What's going on in popular cinema?

These days, mass-market films seem to have become almost as confusing as arthouse fare. What can it all mean?

You hear a lot about "dumbing down" in the cinema. References to formulaic plots and easy-access characterisations abound, so that you could be forgiven for thinking Mr Lowestcommondenominator is not only calling the shots, but framing, cutting and writing them as well.

In fact, it seems to me, a great many of today's mass-market movies are not so much dumbed down as dumbed up...

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