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  • Nomadland

    Nomadland

    ★★★½

    Not exactly the emotional knockout most are calling it, but a good film. The vistas of America get their due, and Frances McDormand and David Strathairn along with the rest of the cast are stupendous. The central character can’t find a real home, and only bonds with those who are like her — constantly wandering. Three and a half stars.

  • The Dig

    The Dig

    ★★★

    Conventional period drama that can’t decide what its core is. At first it’s the relationship between the female widow and the humble excavator, then it’s the history shattering discovery of the ancient ship. But then it switches gears and follows a woman helper to the excavation team and her strained marriage to her closet homosexual husband.

    I dare say there’s way too much going on in the script. The writer really needed to pick one plot and stick to it,…

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  • L'Atalante

    L'Atalante

    ★★

    A fat let down. A newlywed couple chafe as they spend their honeymoon on the groom’s scuzzy boat, wandering down the Seine River into Paris. Rare occasional visual interest breaks up a highly monotonous bore of a picture. Needed more kitties. Two stars.

  • Grand Illusion

    Grand Illusion

    ★★★

    The futility of war and class divide are exposed in “La Grande Illusion.” This one doesn’t live up to the praise for me, it’s okay. I think it felt overly artificial, like a studio production. The cinematography looked fantastic and the theming was good, but I didn’t care too much about the characters when they were having a relatively pleasant time in a prisoner of war camp. It wasn’t funny like in “The Great Escape,” but still felt the need to have humor, so it felt tonally adrift. Three stars.

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  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day

    Terminator 2: Judgment Day

    ★★★★★

    The original is a fine, humble science fiction film, made at the beginning of James Cameron’s career. By the time of this one, he had gained a high reputation and therefore high budget to craft a sequel. But in a great reversal of expectations, this improves on everything done in the original, upping the action well, the stakes, the menace and threat of the evil terminator, and adding a great new character in the young John Connor.

  • Back to the Future

    Back to the Future

    ★★★★★

    The tightest screenplay and the best casting ever.