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  • The Amityville Horror

    The Amityville Horror

    ★½

    I remember seeing this in a theater with my mom and a group of friends in 2005, and all of us were pumped. Not because we were seeing an R-rated horror movie in theaters as 14-year-olds (though we were most certainly excited for that) but because it was a movie shot partially in our hometown of Antioch, Illinois.

    There are only a few scenes that actually feature Antioch, but we practically cheered when we saw them. The first, about 45…

  • Watergate

    Watergate

    ★★½

    It’s damn-near impossible to take this story and make it totally uncompelling, but Ferguson exhaustively documents the whats while only somewhat touching on the whys, ultimately giving us a perspective-free Wikidoc that’s undistinguished beyond its 4-hour length and release in close proximity to another controversial president (who, mercifully, is never name-checked).

    The reenactments are truly dire, and the film is at its worst in the second hour, which is filled with back-to-back stretches of a permascowl-wearing Nixon reenactor who looks…

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  • Selma

    Selma

    ★★★★½

    How to make a non-ossified biopic about an inherently noble cause/person:

    1. Focus on one small part of the character's life.
    2. Focus on the backroom deals, the horse-trading, the deal-making and the compromises needed to make progress.
    3. Cast an actor who's as good a listener as David Oyelowo, who's commanding without ever feeling pre-bronzed because he's constantly leaning in to what everyone's saying and weighing information.
    4. On top of that, get someone like Ava DuVernay to direct,…

  • The Disaster Artist

    The Disaster Artist

    ★★

    Say what you will about The Room (I'm on record as a huge fan who's seen it several times) – it’s genuinely weird and trying to process real pain, however ineptly and uncomfortably.

    This, on the other hand, is ordinary, phony, and basically chickenshit. Franco's either not comfortable diving into the thornier, darker aspects of Wiseau and Sestero's relationship (though he leaves in a Talented Mr. Ripley reference from the much better book this is based on that makes little…