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Gretchen Felker-Martin


The Rise of Skywalker: The Felker-Martin Review

This review contains extensive spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker. At the end of 1983’s Return of the Jedi, Luke and Anakin Skywalker kill Emperor Palpatine, restore the Jedi Order, and liberate the galaxy from the Empire’s oppression. The entire purpose of Disney’s new trilogy appears to have been to walk…

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REVIEWS

The Mandalorian Chapter 7 Review: Breaking Dad

There’s a substantial detour in this episode of The Mandalorian during which we see the Ugnaught Kuiil (Nick Nolte) rebuild IG-11 (Taika Waititi) and teach it to stack crates and serve tea. Director Deborah Chow, far and away the best of the season’s otherwise lackluster hands at the helm, shoots the…

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REVIEWS

Knives Out Review: Family Splatters

Rian Johnson’s Knives Out may lack the ingenious plotting and tightly-contained nature of murder mystery author Agatha Christie’s best stories, but as homage it does sturdy, entertaining work. Soft-spoken Cajun detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) stands for Christie’s dandyish Hercule Poirot, investigating the death of mystery author Harlan Thrombey (Christopher…

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Knives Out

REVIEWS

The Mandalorian Chapter 6 Review: Jailhouse Schlock

A critic’s work is to approach art on its own merits, to evaluate it in the rich and ever-changing context of human creative endeavor. Nit-picking an artist’s work is seldom productive — but sometimes it’s all there really is to do. The Mandalorian’s sixth episode begins with Mando docking at…

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REVIEWS

Irish Goodbye: Silence and Emptiness in The Irishman

“She’s afraid of me,” Russ Bufalino (Joe Pesci) says to his friend and enforcer Frank Sheeran (Robert DeNiro) of the latter’s eight-year-old daughter Peggy (Lucy Gallina as a child, Anna Paquin as an adult). After Frank demurs, citing Peggy’s shyness, Russ tells him to call her over. Bufalino asks the…

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The Irishman

The Mandalorian Chapter 5 Review: The One With Amy Sedaris

There’s an odd quality to most of The Mandalorian’s guest appearances and secondary characters. Maybe it’s just the substandard script, or the unconvincing CGI panoramas, or the fact that most of the time the only person they have to bounce off of is masked and fully unresponsive. They feel almost…

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REVIEWS

The Mandalorian Chapter 4 Review: I Wish They Akira Kurosawouldn’t

Seven Samurai, a film about the life-ruining generational pain of violence, has somehow found itself adapted dozens of times into stories about small squads of cool dudes kicking bandit ass in defense of wholesome peasants. The Mandalorian adds itself to this lineup with its most sentimental episode yet, a treacly…

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REVIEWS

From a High Place: Jonathan Glazer’s ‘The Fall’

A masked man clings to the trunk of a slender tree. Below, a mob gathers to shake him loose, their own masks almost lifelike in the pale light that falls through the canopy. Jonathan Glazer’s short film The Fall revolves around just a handful of these tableaux. The treed man.…

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The Mandalorian Chapter 3 Review: The Babysitter’s Club, Vibroknife, Etc.

The writing’s still weak, the score’s still hit or miss, and the show still doesn’t trust its audience, but The Mandalorian’s third episode is where space rubber finally meets space pavement. Violence with teeth and the show’s first real traces of recognizable acting along with director Deborah Chow’s welcome flare…

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The Mandalorian

REVIEWS

Watching Watchmen, Episodes 1-5: Rorschach Test Drive

Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen, a sequel to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ tremendously influential 1986 comic of the same name, is a show with a lot on its mind. Race. Class. Vigilantism. Aging. Criminal justice. While its genesis may have been troubled by Moore’s vocal disapproval, the resulting program has had…

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Watchmen

REVIEWS

The Five Pokemon You Meet in Hell Because I Sent Them There

Pokemon Sword is not the sort of video game I’d usually get into, but the days are getting shorter, it’s cold out, and I’m as much a sucker for the little digital vermin as the next girl. It’s essentially the same as every other Pokemon game: kind of repetitive, but charming, and…

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Pokemon Sword and Shield

The Mandalorian Chapter 2 Review: Fire and Forget

If you’d asked me to name the thing I’d least like to see from any piece of Star Wars media, my immediate answer would have been “onscreen Jawa murder.” As it turns out it’s even less pleasant to watch than I’d imagined, though it’s The Mandalorian’s total disinterest in the…

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REVIEWS

The Mandalorian Chapter 1 Review: No Risk, Little Reward

A guy walks into a bar. There the otherwise nameless titular Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) breaks up a brewing confrontation between patrons, shows himself to be ruthless rather than altruistic when thanked, and leaves with his hapless mark in tow. It’s the classic mysterious gunman setup, throwing the protagonist into the…

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REVIEWS

‘The Lighthouse’ Review: Casting Its Beam on Empty Places

“What?” Robert Pattinson’s listless Ephraim Winslow asks Willem Dafoe’s weather-beaten Tom Wake, his tone weary. “What?” Wake grunts in kind. The two men repeat the question with mounting frustration until they’re shouting over one another, faces inches apart, veins pulsing in their necks and at their temples. Like much of…

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REVIEWS

Gretchen Felker-Martin’s Top 10 Horror Films of the Decade

From decade to decade, horror is a genre constantly grappling with its past, the imagery and themes of its seminal works recurring in new configurations as the culture around it shifts. Witness Midsommar’s clumsy recapitulation of The Wicker Man’s famous climax not as transcendent theological black comedy but as a messy…

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Us

LISTS

The Abominable Act: Depictions of Gay Sex in Horror Film

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. -Leviticus 18:22 (KJV). Where does queerness reside? Is it in the labels we use to describe ourselves? The clothes and cosmetics we wear? The politics we espouse? Is it a feeling we carry or a…

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FEATURES

‘Parasite’ Review: A Parasite for Sore Eyes

“That’s your plan?” Kim family patriarch Ki-taek asks a man who desires nothing from life but to live unseen in a bunker under the earth. Tough talk for a guy whose entire family pulled an intricate grift on the filthy rich Park household with the nefarious goal of… being the…

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REVIEWS

The Terror: Infamy, ‘Into the Afterlife’ Review

“I married in Hiroshima,” says the ghost of Yamato-san’s childhood friend. He goes on to describe his life there, his children and grandchildren, the arrival of his first great grandchild. Yamato-san peers around him and sees those people standing silently in single file behind his friend like the other man’s…

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REVIEWS

El Camino is a Long Episode of Breaking Bad, and That’s Fine

El Camino is a very long episode of Breaking Bad. It makes no pretension toward being anything else, and the result is the kind of good-looking, understated thriller you don’t see much of anymore. It may not have as much to say as its most obvious “get the cash and…

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The Terror: Infamy, ‘Come and Get Me’ Review

“Chester has a plan,” his mother Asako says confidently. “He always does.” One wonders what show she’s been watching. It’s hard to think of a character in recent memory who more transparently has no clue what he’s doing at any given moment, lurching from plot to plot and life to…

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The Terror: Infamy, 'Come and Get Me'

REVIEWS