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Gretchen Felker-Martin


Better Call Saul Season 5 Episode 7 ‘JMM’ Review

JMM. James Morgan McGill. Justice Matters Most. Just Make Money. The monogram on the briefcase Kim bought Jimmy to inaugurate his return to practicing law has had an unusually wide-ranging life for a simple set of initials. Like Jimmy himself, it’s constantly being reinvented for the sake of convenience, of…

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Better Call Saul

REVIEWS

10 Quarantine Movies to Remind You How It Feels to Be Alive

Well, here we are. Two weeks and change into quarantine and, if you’re anything like me, the idea of being excited for any reason other than acute anxiety is a distant memory. We’re all working on forming some kind of routine, we’re all trying to keep our sanity intact, but…

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The Mummy

LISTS

Better Call Saul Season 5, Episode 6 ‘Wexler v. Goodman’ Review

“Wexler v. Goodman” is dominated by empty spaces. The abandoned factory where Nacho waits for Gus, pale light filtering through its few unpapered window panes. The clear blue sky around a cornered Lalo Salamanca’s hand as he drops his keys out of his car. Like the green screen Jimmy’s frequent…

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Better Call Saul

REVIEWS

10 Chillwave Lo-Fi Hip Hop Movies to Quarantine Yourself To

This week finds many of us quarantined in our homes, stuck inside with our anxieties for company while cable news and social media whisper alternating streams of apocalyptic nihilism and blustering denial in our ears. We’re missing our friends and partners, our routines, our favorite restaurants and coffee shops. Some…

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Porco Rosso

TV/FILM

Better Call Saul Season 5, Episode 5: ‘Dedicado a Max’ Review

Can you have it both ways? Can bad deeds build a good world? Can you cash a big bank’s paycheck and still look out for the little guy in your spare time? This week’s Better Call Saul gets its teeth deep into the questions that have propelled it and its…

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Better Call Saul

REVIEWS

Better Call Saul Season 5, Episode 4: ‘Namaste’ Review

If anything defines Better Call Saul, it’s work. In any given episode you can bank on extended sequences of Mike, Kim, Jimmy, and/or Nacho putting in the hours to pull off some elaborate stunt or grueling legal procedure, underpinning every one of the show’s flashier moments with a ground-level view…

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Better Call Saul

REVIEWS

‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ Review: Still Life in Motion

The first hour of Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a study in restraint, quiet and reserved with neither visual flourishes nor music — with the exception of portraitist Marianne’s (Noémie Merlant) halting harpsichord rendition of the Presto from ‘Summer’ from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons — to entice…

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Portrait of a Lady on Fire

REVIEWS

Crossing the Line: Working Class Conflict in Parasite

For all that the world’s wealthy elite have blithely missed Parasite’s central message about their own exploitation of the lower classes, the film remains a biting and nuanced indictment of contemporary class relations. Perhaps its most painful material comes at its halfway point, when the Kim family, who have conned…

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Parasite

FEATURES

Better Call Saul Season 5, Episode 3: ‘The Guy for This’ Review

It begins with an ant. As Alpine yodeling band Jodlerklub Bärgblüemli Schattdorf’s ‘Jänzigrat-Jüz’ (say that five times fast) plays, the insect scuttles toward the towering wreckage of the ice cream cone Saul (Bob Odenkirk) dropped at the end of last week’s episode. In the space of a few minutes the…

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Better Call Saul

REVIEWS

The Invisible Man Review: We Are the Hollow Men

Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man exchanges its source material’s commentary on isolation, accountability, and moral restraint for an exploration of domestic violence, specifically the practice of coercive control. It stars a twitchy, sunken-eyed Elizabeth Moss as Cecelia Kass and Oliver Jackson-Cohen as her abusive ex-boyfriend Adrian Griffin, a leading scientist…

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The Invisible Man

REVIEWS

Better Call Saul Season 5, Episode 2: ‘50%’ Review

“Nacho Varga,” says cartel capo Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton) with an admiring grin, “You are a badass.” Guy’s got a point. Watching Nacho (Michael Mando) leap between rooftops and dodge a DEA strike team by the skin of his teeth to recover a trove of crystal meth is as anxiously…

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Better Call Saul

REVIEWS

Better Call Saul Season 5, Episode 1: ‘The Magic Man’ Review

Something’s eating Kim Wexler. You can see it in the way actress Rhea Seehorn pauses mid-sentence, searching for the words to communicate what begins as simple discomfort with her boyfriend Jimmy’s (Bob Odenkirk) new career as legal bottom feeder Saul Goodman without lashing out at him directly. “I can’t see…

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Better Call Saul

REVIEWS

Under the Habit: Sex and Mystery in Sorrentino’s ‘The New Pope’

In Paolo Sorrentino’s The Young Pope and The New Pope — his Papal Cinematic Universe, if you will — sexuality and the innermost mysteries of the Catholic church are tightly intertwined. Institutional repression of sexual desire and the inevitable sublimation of that desire are only the starting point for the…

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The Young Pope

FEATURES

Birds of Prey Review: Junk Food Cinema at Its Best

Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey is, like the bodega breakfast sandwich at its emotional center, junk food. It’s a corn dog. A funnel cake. A fried Oreo. It shares both its strengths (sweetness, texture, simplicity) and its weaknesses (insubstantial, unimaginative, undercooked) with the kind of fairground fodder that leaves your…

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Birds of Prey

REVIEWS

‘What Did Jack Do?’ Review: Crisp and Unsettling

Like all of David Lynch’s work, What Did Jack Do? is as much a sensory experience as a story. Its every shot and special effect is fraught with cryptic clues to some terrible interior truth, its narrative at once simplistic to the point of parody and fraught with contradictory and…

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What Did Jack Do?

REVIEWS

How ‘Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice’ Made Video Game Horror Work

Most video games require an active player, an agent within the plot and mechanical framework of the simulated world. For horror, a genre built around instilling physical sensations of vulnerability and fear in its audience, this poses a significant inherent challenge. How do you drive a narrative with inability? Games…

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Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

FEATURES

‘Underwater’ Review: Wet, Murky, Shallow

During Underwater’s opening flurry of newspaper articles, conspiracy websites, and redacted government documents, it manages to misspell the word “buoyancy.” It’s not indicative so much of the lack of care put into the movie as it is the level of skill with which it was made. Directed by William Eubank…

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REVIEWS

BBC’s Dracula Review: Biting and Sucking

BBC’s Dracula, created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss of Dr. Who and Sherlock fame, is exactly the television show the prior half of this sentence suggests. Equal parts toffee-nosed primness and schoolboy irreverence, it approaches Bram Stoker’s seminal novel with a confidence unsupported by any facet of the series.…

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REVIEWS

The Mandalorian Chapter 8 Review: Rocket Mando

If for some reason you’ve been jonesing to see Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul fame) carefully enunciate the phrase “E-Web heavy repeating blaster” then buddy, your ship has come in. Lots of other, less famous people also say it in this episode, as a…

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REVIEWS

Watching Watchmen, Episodes 6-9: Playing the Blues

Where the first half of HBO’s Watchmen spent its time digging around in a pre-existing fictional world, poking its head into the lives of the men and women living in the aftermath of Adrian Veidt’s (Jeremy Irons) grand dream of a utopia, its final four episodes strike out on their…

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REVIEWS