Warcraft (Duncan Jones, 2016)

 Lok’tar ogar! Zug-zug.

W A R C R A F T (spacing concurrent to movie title, which is weird since Warcraft has always had closely tucked together letters): what a strange film! It has all the outward appearance of a Blizzard cutscene that occasionally strayed into schlocky Dungeons & Dragons movie territory. Not necessarily by overacting, but more by its staging and flat story. And yet, I totally loved it while seeing it, and now that I've been home for 24 hours I still dig it. Usually my brain uses that time to figure out what it really thinks of a film (and perceptions can then totally skew from what I thought in the cinema), but Warcraft firmly stays in the 'good' range.

Captain America: Civil War (Anthony and Joe Russo 2016)

I want to punch you in your perfect teeth (spoiler notice)

Cap does it again. After being (either mildly or strongly) disappointed with every MCU offering since The Winter Soldier, the Russos show they have what it takes. They once again deliver an intriguing, heartfelt superhero thriller, without being swamped by the array of characters on display. Age of Ultron was in that manner buried under its own weight, Guardians of the Galaxy was surprising but a little slight, Ant-Man was a trifle to the point of not mattering. If you count Deadpool: for all its refreshing bravura that too was it its heart a very standard superhero film with a dull ending. It's been years since I left a Marvel film feeling electrified, much less intellectually engaged.

The Hateful Eight (Quentin Tarantino, 2016)

Not a warning, not a question... a bullet (spoiler notice)

How do you make a minute-long shot of a snow-burdened carving of Jesus on the crucifix the very height of suspense? Simple. Shoot it beautifully in Ultra Panavision 70 (with a whopping 2.76:1 aspect ratio) and have maestro Ennio Morricone score the damn thing. As the custom-built camera draws back and reveals the approach of a distant stagecoach in this, The Hateful Eight, we can already be pretty sure few if any of its occupants will get through the film alive.