Review: ‘Passing’; Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut is a heart-rending film with two exceptional performances


Passing feels like it might be the most appropriate to the format in a year full of exceptionally shot black and white films. Chronicling the story of two black women in the 1920s –one of whom is passing for white, and all the complications that entail, it’s a heartbreaking story elevated by the central performances from Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga.

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Review: Anya Taylor-Joy is truly magnetic in ‘The Queen’s Gambit’

The Queen's Gambit

“There are two sides to the coin: the gift, and what it costs.” This is the lesson that the janitor tells her. The janitor, Mr Shaibel, spends his free time in the basement of the orphanage he works in playing chess. A young girl, Beth, takes an interest, and eventually, he begins to teach her. This is, in all likelihood, the closest relationship either of them has ever had. Him, a reserved man content to do his work and play chess, and her an orphan who never knew her father and whose mother suffered from severe mental health issues.

This is the beginning of The Queen’s Gambit, the new adaptation of Walter Tevis 1983 book of the same name, brought to the screen by Scott Frank for Netflix. The story chronicles the rise of a prodigy, a true genius at the game of chess. It follows her life through the 1960s as she combats sexism but also the isolation of genius and dangers and draws of alcoholism.

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Review: ‘Joker’ is a joke without a punchline


Let’s get this out of the way: I did not like this movie. Todd Phillips has made a movie about a horribly abused man who lives in a world full of assholes and who also has mental health issues and who also has a condition who also has some terrible impulses and through the course of the movie starts acting on those impulses, and places the blame literally everywhere but on him, but doesn’t really make a compelling argument about any of these ideas.

Joker is an essay without a thesis or a joke without a punchline. There’s a lot going on but no actual payoff. I couldn’t tell you who Joker is actually for, but I worry that one of the worst crowds on the internet is going to hold it up as inspirational.

In a word: yikes.

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