KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD

Although Snatch and LS&2SB remain two of my fave films, perhaps Guy Richie wasn’t the best choice to direct this. Too many missteps, starting with the eponymous character’s 21st century fade hairstyle. And did I see a direct appropriation of Frazetta’s “Death Dealer?” His trademark camera tricks are jarring in a medieval setting. On the whole I found it watchable but at the end I’m wondering what else I might have done with those 2 hours.

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THE CIRCLE 

Could be the scariest film of the year. The title refers to a global tech giant with a suffocatingly “inclusive” corporate culture that pressures all employees to be “involved” (sound familiar?). The maguffin is a tiny fish-eye camera that can be stuck anywhere and watched by anyone from anywhere. The company encourages everyone to stick there EVERYWHERE. The goal is “transparency.” Everything is stored in the cloud. No more secrets, because criminals and terrorists and child molesters thrive in secrecy. Now everyone can know everything. Would-be Cassandras warning of the death of privacy are drowned out as social media wildly embraces it. Emma Watson becomes a global heroine after she volunteers to stay online 24/7.
The scare — for me, at least — is that this technology is so very feasible in the near future, and I can see the drones populating FB and the Twitterverse totally jumping on it. I’m well aware that privacy is a myth these days, but imagine Google or the government (they might be the same before long) knowing even more about you than it does already. A credible nightmare.
As a film, however, not so great. I loved Emma Watson as Hermione, but she’s flat here. There’s no suspense, but I was okay with that, because the premise is so horrifying.

GIFTED

An intriguing film about how to treat the truly gifted among is. Little McKenna Grace does a star turn as the 7-year-old math genius. Her grandmother wants her to realize her full potential via tutors and the uncle who’s raising her doesn’t want her to grow up isolated like her mother (who committed suicide). A great cast but you will fall for McKenna Grace like you fell for little Dakota Fanning.

SHIN GODZILLA

Not your typical daikaiju film. In a way, it’s a “Gojira” reboot, but the drama is mostly human, the characters are politicians, and emphasis is on how a bureaucracy will respond to a daikaiju threat. Godzilla could be a typhoon or tsunami or any other natural disaster. Sounds awful, right? I can’t believe I liked it, but I did. I watched the whole damn thing with rapt attention. Script, acting, cinematography — all excellent. It has a message for Japan — and for Americans.

GET OUT

The less said about this, the better (for those who haven’t seen it). I will say it’s crazy, it’s over the top, it’s got twists I didn’t see coming, and even some comic relief. Not your average horror film and well, well, well worth seeing.