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  • Zack Snyder's Justice League

    Zack Snyder's Justice League

    ★★

    Galaxy Brain Cinema. Dour aesthetics rendered with algorithmic and thematic consistency, layered across an expansive, Randian runtime that conquers the viewer's world like an invading army of Joe Rogan Experience subscribers who have accidentally and improbably been granted the power of mind control. Fascinating as a corporate object and nothing else, and the crowning example of teeth-chattering fanboy propitiation that began with Snakes on a Plane (2006) and ends at the precise moment the words "This film is presented in…

  • Soul

    Soul

    ★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    I don't know how else to say it: there is something about the emotional climax of this movie that I find deeply unsatisfying, and almost too complicated to accept as fair play. I have seen essentially no commentary about this issue, and I strongly suspect that is related to the fact that I am a crackpot. Nevertheless! On the page (113, about 80 percent of the way down) the sequence begins like this:

    JOE REMEMBERS:

    OUTSIDE THE HALF NOTE, the…

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  • American Hustle

    American Hustle

    ★★½

    AD: "Auteurs Direct, this is Ryan, how may I help you?"

    DOR: "Returns, please."

    AD: "Which Auteurs Direct product are you looking to return today?"

    DOR: "I ordered one Scorsese '70s Starter Kit, but I was sent the Ted Demme version instead. I'm looking for the Scorsese, the vintage model."

    AD: "I'm afraid your previous orders suggest the Scorsese '70s Starter Kit isn't compatible with your toolset, so that's why we sent you the Ted Demme. You've purchased the Remedial…

  • Spotlight

    Spotlight

    ★★

    Noble mediocrity, of the most self-consciously humble order. Co-writer and director Tom McCarthy starts with an unnecessary flashback and tip-toes through the chronology of events with the literal-mindedness of a 7th-grade book report: Convenient facts, laid out in a row, delivered with the shrunken vocabulary of a child. It's a work of service-journalism that wants to be judged on its clear-eyed morality; it deserves to be seen as an artless, charmless piece of homework that refuses to challenge its audience…