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  • Malcolm X

    Malcolm X

    Pop Star Politics.

    Because Spike Lee has white people on the brain, his new film is about the shock wave Malcolm X created in American society, not a biography of the martyred Black Muslim spokesman. At three hours plus, it's a movie with a theme but not a subject.

    Malcolm X avoids character study and sticks to a chronological review of the man's life. This merely replicates the cycle in which Malcolm X's anger and awareness went unheeded until later…

  • House of Sand and Fog

    House of Sand and Fog

    The Brat and the Tyrant.
    Connelly and Kingsley clash in San Francisco.

    Decency isn’t enough to save House of Sand and Fog. First-time director Vadim Perelman’s commiseration with his characters’ weaknesses and flaws turns into bleeding-heart hopelessness. This story about a struggle over property is a very American one: A San Francisco Bay Area bungalow owned by Kathy Picolo’s (Jennifer Connelly) family is lost through her ditsy carelessness. During an IRS auction it is purchased, cheap and easy, by a…

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  • Avengers: Endgame

    Avengers: Endgame

    Nostalgia for Arrested Adolescents.
    Superheroes punch the clock in this hollow, predictable, overly long mess.

    Adults no longer outgrow comic books. Hollywood prefers that they hang on to the adolescent illusion of carefree, escapist pleasure by pretending that the form’s juvenile cynicism is a sign of sophistication — replacing the traditional sources of imaginative thinking. The cultural monopoly represented by the Marvel Cinematic Universe in its latest release, Avengers: Endgame, depends on geeked-up viewers telling themselves that they are having…

  • Taxi Driver

    Taxi Driver

    Scorsese Dissents from Comic-Book-Movie Fanboys.
    His conservative defense of humanism draws a line in the sand and causes uproar.

    Martin Scorsese’s disconnect from the comic-book movie cult, confessed in a recent interview with Empire magazine, is the first line in the sand to be drawn by a filmmaker rather than a critic. But Scorsese’s forthrightness was met with shock only because the comment seemed to contradict his cinephile legend. We all had thought: Marty never saw a movie he didn’t…