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  • Mission: Impossible - Fallout

    Mission: Impossible - Fallout


    A technically sound but not ground-breaking action picture. Strengthened by Tom Cruise’s stunt performances, comic relief from Simon Pegg, and solid performances by Rebecca Ferguson, Michelle Monaghan, & Vanessa Kirby. And a trip to Kashmir! Twists felt betrayed a bit too early on or otherwise overly contrived.

  • Mr. Turner

    Mr. Turner


    Having been reading about Mike Leigh’s approach to directing actors, this was the first of his films that I’ve seen. J.M.W. Turner’s painting, The Slave Ship, is one I’ve spent a lot of time with visits to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. So part curiosity for the director and part for the life of the artist at the center of this film drew me to it. Turner is a man who very much compartmentalizes his life, but perhaps…

  • Arsenic and Old Lace

    Arsenic and Old Lace


    If Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope was a screwball comedy with old ladies set during Halloween, you’d essentially have this film, which predominantly takes place in one location and mostly with a continuous sense of time. Given how much is implied or occurs off-screen, this film feels minimally adapted from the mechanics of its original form as a play. Where Cary Grant spends the beginning of Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest trying to convince the police of ill-deeds against him, here he…

  • Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

    Mr. Deeds Goes to Town


    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is a more obvious precedent to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington than I would have thought. Gary Cooper comes into money three years before Jimmy Stewart comes into a Congress seat and while there are enough differences to make two films, they clearly share the same DNA (not to mention Jean Arthur). Still, Capra has a knack for directing characters that feel truly human and spontaneous that is not to be ignored. Having seen It’s…