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Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe

When Mike Judge’s animated creations Beavis and Butt-Head came to the big screen in 1996’s Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, it was a cinematic event. The movie expanded on the popular MTV series, adding a wider scope to the story, with new characters, higher stakes, more sophisticated animation, celebrity voice actors, and more elaborate jokes. […]

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Stalker

A consumer tip for tired viewers scrolling through streaming services late at night, looking for a nasty paranoid thriller and maybe getting confused by similar titles: Watcher is about a young woman in Romania being followed by a creepy neighbor. Stalker is about a young man in Los Angeles being followed by a creepy ride-share […]

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Coast

Bored teenagers, fighting with their parents, depending fiercely on each other, driving aimlessly around their California town and wondering what’s next after high school. And convinced, whatever it is, it has to be better than this. American Graffiti, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Lady Bird — it’s not a novel story. But while Coast doesn’t […]

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is ostensibly a sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange. But since the first film featuring Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sorcerer Supreme arrived in theaters, a lot’s happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to both Strange and the franchise’s many other characters. As a result, the latest MCU film also functions as […]

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Dual

A sort of comedic spin on the concept of last year’s sci-fi drama Swan Song, Riley Stearns’ Dual acknowledges the inherent absurdity and creepiness of the central idea, while allowing the characters to play things straight. In both movies, the terminally ill main character signs up for a program that creates a clone of them […]

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Locked In

What makes for good drama also often makes for low-budget filmmaking. Sticking to a small cast of characters, a single setting and a confined period of time is a great way to keep your costs low. But, as playwrights going back to the ancient Greeks knew, it’s also a way to emphasize conflict, ratchet up […]

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For Hannah

Most films would be better if their screenplays had gone through just one more draft. For Hannah probably could have used one fewer. The core of the movie is a gripping little wintry noir. A desperate bank robber is trying to get out of town only to have his car break down. He trudges through […]

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What We Do Next

It’s a human impulse to reach out and help. But what happens when that help turns to harm? Are we obligated to then set things right? To do whatever it takes? That’s the question raised in What We Do Next, a talky but intriguing movie from writer/director Stephen Belber. After hearing the anguish of an […]

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Facing Nolan

Drama is conflict. So how do you make an exciting documentary about an unconflicted man? That’s the challenge facing Bradley Jackson, the director of Facing Nolan, a non-fiction film about baseball’s living legend, Nolan Ryan. It’s not just that this is an authorized, and therefore presumably censored, autobiography. It’s that,  what is there to censor? […]

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Morbius

Every once in awhile a movie comes along that seems so ill-conceived, it’s hard to understand how it managed to get made. Morbius is that kind of movie. From the very beginning, it demonstrates its tenuous relationship with logic when Jared Leto’s Dr. Michael Morbius – who has made it his life’s work to cure […]

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Deep Water

It’s been 20 years since Unfaithful, Adrian Lyne’s last outing as a director, but many of the preoccupations featured in that film – as well as some of his other erotic thrillers, such as Indecent Proposal and Fatal Attraction – also drive his latest, Deep Water. With a plot that revolves around marriage, infidelity, and […]

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Turning Red

Turning Red focuses on the changes that happen during puberty, which makes it highly relatable. However, while its central metaphor, which sees the 13-year-old main character Mei (Rosalie Chiang) turn into an enormous red panda every time she gets emotional, makes for an adorable dilemma, it doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny. More successful is […]

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Maysville

Think they just don’t make ‘em like that anymore? Maysville is proof they do. The Appalachian drama is set in the 1920s, but it might just as well have been filmed then, too. The violence is mostly offscreen. The only vaguely erotic moment comes when the leading lady goes for a midnight swim – in […]

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Ghost Light

It is a tale told by several idiots, full of jokes and laughter, signifying nothing … but fun. That’s the basic description of Ghost Light, anyway, a good-humored black comedy featuring a lot of eccentric characters, a few good performers and several premature deaths. Think Knives Out meets the Bard. The idea has a group […]

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After Yang

Writer-director Kogonada creates an immersive future world in his contemplative sci-fi drama After Yang, but he’s more interested in existential musings than in predicting the course of society. There’s little to no explanation for how long “technosapiens” have been part of everyday life, where they came from or what their functions are beyond the insular […]

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