Movie Diary 12/19/2018

Aquaman (James Wan, 2018). Gigantic mechanism with a series of wacky touches; the tonal inconsistencies are a little hard to forgive with a project this huge. Wan aims for the spirit of Raiders of the Lost Ark, but the thing has the uncanny aroma of a mid-80s Raiders knock-off (looking at you, Jake Speed).

Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018). A classic sci-fi premise given a smart treatment by the director of Ex Machina, featuring a committed performance by Natalie Portman. The movie keeps hinting around at ambitions of the Tarkovsky variety, but doesn’t really have the reach for that. It looks and sounds extremely cool, though.

The Hate U Give (George Tillman, Jr., 2018). An overstuffed collection of hot-button issues, some of them compellingly dramatized – but the effects gets lost in the torrent of expositional and educational talk talk talk, which extends the film to an unwieldy 133 minutes. Admirable performances by Russell Hornsby and Amandla Stenberg.

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