Logan Lucky

The Logan family is cursed with bad luck. Jimmy (Channing Tatum) can’t hold down a job due to the injury that derailed his future prospects as a football star, Clyde (Adam Driver) lost his hand in the process of returning home from Iraq, and there’s a history of mishaps and misfortunes in their family that seem too bad to just be coincidence. They’re stolid folk, too, to the point that they’re known amongst the locals for being simple. But, as we grow to learn over the course of Logan Lucky, the Logans aren’t idiots. They’re just earnest.

The entire film is built on that kind of earnestness. For the most part, Steven Soderbergh’s return from retirement runs at a handsome clip, as breezy as the NASCAR race from under which the Logan clan is about to steal an untold sum of money. In any other heist movie, that’d be enough, and an impressive feat in and of itself, but Logan Lucky takes it one step further by stopping to smell the roses, too. Jokes run on without wearing out, their punch lines more the scenario that we’re witnessing than any single witticism, and scenes take all the time they need instead of simply making way for the next gag. The best sequences are those that linger; they’re the grounding influence in a movie that could otherwise easily fly away on how ingenious it is.

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Dunkirk score

The sheer amount of space in Dunkirk is overwhelming. There are three vast swaths of it: air, land, and sea, rendered in stark whites and blacks, and blues in-between. Men and boats alike come across as matchstick figures, just as dominated by negative space as any J.M.W. Turner painting. Warmer colors come in the form of the soldiers and civilians whose fight to stay alive forms the backbone of the film’s narrative, and as the tick-tick-tick of Hans Zimmer’s score kicks in and the three main storylines intercut, it becomes apparent that we’re not just looking at empty space; we’re seeing triple forces, slowly threatening to crush the men stranded at Dunkirk.

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The Strain Season 4

This Sunday, The Strain heads into its fourth and final season. Created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, it’s a horror drama with enviable pedigree and made waves at the time of its premiere in 2014 with its unsettling ad campaign (most of the promo images for the first season featured a worm making its way into an unfortunate victim’s eye, which was eventually taken out of circulation due to complaints) and its new take on vampires. Since then, the show — much like the vampires on it — has mutated and changed. This has been equal parts good and bad news; the show’s inconsistencies haven’t really been ironed out, but the heights it reaches make up for the valleys.

Spoilers for the first three seasons of The Strain follow.

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the vulture best marvel villain

Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is the very first character we meet in Spider-Man: Homecoming. If this were any other movie (i.e. were the movie’s title not Spider-Man), it wouldn’t be hard to imagine him as a protagonist. But as the saying goes, a story is only as good as its villain. Spider-Man has always felt particularly human in a genre filled with superhumans; luckily, the Vulture is similarly grounded (despite having a custom-built set of wings), and Homecoming is all the better for it.

Major spoilers follow.

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better call saul season finale review 2

(Every week, we’re going to kick off discussion about Better Call Saul season 3 by answering one simple question: who came out on top when the credits rolled?)

In its season finale, “Lantern,” the slow burn of Better Call Saul becomes a conflagration. It’s a stunning, bleak episode, with each thread hammering home the problem that’s plagued the characters from the very beginning: It’s not business. It’s personal.
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Rough Night Trailer

The premise of Lucia Aniello’s Rough Night is fairly simple. Jess (Scarlett Johansson) is getting married, so for her bachelorette party, she and her best friends head out to Miami. There’s her college roommate, Alice (Jillian Bell); former item and now polar opposites, Blair (Zoe Kravitz) and Frankie (Ilana Glazer); and Jess’s friend from her semester abroad in Australia, Pippa (Kate McKinnon), all ready to relive the old glory days. They get drunk, they get wild, and when a stripper ends up dead, they scramble to cover it up. If this sounds like the set-up of two different movies, that’s because it is; while there are parts of Rough Night that stand out for hitting the rough patches of friendship on the nose, there’s not enough in between them to quite hold it all together.

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better call saul fall review 2

(Every week, we’re going to kick off discussion about Better Call Saul season 3 by answering one simple question: who came out on top when the credits rolled?)

“Fall” is the sparsest episode of the season so far, in that our main characters occupy separate spaces as opposed to overlapping in any real capacity. It’s the first time we’ve seen the storylines so disparate, and it goes a long way towards emphasizing just how isolated they all are. Nearly three seasons through Better Call Saul, our main characters have driven themselves apart to a point that’s no longer easy to ignore, especially with how they’re laid out in this week’s episode.

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Better Call Saul Slip Review

(Every week, we’re going to kick off discussion about Better Call Saul season 3 by answering one simple question: who came out on top when the credits rolled?)

Better Call Saul doesn’t miss a beat. There’s no such thing as a wasted moment, which has never been more evident as it is in “Slip,” the eighth episode of this season. It’s so titled because it marks the definitive return of Slippin’ Jimmy, as well as significant turns in the arcs of the rest of the cast as well. Over the past few episodes, we’ve seen characters pushed past their respective breaking points; now that all of the pieces are on the same side of the board, it’s time to properly watch the fall-out.

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wonder woman review

Much like its heroine, Wonder Woman manages to soar to some sublime heights. There are sequences that demand to be gazed at and the action — specifically the Amazon women in battle, soaring through the air — make slo-mo seem fresh for the first time since 300. The cast is charming, with each character afforded a particular grace note, and Gal Gadot shines as the goddess at the center of the whole affair. But Diana of Themyscira has to go through some growing pains before really becoming a hero, and so does the film.

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Better Call Saul Expenses Review

(Every week, we’re going to kick off discussion about Better Call Saul season 3 by answering one simple question: who came out on top when the credits rolled?)

At this point in Better Call Saul, it’s difficult to know whether or not we’re supposed to root for Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk). Obviously, to a certain degree, we are. We’re in his house, after all. He’s hit rock bottom in “Expenses,” and though we know he’ll end up back on top (sort of) by the time Breaking Bad begins, it’s become obvious that the path there is going to be a profoundly ugly one. “Expenses” plays like a partner to “Chicanery” as an episode that captures exactly just how naturalistic the drama at the center of it is. It’s a show that’s pared down and precise — the pain doesn’t come from the near-operatic as it did in Breaking Bad, it comes from small, simple human foibles.

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