REVIEW: A Quiet Place Part II [2021]

They’re not the kind of people worth saving. Part of the appeal to A Quiet Place was its vacuumed existence as a chapter in the lives of people as they are right now without any desire to pretend who they were or what they may become is relevant. It’s not because it can’t be. The Abbott family can’t afford to remember or dream because alien creatures have decimated Earth. If not for the fact that young Regan (Millicent Simmonds) was born deaf and therefore pushed the rest of them to…

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REVIEW: Shanghai Express [1932]

You’re in China now. Where time and life have no value. The three-day train ride from Peking to Shanghai has commenced and all anyone’s talking about is the rumor that the infamous Shanghai Lily (Marlene Dietrich) is on-board. Most of the passengers, like respectable boarding house owner Mrs. Haggerty (Louise Closser Hale) and Christian missionary Mr. Carmichael (Lawrence Grant), are scandalized by the prospect, but others, like the genial Mr. Chang (Warner Oland), are curious about their prospects where it comes to getting to know her better (wink). Captain Donald…

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REVIEW: The French Dispatch [2021]

Just try to make it sound like you wrote it that way on purpose. I’m not sure you can get a more unadulterated shot to the vein of Wes Anderson than his quasi-anthology film The French Dispatch. Born from his own mind (and that of frequent collaborators Roman Coppola, Hugo Guinness, and Jason Schwartzman) with a healthy dose of inspiration taken from his adoration of The New Yorker, this self-proclaimed love letter to journalism set abroad in France proves to be the perfect venue for the auteur to distill his…

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REVIEW: Spencer [2021]

Where am I? The magic has long since disappeared where it comes to Prince Charles (Jack Farthing) and Princess Diana (Kristen Stewart) at the time director Pablo Larraín and screenwriter Steven Knight have set their “fable inspired by a true tragedy” entitled Spencer. It’s Christmas weekend and everyone already knows an end of some sort is near. Will there be a divorce? Will there be a scandal? Will there simply be scowling faces resigned to the fact that there will never be an escape from this joyless union that cannot…

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REVIEW: Far from the Tree [2021]

Parent raccoon is off to find some food to eat for themself and their child. They peek out from under their rock cave, sniff the air for predators, and tell the youngster to stay behind before ambling a couple feet out into the sand to dig. Every time they look back, however, their offspring is nowhere to be seen. Natalie Nourigat‘s Far from the Tree is thus revealed as being a tried-and-true tale of curiosity and excitement inside the mind of an impressionable youth. Who could blame the little raccoon…

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REVIEW: The Eyes of Tammy Faye [2021]

God loves you. He really, really does. Director Michael Showalter‘s The Eyes of Tammy Faye is not about Tammy Faye Bakker. I wish it was. She’s quite the figure with a heart of gold only challenged in size by a wealth of naivete and trust. A televangelist alongside her husband Jim on a television network they built into the fourth most-watched channel in America, she seems to have truly wanted to shower every single soul put on this earth with her love. And success was her way to do it.…

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REVIEW: ドライブ・マイ・カー [Doraibu mai kâ] [Drive My Car] [2021]

Those who survive keep thinking about the dead. The film starts with Yûsuke (Hidetoshi Nishijima) and Oto Kafuku (Reika Kirishima) naked in bed, him half asleep and her relaying the latest lightning struck plot bouncing around her subconscious. It’s about a teenage girl who’s so infatuated with her crush that she breaks into his house when no one is there, taking small tokens amongst his possessions and leaving some of her own in the hopes that the transfer would somehow indelibly bond them. The next morning sees the couple in…

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REVIEW: Being the Ricardos [2021]

It was a scary goddamn week. The tabloids were running an article about Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) having an extramarital affair. The radio was insinuating Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) was a communist. And the two of them had planned to go into the studio the next morning to let everyone know they were having another baby. Whether all that happened on the same night or not—Aaron Sorkin has never been shy with bending the truth or timelines for additional drama—you cannot deny it’s a lethal combination for a rousing behind-the-scenes…

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REVIEW: Eternals [2021]

It’s almost time. With twenty-five films and a fully realized serial arc already released, I wonder how many viewers checked out of Chloé Zhao‘s singular Eternals before the preamble was even complete. Despite all that context and investment, we’re made to read about all-powerful beings called Celestials, God-like immortals who inspired the cultural epics and heroes we still teach our children today, and other-worldly malicious creatures known as Deviants who’ve threatened humanity’s salvation for millennia. It’s obviously a big ask. One that Kevin Feige and company couldn’t have even suggested…

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REVIEW: King Richard [2021]

We need to make two more kids. You couldn’t watch tennis in the mid-90s without hearing an opinion about Richard Williams lurking behind his camera in the stands while his daughters Venus and Serena took the American program and the sport itself by storm. Every commentator had something to say to simultaneously champion his efforts putting them on the road to superstardom and vilify his off-court persona via his parenting technique, self-promotion, and hijinks. At times he became the bigger story and thus a big distraction to what the Williams…

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REVIEW: Below the Fold [2021]

Nothing can be done. A sleepy Missouri newspaper is struggling to find stories besides puff pieces about local relations vying for the latest tractor pull championship. Having the ten-year anniversary of an unsolved disappearance case coming up shortly after the victim’s mother passed with a wish to keep her daughter’s memory alive is thus a blessing for the printed page since it means David Fremont (Davis DeRock) can knock on some doors and conduct some substantive interviews for once … even if he knows he probably won’t learn anything new.…

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