Alan has written 7 reviews for films rated ★★★ .

  • Space Cowboys

    Space Cowboys

    ★★★

    Funny to think that the plot of this movie is nearly identical to Armageddon (but not, oddly enough, to Deep Impact). And also to think that 20 years after Tommy Lee Jones and Donald Sutherland played elderly astronauts, they did it again in Ad Astra. As for this one, it’s a likable and watchable movie, but kind of sloppy in the way Clint movies can sometimes get. (Among other minor things that still bug me: how is there not a better payoff to James Garner’s difficulty delivering homilies?)

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron

    Avengers: Age of Ultron

    ★★★

    I’d skimmed parts of this to prep for WandaVision, but this was my first time rewatching it in its entirety. Boy, is it messy. The later Avengers films (plus Cap: Civil War, which is an Avengers film in everything but name) also try to do a lot of things, but they do so much more gracefully than this movie, where you can see the seams bursting in almost every moment of it. There are some terrific individual components (Spader, the Korea chase scene, the Mjolnir payoff with Vision, to name a few) without it really coming together.

  • Captain Marvel

    Captain Marvel

    ★★★

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

    Carol Danvers is a character I have almost always enjoyed more in team comic books than in her solo series. This has less to do with her characterization — as an Avenger or Ultimate, she’s a lot of fun — than the way that each writer of her solo books seems to spend most of their time correcting the perceived mistakes of a precious writer who had control of the character for a while. So there’s just a lot of retconning,…

  • Gunpowder Milkshake

    Gunpowder Milkshake

    I remember watching the first John Wick and being delighted and intrigued by all the allusions to how the assassins' world functions, what the rules at the hotel were, etc. I wanted more of that. Then the sequels to varying degrees provided "be careful what you wish for" results, where the more I learned about that stuff, the less I wanted to know, and the more I just wanted to get back to watching Keanu find creative ways to kill…

  • Kong: Skull Island

    Kong: Skull Island

    I'm not a big King Kong guy, but if I had somehow absorbed from the marketing that this was a mash-up of Kong and Vietnam War movie tropes (complete with basically the Forrest Gump soundtrack), I'd have watched it much sooner. Instead, it became perfectly fine in-flight entertainment yesterday. (And an amusing accidental double feature with that morning's Loki episode.) Given the deep, deep cast, it's weird that so much time is devoted to Toby Kebbell, but everyone else understands…

  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

    Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

    ★★★

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

    A few people asked what my kids thought of Spock's famous death scene in Wrath of Khan. Simply put, they were confused, because we had already watched all of Next Generation, and thus they knew that Spock was alive in the 24th century. So Search For Spock got immediately moved up in the queue.

    This has the deserved reputation as the one Trek movie immune to the odd-numbered curse, but watching it only a day after Wrath of Khan does…

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

    Adapting the Potter books was always a thankless task, and Alfonso Cuaron is the only one who managed to make his film (Prisoner of Azkaban) feel like a movie in its own right rather than a collection of narrative boxes being dutifully checked along the way. And it's not like these were obscure books where the audience, young and old, needed their hands held at the beginning, but one of the biggest literary sensations of the last 30 years.

    We…