May 18, 2022

Are We Not Men?: ‘Men’ is a dynamo of heartache taken to bizarre extremes

Alex Garland’s Men is remarkable, not so much for its basic story—a fairly typical horror-film situation about a young woman, on the mend from a personal tragedy, who unwisely decides to vacation, alone, in an old dark house in the country, and what happens to her. Nor for its...
Apr 13, 2022

Dull Blade: Spy flicks aren’t supposed to be as tedious as ‘All the Old...

CIA operative Henry Pelham (Chris Pine) is in a bit of a jam. In his efforts to rid the agency of an unknown mole who may be responsible for a deadly skyjacking, Henry is brought face to...
Apr 6, 2022

‘Tude Renewed: The Criterion Channel goes ‘Beyond Blaxploitation’

Once again, it’s a shame about the label “Blaxploitation.” For the obvious reason: juxtaposing the words “Black” and “exploitation” raises ugly societal issues better suited for a political discussion of the history of American racism, not necessarily...
Mar 30, 2022

Auto Eats: Documentary reflects on significance of Automat diners

There was a time when, for the price of a nickel, diners could participate in a uniquely American food phenom. The Automat anticipated both the worlds of fast food and "self-serve," became a social institution, then vanished into...
Mar 30, 2022

Out of the Past: Penetrating documentary ‘When We Were Bullies’ uncovers a forgotten disgrace

There are documentarians, and then there is Jay Rosenblatt.  Other doc-makers tend to migrate from the general to the specific in their work, moving from a broad scope down to the personal in telling their subjects’ stories. Rosenblatt...
Mar 21, 2022

Married to It: Presenting Patricia Highsmith’s venomous matrimonial demolition derby, ‘Deep Water’

There’s a certain amount of twisted sport in handicapping the two contestants pitted against each other in Deep Water, the violent new marital grudge-match melodrama. At first glance Vic Van Allen (Ben Affleck) and his wife Melinda...
Mar 16, 2022

Strong Suit: Actor Mark Rylance cuts a memorable figure in ‘The Outfit’

The Outfit is an odd little crime drama that gets raised up a notch by the performance of Mark Rylance, an actor who specializes in odd little characters.  Sir Mark Rylance, born in the U.K. but raised and...
Mar 9, 2022

Vodka Breath: Despite everything, ‘Compartment No. 6’ sneaks up on Russian romance

Planning a vacation in Russia anytime soon? Probably not. In any case, consider the story of a young Finnish woman studying archaeology there, who decides to explore the country in the middle of winter by taking a...
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