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  • John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection

    John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection

    ★★★½

    I expected perhaps an elevated or at least a clever kind of sports documentary but I was shocked to discover it’s not a sports documentary at all. It purports to be more of a meditation on filmmaking and frankly a kind of pretentious one at that. Its highfalutin script doesn’t quite land all of the assertions it makes about McEnroe’s game as art.

    What it does succeed at is creating a kind of expressionist painting of what it means to…

  • Arsenic and Old Lace

    Arsenic and Old Lace

    ★★½

    I had very fond memories of this as a kid so I tried to watch it with my kids and was surprised by how scary and also uneven it is. It starts out in a screwball mode then turns into a straight-up horror film and finally resolves itself with hasty perfunctoriness. It's not unpleasant really, but it feels more like a bag of doorknobs than a well-honed theatrical adaptation.

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  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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

    Way, way back in “Episode V," when Darth Vader revealed himself to Luke Skywalker as his father, it felt like an earthquake. Suddenly a deep, telling connection was revealed, and it totally changed the way we understood the story being told.

    In J.J. Abrams’s monumentally stupid “Episode IX,” _everything_ is connected, everyone is related to everyone else, and it couldn't be less surprising, less impactful, because when everything is meant to be important, nothing is. Abrams has perverted the whole…

  • John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

    John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

    ★★

    This is what usually happens: a film creates a compelling fantasy world and fans clamor for more. So sequels build that world out, they show more of its mechanics, its people, its history. But “John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum” demonstrates one little acknowledged principle of escalated world building: the inevitable outcome is bureaucracy. 


    Any fantasy (and the Wick-verse is as fantastical as any franchise) relies as much on what it doesn’t reveal as on what it does, leaving enough to the…