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  • Ms. Purple

    Ms. Purple

    ★★

    Went to a special opening-weekend screening of this with a director + actress Q&A and everything - then walked out halfway through, dismayed at the ham-handed acting and flat script. I don’t do that very often, but Tiffany Chu and Teddy Lee, playing estranged Korean-American siblings in Los Angeles, either fell onto the wrong side of their own amateurism or were undercut by Chon’s direction; either way, their mutual depression and inability to cope with it felt unreal and half-baked.…

  • Downton Abbey

    Downton Abbey

    ★★★★

    One only goes to see the Downton Abbey film (“Good heavens! The king is coming for dinner!”) if they’re an unabashed fan of the television show, or if their wife, who’s an unabashed fan of the show, asks them nicely to accompany her. You’ll probably have no trouble guessing which one I am, and yet I’ve also gladly accompanied her through several seasons of the show and have evinced little struggle in doing so. I like Downton Abbey - it’s…

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  • Wanda

    Wanda

    ★★★★★

    This 1970 stunner was mostly hidden from all but the most dedicated cinephile’s view for years, until Criterion re-released it in a deluxe edition this year. I watched it with jaw dropped on the very first day the new Criterion Channel streaming service debuted. What a way to validate the subscription fee! If I’d seen this film during my initial 1970s cinema education/immersion (i.e. in the 70s themselves, and in the 10-15 years following), I’d have absolutely had it perched…

  • Spotlight

    Spotlight

    ★★★

    Find me a newsroom drama that isn't at least somewhat overwrought and overdone, and I'll find you a movie no one's ever seen before. It's simply the nature of the beast. The dramatic machinations of "breaking a big story" can only go so far on film, and unless the reporters are under some sort of imminent physical danger (say, perhaps, they're reporting in Russia or Iran), drama must be manufactured by having people fling themselves wildly into traffic in a…