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  • My Cousin Rachel

    My Cousin Rachel

    ★★★★

    Rachel Weisz walks a fine line in this film. She has a nearly impossible task as an actor. We hear so much about her before she ever even comes onscreen, so when she does, it must be with all the prowess, power, femininity, and obliqueness that we've come to expect. And she succeeds with flying colors. She is as infatuating to the audience as she is to her smitten cousin, but she is also never overtly sensual or sexy. She…

  • A Day at the Races

    A Day at the Races

    ★★★

    Mania goes leisurely. It's awkwardly paced and far too long, with time unfortunately devoted to some of the less interesting aspects of the film, but once you accept that this isn't a movie but rather a vaudeville variety show filmed with a camera, it becomes more accessible. For all the cumbersomeness of the musical interludes, they're actually fairly lovely and beautifully choreographed. But still, the best parts are when Groucho (my favorite by a long shot) gets to wink and…

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  • The Mummy

    The Mummy

    ★½

    This movie is nearly incompetent. It has no idea what kind of movie it wants to be--comedy, horror, adventure, romance--so it tries its hand at all of the above and fails at each. Not even Tom Cruise can guide his way through this slog of a movie, which trips over its own mythology and story at every turn.

    I'm convinced a third grader wrote this movie. That's the only way I can explain the truly horrific screenplay that's put onscreen.…

  • The Shawshank Redemption

    The Shawshank Redemption

    ★★★★★

    One of the most crowd-pleasing films of all time but also simply one of the best, The Shawshank Redemption is a modern classic if I've ever seen one. I was somewhat trepidatious for this rewatch even if I already loved the film before--was I going to be turned off by the maudlin optimism or the incessant narration from Morgan Freeman? While both thoughts crossed my mind, I quickly found myself more enraptured in this vibrant tale than ever before.

    For…