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  • 20 Feet from Stardom 2013

    ★★★ Watched 30 Mar, 2014

    Whether they’re grappling with the side effects of success or (more likely) licking the wounds of failure, I don’t have much sympathy for people trying to be superstars. And as much as 20 Feet from Stardom is primarily an affectionate profile of some of pop’s most noteworthy backup singers, it spends a little too much time entertaining assertions that these (mostly) women’s status as historical footnotes is some kind of gross injustice.

    Granted, it’s not all pity party, and even…

  • Veronica Mars 2014

    ★★★ Watched 14 Mar, 2014

    Veronica Mars has a lot of work to do. For the cult following of the TV series that spawned it, it needs to be a reunion, and for the potential fans who never saw that series, it needs to be an introduction. The series’ third season attempted a similar balancing act, eschewing the first two seasons’ year-long, serialized story arcs in favor of standalone episodes that wouldn’t put off new viewers unfamiliar with the backstory. It didn’t work: the existing…

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  • The Others 2001

    ★★ Watched 21 Oct, 2011 4

    Remember when Nirvana exploded and every major label scrambled to sign any band they could find that was even remotely similar? Well, if The Sixth Sense is Nirvana (and given how quickly M Night Shyamalan squandered whatever goodwill his breakout hit engendered, I hesitate to draw the comparison), then The Others is Bush.

    The themes, tone, essential plot points, and even the color palette are all lifted directly. To its credit, this is not immediately apparent, and the way the…

  • The Trip 2010

    ★★★★ Watched 06 Nov, 2011 5

    Following Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon on a week-long drive through the sights, sounds, and tastes of the northern English countryside, The Trip is equal parts tour documentary, buddy movie, and road trip flick. But more than anything, and in spite of its many laughs, it is a poignant meditation on aging.

    Ostensibly playing themselves, Coogan and Brydon are a juxtaposition of insecure and self-possessed, of serious artist and happy-go-lucky entertainer. Their differences are sussed out in conversations brimming over…