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  • A Master Builder

    A Master Builder

    ★★½

    There is a growing trend in stage-to-screen adaptations that seems to trade on the (I would argue) mistaken belief that the way to make a stage-bound production more cinematic is to eliminate, as much as possible, the distance between the audience and the characters. On the stage, this school reasons, the audience is set back, sometimes at a great distance from the actors, always straining a bit to get closer, always curious what little flourishes might be missed. Yet on…

  • Borgman

    Borgman

    ★★½

    Borgman opens like something out of a Beckett play, then proceeds to resemble the work of Michael Haneke as it moves along. In its first half, the film strings together a series of mysterious happenings with vaguely supernatural undertones, weird moments that are striking in and of themselves but never quite coalesce into something much fuller. From fairly early on, it is clear that the film, by director Alex van Warmerdam, is an extended critique of the upper class, a…

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  • Wonder Boys

    Wonder Boys

    ★★★★½

    Professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas) has been writing his latest novel for seven years—its now over two thousand pages long and still not done. When his wife leaves him, his mistress and boss (Frances Mcdormand) announces she's pregnant, his agent (Robert Downey Jr.) comes to town to pressure him on the book, and an eccentric student (Toby Maguire) begins to entwine himself in Grady's life, things are about to come to a head. Vacillating in a pot-induced haze, Grady takes…

  • Singin' in the Rain

    Singin' in the Rain

    ★★★★★

    In the Golden Era of Hollywood, the musical was, at its core, a celebration. It was a love letter to the concept of putting on a show, a paean to collaboration, and an ode to the power of film, to the power of song, and to the power of love. In that regard, Singin’ in the Rain is probably the greatest musical produced in the greatest age for musicals, a witty, heartwarming, toe-tapping celebration of the studio system and the…