The Drop 7.5

Atmosphere, characters and great acting – what more could you want? A plot that makes sense? Nah, just keep us guessing and move it along, a la Lehane’s earlier Shutter Island. (I mean, why would a punk keep wearing a broken watch?) Tom Hardy’s near-autistic bartender was astonishing: you could read the blankness behind his eyes. John Ortiz was just as good at showing the cop’s intelligence and James Gandolfini fell in between, smarter than the average, but not smart enough. And when you need to personify malevolent violence, it’s nice that we now have Chechens. But mostly we were on edge the whole dark movie, which is a good night out.

The Kill Team – 6

What was fascinating was trying to figure out how the filmmakers got their footage of Adam Winfield with his psychiatrist, his defense lawyer, his parents. Perhaps someone decided when he got arrested that his best hope of justice was to film everything. Getting such cooperation from codefendant Morlock, after he was sentenced to 24 years detention, was also noteworthy. The film itself, however, could as easily have been reduced to a 20 Minutes segment.

Tim’s Vermeer – 5

Tedious in the extreme, even when seen on a transocean airflight. The opening montage of actual Vermeer paintings made everything that followed pale in comparison. An analogy might be watching someone without much personality dissecting a Penn & Teller magic trick for 90 minutes, as opposed to watching the trick itself.

Guardians of the Galaxy – 7.7

A good-spirited hoot of a movie. Lots of character-based laugh-out-loud moments and fun ’80s music amid all the whizzing around. It came across not so much as a Star Wars parody as a Star Wars reductio ad absurdum, with a raccoon in place of R2-D2 and a tree for 3CPO.