Two new essays in one week: The Enlightened Replicant and the Liberated Marionette

New writing is heating up my laptop these days. I have two new essays — my first ever contribution to my favorite film-essay website, Bright Wall Dark Room, and the second in my new series on faith and fantasy at The Rabbit Room, a reflection on Disney's 1940 feature Pinocchio.


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Where Did My Community Go? Marcel the Shell Offers Insight at The Rabbit Room

After posting my initial review of Marcel the Shell With Shoes One here at Looking Closer, I've contributed a second consideration of the film (after seeing the film twice more) to the wonderful website hosted by my friends at The Rabbit Room.


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In Roger Michell’s final film*, Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren are in trouble with the law

Roger Michell's final film* is an endearing epilogue to an impressive career, but even the headliners Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren can't make this one memorable.


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Mrs. Harris goes to the land of pure imagination

The great Leslie Manville proves that she can make even a cloying crowdpleaser like this worth watching. You might find this "power of positive thinking" fairy tale a blessed relief it is from the punishing darkness and violence of almost everything else this summer. (Or, if you're like me, you might find it too sticky sweet for its own good.)


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Moretz is magnificent as the gremlin-fighting Maude

This isn't a one-woman show, but it's close: Chloë Grace Moretz gives this cartoonish action film a far stronger central performance than it needs, and that turns an otherwise forgettable action thriller into surprisingly compelling experience.


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Hilarity and hardship: an unforgettable Iranian road movie

The son of the great Jafar Panahi has become a promising filmmaker himself. Panah Panahi's first movie takes backroads that lead to laughs, surprises, and troubling revelations.


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My multi-viewings of the year’s best multi-verse movie

A conversation between moviegoers Cravis Frankly and Jeffrey Overstreet about the most complicated and most exciting multi-verse movie of the year.


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Making Marcel the Shell my new mentor…

Marcel is the kind of film that I suspect Jim Henson would have loved: It's childlike, playful, hopeful and wise — and all of this without ever stooping to sentimentality. Its characters seem to have been brought to life with patience, attention, and love. Just as I have learned more from Kermit the Frog about living a meaningful life than I have from most movie characters, I'm adopting Marcel as a mentor during dark times.


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Emergency is not what it looks like

Can this friendship survive the worst night ever? Kunle and Sean — and, to a degree, the cannabis-clouded Carlos — are spiraling down into crisis as they try to save a stranger in this funny but sobering "calamity comedy."


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Cronenberg’s performance-art surgery

In Cronenberg's latest sci-fi nightmare, human bodies are evolving and surgeons are bringing brand new organs out into the spotlight... in public, as performance art. It's unsettling. It's meaningful. And it's hilarious.


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