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Predictable, But Full of Action

Movie: ‘Alien: Covenant’

The great drive-in movie critic Joe Bob Briggs held that a successful horror movie is one where anyone can die at any time.
If that’s true, then Ridley Scott’s “Alien: Covenant” is the new gold standard.
In the latest installment of the Alien franchise — this one is a sequel to 2012’s “Prometheus,” if you’re keeping track — Walter (Michael Fassbender) is the conscientious “synthetic” in charge of the Covenant, a ship carrying colonists to a new world on a journey that will take seven years.

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Merlin’s Magic Couldn’t Save This Film

Movie: ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’

Guy Ritchie’s over-the-top take on the beloved King Arthur myth is a fiasco. Unless, of course, you are devoted to digitized landscapes, scenes so dark you can hardly see the action, sloppy editing, an often incoherent script and computer-generated creatures — enormous elephants at the beginning and a giant, slithering snake later on. 

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It Lives Up To The Original

Movie: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is an object lesson in why Marvel comic book movies are so much better than DC comic book movies. And yes, I realize I’m going to set off debates among tens of readers with that statement. But hear me out.
Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies were dark, in terms of both cinematography and tone. And they worked, because Batman is a dark character. Seriously, Bruce Wayne is one twisted individual. Plus he’s dark and brooding, and he always assumes, and finds, the worst in people.

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Fast & Phooey

Movie: ‘The Fate of the Furious’

The first movie I reviewed for The Lakeville Journal was “Fast & Furious” — the oddly titled fourth installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise — in 2009. The Compass editor at the time knew I had a degree in cinema and was expecting something along the lines of Andrew Sarris or Pauline Kael. Instead she got a minor league Joe Bob Briggs. 
I set the bar nice and low with that first review by becoming the first and only Journal movie reviewer to complain of insufficient nudity. And I’ve been shoving that bar lower ever since.

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Gaiman, Fuller Talk ‘American Gods’

TV

Neil Gaiman is a storyteller. Through his soothing tone and carefully chosen words, the acclaimed author mesmerized a packed house at Bard College on April 15 as he discussed “American Gods” — an upcoming television show based on his 2001 novel of the same name — alongside executive producer and co-showrunner Bryan Fuller.

Food Fit For A Doctor

TV

The latest season of the sci-fi series “Doctor Who” debuts on BBC America on Saturday, April 15, at 9 p.m. It’s a noteworthy premiere because it marks the final season for both Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor and showrunner Steven Moffat, as well as the introduction of a new companion named Bill Potts (played by Pearl Mackie).

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It Lacks Style And Meaning

Movie: ‘Going in Style’

“Going in Style” is a rusty, clanky, used vehicle driven for all its worth by three charming old codgers: Morgan Freeman, 79, Alan Arkin, 83, and Michael Caine, 84. Alas, even they cannot push this creaky movie across the finish line.

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Ghost Story For The iPhone Age

Movie: ‘Personal Shopper’

If Olivier Assayas was a chef, he would be hailed for creating nouvelle cuisine from unlikely ingredients. But he is a movie director, and in his newest film, “Personal Shopper,” he mixes a young woman who shops incessantly for another woman and thinks she is a medium; a dead twin brother who may or may not be haunting and contacting the shopper; a bloody murder; plenty of texting and iPhoning — the newest way to haunt — and settings in Paris, London, even Oman, into a strangely satisfying movie that defies the usual visual language of film.

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Facing Those False Memories

Movie: ‘The Sense of an Ending’

Julian Barnes’ Man Booker Prize-winning novel, “The Sense of an Ending,” is a concise, elegant story of a man — an ordinary man, like so many of Barnes’ protagonists — forced to revisit memories of his past and the “forgettings,” both natural and willful, that have informed those memories. No movie could capture the ambiguity and interior musings of Barnes’ crystalline prose, but Ritesh Batra has made a fine adaptation.

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Binge Watch: Aliens Spotted in Beacon

TV: ‘People of Earth’

If you missed “People of Earth” when it debuted on TBS in October, you have another chance to watch this quirky, clever and touching comedy. The channel will air a marathon of the entire 10-episode first season on Monday, March 20, beginning at noon, in honor of Alien Abduction Day.

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