The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. (IMDb)
It’s a dialogue-heavy courtroom drama with all the humour, high-stakes intensity, and fiery one-liners (“What’s your price?” “My life”) of an action film. The script and editing masterfully ramp up the pre-, during-, and post-protest tension simultaneously (adding in Abbie’s stand-up was a cool touch) and the cast is excellent (Rylance and Cohen are standouts). The prominence then disappearance of Seale’s poignant sub-plot is the only real misstep here (the ending is schmaltzy but effective).
8.5/10 (Amazing)

Ready Player One (2018)

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When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune. (IMDb)
The OASIS is fun (maybe more for others, but I’m glad to say I thoroughly enjoyed The Shining visitation), but it’s the back-and-forth dynamic between it and reality that’s really well done and makes for lots of entertaining action hi-jinks (see the fooling of Sorrento). In the end though, it wastes the potential of its characters (there should be a whole movie made about the tragic Halliday) as well as the deeper reality vs. entertainment theme underlying the sadly neglected dystopian setting.
7/10 (Good)

Dunkirk (2017)

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Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II. (IMDb)
I appreciated the effort to strip any story fluff or contrived emotions away from the event at hand, and along with the triple-timeline narrative it made for a tightly focused and refreshing approach to the genre, but in the end its lack of exposition on the event’s scope and context (just a title screen wasn’t enough for me) made for a bit of an underwhelming experience, despite the amazing visuals, tense action set pieces, solid acting, and perfectly subtle yet strong character work.
7.5/10 (Really Good)