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One of the many surprises in Wes Anderson's rich, layered and quirkily entertaining new film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is the emergence

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Digital characters have by now long populated our movies like unwanted house guests. Some of these CGI inventions, like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, have been pleasant, even precious company. But most have disrupted our movie worlds and not just as monsters tearing our cities apart, but as awkward distractions to our cinematic realities. The name Jar Jar Binks will forever be followed by solemn head shaking. Never forget.

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Meet Tammy. Boy, is she a mess. Angry, profane and aggressive, then suddenly shy and sweet. Sometimes she's funny, sometimes totally not. She can't figure out what she wants to do or be, or where to go. She has loads of people around her, yet can't figure out what to do with them. This one's in desperate need of outside help.

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Crash. Shatter. Boom. Crash. Shatter. Boom. Smattering of silly dialogue. Pretty girl screams: "Dad!" Crash. Shatter. Boom. Silly dialogue. "DAD!!!" Crash. Shatter. Boom.

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Things are always worse the second time around, the deputy police chief warns the buddy-cop team of Jenko and Schmidt in 22 Jump Street.

He's talking about their next assignment, but of course, it's an inside joke with the audience. 22 Jump Street, starring the inspired comic duo of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, is a sequel, and movie sequels are indeed often worse (especially when, as the chief also points out, the budget's bigger the second time around.)

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Let's start with the obvious. For its core audience, The Fault in Our Stars is essentially critic-proof. If you're a fan of the wildly popular young-adult book by John Green, and have already shed tears at its story of teenage cancer patients learning about life, love and sex as they fight to stay alive, then you'll be a fan of this movie.

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You thought it was tricky to train a dragon?

It's even trickier to take a much-admired animated film and make a sequel that feels satisfying and worthwhile. And it's harder still to balance the competing needs of stretching the story in new directions but retaining the guiding spirit of the original enough to make fans happy.

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The time-shifting sci-fi thriller Edge of Tomorrow has perfectly encapsulated what it is to be a summertime moviegoer.

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Maybe it's too soon to say the tide has shifted definitively. But it's certainly been a unique time for fairy-tale villains.

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Matthew Vaughn and a superb cast reinvigorated the franchise with cool retro style and globe-trotting intrigue in 2011's X-Men: First Class. The series' original director, Bryan Singer, continues that momentum in the vigorously entertaining X-Men: Days of Future Past. While it's more dramatically diffuse than the reboot and lacks a definitive villain, the new film is shot through with a stirring reverence for the Marvel Comics characters and their universe. And it ups the stakes by threatening nothing less than the genocide of the mutant population, among them faces old and new.

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