Screened Out – Black Mass

By : Stephen Miller
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Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Adam Scott, Corey Stoll

In Catholic parlance, a Black Mass is a satanic inversion of the Holy Mass, where one sacrificed others instead of oneself, and no good can come of it. The metaphor fits this dark, slow, unforgiving film – a mob biopic about James “Whitey” Bulger. It’s a cold, methodical, violent piece about a cold, methodical, violent character.

With this as a theme, Black Mass is watchable, but it never illuminates Bulger to us – specifically, why he does what he does. He’s one note: just pure evil. People are loyal to him and we never find out why except for fear.

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Screened Out – Ant-Man

By : Stephen Miller
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Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Anthony Mackey, Corey Stoll

This shrinky-dink superhero story is just smart enough. Ant-Man is an acceptable way to fritter away a few bucks and a few hours. It expands the Marvel movie universe a blip, but that’s about it.

Not that it should do more than that. This mite-sized mercenary – a minor in the Marvel canon – has always been ludicrous character, his story begging for supreme silliness.

The film serves some slapstick; it could’ve delivered more.

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Screened Out – This is Where I Leave You

By : Stephen Miller
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Jason Bateman, Jane Fonda, Tina Fey, Corey Stoll, Adam Driver, Debra Monk, Rose Byrne, Timothy Olyphant, Connie Britton, Katherine Hahn, Abigail Spencer, Dax Shepard

Families are never easy, and they’re never perfect. Everything is waaaay more complicated than it needs to be. Even with the best setup for normalcy, families can quickly get mired in dysfunction.

Such it is with the hilarious Altman household – so many comic jerks at the center of This is Where I Leave You. They all refer to themselves as “assholes” several times in the film. Even a famous psychotherapist mom (Fonda) cannot keep the clan from sinking into the muck.

And wow, what a lot of muck!

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