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  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    ★★★

    A few thoughts:

    1. Not sure there's a single original idea here. Everything is cross-referenced to a prior entry, and the plot--as any number of critics have pointed out--is pretty much a remake of the original.

    2. The original trilogy was Lucas combining everything he ever liked--samurai movies, Flash Gordon serials, kung-fu, swordfights, King Kong, etc. etc.--into one big spectacle. But Abrams brings in nothing new except a Spielbergian directorial style (which is welcome) and some (inadvertent?) Harry Potter influence.…

  • The Wildcat

    The Wildcat

    ★★★★★

    A seriously unhinged movie. The majority of shots are framed in decorative cut-outs. Everyone looks slightly (or much more than slightly) insane. Pola Negri gives an endlessly GIF-able performance, and I want to go back in time and hang out with her and be her friend. This is usually described as a satire on militarization, but, honestly, it's way too off-the-rails to be constrained by any one meaning. Bandits. Skulls. Wild mustaches. Sex. Proto-psychedelic sets. (The sets are actually like…