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  • Christmas in July

    Christmas in July

    ★★★★★

    Short though dense and relentless attack on capitalism tempered by an optimistic view of humanity — when it’s not being riotously funny, it’s being poignant and wise. And there’s no doubt Preston Sturges would have killed in advertising — ‘If you can’t sleep at night, it isn’t the coffee, it’s the bunk,’ indeed. Not a second isn’t memorable. Arguably, it’s Sturges’s most perfect film.

  • Captain America: Civil War

    Captain America: Civil War

    ★★★½

    Probably the film which best captures the generic tone of Marvel comics (as opposed to the Jack Kirby freak-outs, well represented by James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies), which tended to be most enjoyable as team-ups — playing on the tensions between heroes, inevitably leading to a good-natured brawl. As a result this plays more like an Avengers movie rather than a Captain America flick. Chris Evans is great, as always, but it’s the second/third act additions of Black…

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  • Foreign Correspondent

    Foreign Correspondent

    ★★★★

    With David O Selznick off his back, Hitchcock revels in the Hollywood playground and produces his first blockbuster. It's also, arguably, his most typical adventure thriller until North by Northwest (which is, in some ways, a rehash of this film). It lacks the psychological complexities of Hitchcock's best films (including Rebecca), and even though WWII is on the doorstep, it's less pressing a propaganda piece than The Lady Vanishes, for example, apart from the earnest (and pretty terrific) tacked on…

  • Man's Favorite Sport?

    Man's Favorite Sport?

    ★★★★½

    Paula Prentiss's Abigail is so consumed by Rock Hudson's Roger Willoughby — a fraud but also a sweet, gentle soul — she goes a little nuts. She can't leave him alone, which causes Roger no amount of grief, but it also leads him to become the best version of himself. In other words, she makes an honest man out of him. This is Howard Hawks's most extreme statement concerning the battle of the sexes. At one point, Easy (Maria Perschy),…