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  • Purple Noon

    Purple Noon

    ★★★½

    Apparently hewing closer to Patricia Highsmith's novel (which sits unread on my bookshelf) than did Anthony Minghella's adaptation, Purple Noon concentrates procedural aspects of the crime—the murder, the forging of the fake passport, liquidating his assets, and the like. It didn’t delve into the class envy that so fascinated Minghella. And for those of us who came to The Talented Mr. Ripley first, Purple Noon’s Ripley is quite a departure. He’s not an ingenious improviser committing a crime of opportunity,…

  • Back to the Future Part II

    Back to the Future Part II

    ★★½

    Revisiting this brought to mind one of my favorite recent tweets: "At this point, I think it's safe to assume that no one ever invents time travel with the capacity to go back and warn people."

    Anyway, had completely forgotten that Part II devoted more time outside of the 2015 timeframe than within it. Just as well, as it's in keeping with the trilogy's rather brilliant conceit—the eternal recurrence of the McFly v. Tannen feud, playing out across alternate timelines.…

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  • The Crimson Kimono

    The Crimson Kimono

    ★★★½

    Pea Brain: You call this noir? It’s a dopey police procedural, lacking in tension and style, with a last-second revelation that makes absolutely no sense. For my money, this is the weakest entry in Criterion Channel’s Columbia Noir series.

    Normal Brain: Look, the whodunnit is a let down, but it’s a fascinating historical document on representation. How many movies of that era feature an Asian-American co-lead? How many explore the “just how American are you” question at the root of…

  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    ★★½

    Glad I shielded myself from spoilers and waited for streaming, as I had more fun calling out the plot turns, close calls, Force ghost/ghost dad encores, and reversals right before they happen than I had watching the movie itself. Think I ended up batting about .800, but there’s nothing to it: All one has to do is anticipate the outcome the Star Wars Superfan would most favor in any given scene, and somehow this film will deliver right on cue.