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Reel Change on “Everybody”

I liked Richard Linklater’s “Everybody Wants Some!!” so much I wrote about it twice. First, there was my review in Washington City Paper. My editor challenged me to draw some connections between the film and “Born to be Blue,” a biopic of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker that was released the same day. I did my…

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At Least “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” Gets its Feminism Right

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Tina Fey’s new war-journalism rom-com, is getting hit from all sides. In addition to its paltry box-office performance, accusations of whitewashing have rightly dogged the filmmakers, who cast American actor Christopher Abbott and British actor Alfred Molina as Afghan characters. Fey herself is taking the brunt of the blame, epitomized by Buzzfeed’s…

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2015: Year in Review

Dear Reader, Hey! Good to see ya. How are you? How was your year? Don’t actually answer, of course. I’m just waiting for you to ask me about my year so I can write the rest of this post. Sorry, but I thought it was rude to just jump in and start monologuing about myself.…

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I Hated, Hated, Hated “The Hateful Eight”

Quentin Tarantino is not exactly known for his subtlety, so when he opens The Hateful Eight with a close-up of a crucifix half-buried in snow, we know what he means: his is a world where salvation is dead and no god exists. Well, there is one god at least, but his name is above the…

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“Creed” is the New American Hero

You’d be forgiven if, when you heard they were rebooting the “Rocky” franchise, you groaned and rolled your eyes. I certainly did. At this point, it’s easy to be cynical about the Hollywood sequel-making machine, but when done right, a film franchise can still provide unique pleasures. “Creed” follows the lead of James Bond and…

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What You Missed in the Summer of ’15

Dear Readers, Remember me? No worries if you don’t. It has been a slow summer of criticism for me, and for a variety of reasons. First and foremost is that, as I get older, I have less and less patience for the slew of commercial crapola that Hollywood spews out during the warmer months, and so I’ve…

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Note to “Trainwreck” Critics: All Hollywood Movies are Conservative

By all the usual metrics, Trainwreck has been a smash with critics (85% on Rotten Tomatoes), so why does everyone seem so disappointed? Numerous articles have sounded notes of disillusionment at the way the film turns Amy Schumer, the politically progressive, button-pushing television star, into something a little more conservative. “Are there any modern comedies…