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The Counselor ***

Poor Scott. Forced to damn Bad Grandpa with faint praise. Only three stars, alas. For any other franchise save Marty Movies Inc., that would be high praise. Here, there is the unmistakable pungency of disappointment.

I am similarly limited with regard to The Counselor. My gut wants to give it four stars, but I have to confess that some of the monologues verged on speechifying me right out of the story. Doesn't matter how good they were. They felt, how do you say, literary. Understandable? Sure. Laudable? Less sure. Still: so much to love, and many scenes that will stay with me. A smart film about foolish people, with plenty of gnawable meat on its bones.

Less impressive: the Beat murder story Kill Your Darlings and the Middle Eastern Huck Finn Zaytoun. More people might care about the former if people still read books, and more people might care about the latter if it had kept up the energy of its first act.

Unseen so far, but on the list: All is Lost.

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