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Written by Rob Schultz (human).

#2,276: The Lobster

Cast a Deadly Spell ★★½☆☆
I like Lovecraftian stuff more than the next guy, and I like when movies have in-fiction easter eggs for the fans, like when the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings up Roxxon Oil or something. But somehow It still feels so cheesy and embarrassing when a movie starts dropping Lovecraft references. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's that the kind of movies that star Detectives Lovecraft and Bradbury aren't very good.

In truth though, I thought the parts that focused on investigation and/or Yog-Sothoth instead of comedy turned out okay.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping - ★★★☆☆
I know there were references that were lost on me, but I liked this more than I expected. It's perfect for fans of the Lonely Island's signature 'long list of nouns' songwriting technique!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) - ★☆☆☆☆
It's nuts how boring this is. The first 70 or 80 minutes are an adaptation of the 30 seconds that opens the cartoon, except with worse music. Then there's a video game level or two and a generic CG-action movie boss fight.

I don't know what's crazier, that this movie shares writers with Ghost Protocol, or that the writers of Amazing Spider-Man didn't get any credit at all even though this movie swipes a lot of the dumbest parts of ASM's plot. 

The Lobster - ★★★☆☆
This is fun. It's like Her by way of Rubber. I noticed a lot of people making the comment that they enjoyed the second half less. That's probably because you have all of this fun in the first half of being shown around a world, and it's almost always disappointing when that sort of thing comes to an end to make room for the plot.

#2,272: X-Men: Apocalypse

Dead Ringer - ★★★★☆
Just very satisfying. A plot is wound up, put into motion, and the consequences uncoil one by one. I could do with more of that.

It was tempting to throw in a little line about how there're no capes or lasers to be found, but of course, this _is_ a visual effect-heavy movie for its day...

The Nice Guys - ★★★★☆
This is the latest version of The Shane Black Movie. If it's not the best one, it's definitely top five.

It's the kind of movie that people talk about when they lament that Hollywood is all comic books and remakes and why aren't there any cool movies that stand on their own, but then they skip because it's not one of those big spectacle movies you've gotta get down to the theater to see.

The Night of the Hunter  - ★★☆☆☆
I know this is on a lot of best-movie-ever type lists, but it just doesn't quite hit the mark for me. I don't know what else to say.

X-Men: Apocalypse - ★☆☆☆☆
Well, you know what they say: the third one in the series is the worst. Then, as now, I can't believe Singer made Days of Future Past. This installment manages to undermine or ignore everything that made the last one so good, and fills the void with a bunch of the garbage from the original trilogy we had just gotten rid of.

If this were advertised as a demo for the latest version of a visual effects software package, it would probably still seem a little incoherent.

#2,269: Captain America: Civil War

The Queen of Versailles - ★★½☆☆
I'm not sure what made me want to chase the feeling I had watching this the first time, but on a rewatch it was not as much fun. Revolting, but not the fun kind of revolting. No longer shocking, maybe.

Money Monster - ★★☆☆☆
I think I like the outline of this movie. Like, if you sat me down and told me about all the stuff that happens, I think I'd be on board. But the actual script that someone wrote from that outline? Not so much.

This movie is like if The Big Short were Phone Booth.

The Gambler - ★☆☆☆☆
By random luck, I missed this one in theaters last year. But then, I happened to stream it. Ah well. You win some, you lose some.

Captain America: Civil War - ★★★★☆
I don't think this tops Winter Soldier in my book, but it's probably my favorite entry in the MCU since.

Quick hits:
• All of the guest star characters in this are handled really well, but I felt like the main Cap crew may have been a little underserved.
• The shutter in the opening adventure is crazy. Made me wonder if it was inspired by Mad Max, but since it goes away later on, maybe it's just to show us how fast these guys are compared to the normals.
• This is maybe the first time a movie has made Iron Man do the generic superhero movie thing of standing around in costume sans helmet all the time.
• In the briefing early on, we see the death tolls of previous films' events on screen. If those are right, I don't really think world governments would be pushing for this kind of legislation. An annihilated nation, a diverted terrorist bombing, a weird military / air disaster, and an honest-to-god alien invasion with a combined lower body count than 9/11? Gunmen in the states routinely take out civilians on a scale comparable to the bomb in the opening scene of this movie without triggering sweeping legislation. I can see why non-USA nations want the accords, they don't have a lot of super heroes, but in our world those nations can't even get the USA to fall into step against pollution.

#2,266: The Jungle Book

Spare Parts - ★★½☆☆
This is a cool story, but not a very good movie. It doesn't spend enough time on any of the characters subplots to make them compelling, so it probably would have been better off 30 minutes shorter and with more robots.

The Jungle Book (2016) - ★½☆☆☆
I guess I don't know why you would make this? When I didn't dig last year's Cinderella, I didn't want to believe it was just too "girl movie" for me. This year's model proves that a) the feeling of two movies by different directors stapled together in the middle ("Super serious and gritty retelling!" "No! Songs and magic!") was the intended effect, and that b) I still don't like it.

Some of this one takes place in the Jungle, and some of it takes place in the Uncanny Valley. Mowgli's got amazing hair. The thing with the book under the end credits was neat.

The End of the Tour - ★★★½☆
I'm glad I watched this, but I don't really know the people it's based on, so I didn't bring a lot to the movie. Is it too cute to call it a millennial My Dinner with Andre?

A little while later I read a book by Wallace while I was on jury duty, so maybe that's something.

The Jungle Book (1967) - ★★★☆☆
There are a lot of Disney 'classics' that I suspect I've never really seen, I just think I have because I had the picture book. Or the reused animation tricks me into thinking I've only seen part of the movie. Anyhow it was kind of fun go compare the two. The first hour of the live action movie only takes ten minutes in the cartoon.

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