BlacKkKlansman / Black Panther / Roma / A Star is Born (2018)

BLACKkKLANSMAN [2018, B+] – How steady, maybe even too steady, this film is in building tricky narrative. So confident in juggling (and even simultaneously handling) several tones. Seething voice explodes in climax, and then ups the impact in gut-punching finale. A must-see.

BLACK PANTHER [2018, B] – Delicious peaks largely make up for occasional narrative lull. Doesn’t defy the Marvel formula, but maximizes its potential. Insightful on themes, even if packaged to be easily digestible. Call me disappointed with some visual choices. Truly engaging.

ROMA [2018, A-] – As sweeping an epic as it is deeply intimate. Sparse narrative demands patience, but atmosphere builds well. Pays dividends by the end. Excellent craftsmanship on full display. When it soars, it’s transcendent. Only a master filmmaker could have pulled this off.

A STAR IS BORN [2018, B+] – Post-Shallow storytelling still feels patchy, but the film has so much love for its characters. Performances shine even more. Cooper flat-out fantastic; shoulda been the Best Actor frontrunner. Gaga luminous, Elliot heartbreaking. Lovely.

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