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Wednesday, February 26 2014

Ambitious and Ludicrous Satire: ‘Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman: The Complete Series’

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman looks more like an Andy Warhol production on cable access than a nationally syndicated Norman Lear sitcom.


Tuesday, February 25 2014

Watching ‘Nebraska’ Is Like Taking a Road Trip Through the Twilight Years

Nebraska is a bittersweet film that will hit you between the eyes if you're like me: middle-aged and in a mood to reflect on where life has taken you and where you will go next.


‘Thor: The Dark World’ Brings the Hammer (and the Enthusiasm) Down

Thor worked due to its surprisingly-effective Shakespearean framework. Thor: The Dark World follows conventional Hollywood tropes and suffers for it.


Monday, February 24 2014

The Metaphysics of Isolation in Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Gravity’

Gravity is not just a visual feast in the CGI age; it also interrogates humankind's desire to plant feet on the final frontier by confronting it with its metaphysical implications.


A Little Ominous Noir Music Makes Jules Dassin’s ‘Rifif’ Nearly Perfect

This benchmark of the heist genre shows that for the criminal, elegance and brutality go hand-in-hand, never more vividly depicted than in this tightly structured ode to Paris.


Friday, February 21 2014

‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ Is an Omnibus Tribute to a Bizarre Array of Comic Talent

Stanley Kramer's widow notes that this movie was made more or less on a dare. Apocryphal or not, the origin makes sense.


Ooh La La, ‘The Prey’ Is a Nail-Biter

The Prey bounces along from one suspense-building setup to the next, erupting in a flurry of running, shooting, driving very fast, and occasionally falling from great heights.


Thursday, February 20 2014

The Sitcom As Ideological Torture

Family Matters is a sterling (and torturous) example of the allegedly “post-racial” America inaugurated by the bourgeois and only mildly Afrocentric triumphs of The Cosby Show.


The Chequered History of Nuns in Film

Guillaume Nicloux's 'The Nun' has a translucent woman at its centre; her face at first a budding rose becomes increasingly drawn and bruised over the course of the film.


Wednesday, February 19 2014

A Queer Reading of Truffaut’s Masterpiece, ‘Jules and Jim’

Jeanne Moreau is a bewitching temptress; but what about the men?


‘Battle of the Damned’ Will Leave You a Bit Skeeved Out

Battle of the Damned is almost incredibly fun, but winds up as bad as you anticipated.


Tuesday, February 18 2014

‘Darkman’: The Face of Revenge

Darkman, the darkest hero (an amalgam or classic horror monsters) versus the criminal underworld... in broad daylight.


Jiggle TV? ‘Charlie’s Angels’

It's worth noting that, the problematic politics of the series aside, this is not great TV.


Monday, February 17 2014

‘Game of Thrones’ Sets the Gold Standard for TV Dramas

It’s no wonder that Game of Thrones is one of HBO’s biggest successes and a worldwide phenomenon. Plus, you know, it's got dragons.


Friday, February 14 2014

‘Jayne Mansfield’s Car’ at the Fringe of the Family

This is a drama of two families brought together by death and the resulting stories that splinter off from that singular event.


The Darcys Have Reputation Anxiety in ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’

The spectre of murder threatens to divide Elizabeth and Darcy in this adaptation of P.D. James' Austen homage, but the poor grasp of character might be the more devastating crime, here.


Thursday, February 13 2014

‘A Single Shot’ Has Potential, but Bogs Down in Numbled Noir Shoe-Gazing

Most of A Single Shot is an almost fetishistic look at life in this small, broken down town.


Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in a Well-Made BBC Biopic

Helena Bonham Carter and Dominic West capture the emotional truth of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor's relationship in the BBC biopic, Burton and Taylor.


Wednesday, February 12 2014

‘Good Times’: Ain’t We Lucky We Got ‘Em?

The truth is that Good Times is an excellent and remarkably funny show. The irony of the show and its title continues to resonate.


‘The Phantom of the Opera’ Is Unsettling and Imbued with a Dense and Shadowy Gothic Atmosphere

This wonderful HD restoration of Universal's horror classic reiterates the brilliance of Lon Chaney's grotesque creation.


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