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  • Spider-Man: Homecoming

    Spider-Man: Homecoming

    Oh, I get it: Spiderman is a cop. Not a cop-cop—more like the hipster cop who stalked Occupy in New York. Your "friendly, neighborhood" spidercop, your cute cop with a good hair cut, an unassumingly lean build, a modicum of personal style, an abundance of charm. He'll talk you up as he strokes your bodega cat. But he's still the guy who'll needlessly interrogate you on the street, leave you cuffed—or in this case, webbed to a car—and walk away…

  • Girls Trip

    Girls Trip

    Lee, perhaps best known for directing The Best Man (1999) and its sequel, stumbles here and there in the filmmaking — the movie has more than its share of awkward or outright bad shots — but not enough to distract you from the real trophy here: the chemistry of its stars. The movie faltered, for me, only when it fell into the motions of the overfamiliar. I’m not sure any modern comedy from here on needs a drug or alcohol trip set on the…

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  • Manchester by the Sea

    Manchester by the Sea

    A colleague from my graduate program published this substantial piece in the Los Angeles Review of Books taking the movie to task smartly, but perhaps in over-familiar ways—it's the best and most worthwhile version of an argument about race, privilege and this film that I disagree with. It raises a lot of questions for me, so I responded on Facebook today (1.16.2017) with the following:

    This is really sharp. The points about melodrama and masculinity are especially dead-on. I think…

  • Spotlight

    Spotlight

    Here is when it all falls apart -- rather, shows itself becoming the film it wants, but doesn't need to be. Marty Baron (Schreiber) has just become the new editor of the Boston Globe. Boston is a Catholic town, rich with institutional history: a robust popular press, a monolithic church. Baron, newly minted as the editor of the biggest newspaper in town and a Jew to boot, must meet with Cardinal Bernard Law, the since-defamed Archbishop of Boston, because these…