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  • Crazy Rich Asians

    Crazy Rich Asians

    ★★★

    This and Black Panther were the yin-yang pop-culture parties of their year, showing fantasies of limitless opulence and power, while reassuring their white audiences that even if non-white societies don't bear the mark of white oppression, they still fight among themselves and, underneath the trappings of dominance, are miserable. T'Challa reminded Wakanda to share the wealth, and Constance Wu reminds old-money Asian dynasties that class doesn't matter next to good ol' love. The story, based on Kevin Kwan's bestseller, is…

  • Night School

    Night School

    ★★½

    I watched the extended cut, which is only five minutes longer than the theatrical cut. Either way, I assume the scenes go on about twice as long as they need to, but I'm not watching the theatrical cut to find out. Kevin Hart needs his GED; Tiffany Haddish is his teacher. It's as banal and conventional as can be, except maybe that Haddish's character is revealed as gay about three-quarters of the way through, for no apparent reason other than…

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  • Batman Returns

    Batman Returns

    ★★★★★

    The second and (I persist in saying) best of the Batman movies is much more a Tim Burton film than the first. As always, the story is a clothesline for grand, lavish images. The surprise here is that they're darker, more painfully felt. Burton continues his obsession with loneliness and persecution by giving us not one but three outcasts: Batman (Michael Keaton), of course, but also the egg-shaped, bile-spewing Penguin (Danny DeVito) and the vengeful, borderline sadomasochistic Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer).…

  • Ratcatcher

    Ratcatcher

    ★★★★★

    One of the great modern films. It's set in Glasgow during the 1973 garbage strike, when trash piled up in the alleys and provided feasts for rats. Twelve-year-old James (William Eadie) drags himself through the streets, annoyed by his older and younger sisters, perplexed by a weird animal-loving friend, smitten by an older girl who seems to be giving a tumble to every neighborhood punk, and dreaming of life outside the squalor and filth of Glasgow -- specifically, a new,…