough and the itch just goes away.

  • Ernest Borgnine on the Bus

    Ernest Borgnine on the Bus

    ★★★★

    Shot through with the quiet dread of watching a senior citizen who chugs free beer on brewery tours navigate a 40-foot, 500-horsepower battering ram down America’s freeways. Things also get a little dark in the pump-station sequence.

    Most potentially awkward scene: Borgnine’s wife turns up at an event in which he’s tricked out as a (still tirelessly glad-handing) clown, and essentially says how great it is that he’s never home now. We don’t ever see them together.

    Never get off the bus, Ernie — absolutely gosh-darn right.

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  • The Shallows

    The Shallows

    ★★½

    Most effective as a subverted Disney princess movie: The male dreamboat turns up too late to do much good, and doesn't even take measures to keep his beloved from choking on her own spit-up; the cute animal sidekick considers said spit-up a meal; the villain can't wait to make a meal out of our heroine; she buys him lunch.

    Least effective as a scary shark movie: The CGI monster is too weightless to be menacing, and it's grumpy and vindictive…

  • It Comes at Night

    It Comes at Night

    ★★★★

    The title’s practically meaningless, a lure to get inveterate horror fans to sit still for a movie that pivots on loss, lies, attachment fear, bloodthirsty patriarchal ineptitude, and a pair of fatal acts of kindness. Horror is what we do to each other, kids.

    I have no problem with this approach, especially in a film that uses interior space and light so beautifully and that wields dread-for-the-sake-of-dread with such expertise. I had low expectations going into this, all of them were exceeded.