Clint Eastwood Brings Uncommon Soulfulness to Familiar Themes With "Richard Jewell"

The release of a new Clint Eastwood film is a more or less annual occurrence at this point, one that sees a similarly perennial airing of bad takes and willful bad faith readings. Critics and pundits on both sides of the political spectrum use the release of an Eastwood film to score cheap political points, demonstrating their woke bona fides or placing the old timer up on a pedestal as the last man in Hollywood still making movies for “real” America. The reality, as with almost any artist with such a prodigious and eclectic output, is far more nuanced than it is portrayed. For me, Eastwood’s work, especially in this latter part of his career, can often be quite inconsistent and ramshackle, no doubt a result of his famously economical production style, but rarely does it ever dip into the MAGA-baiting propaganda that his biggest detractors claim. And despite his association with the Republicans, those actually looking for a consistent political philosophy in Eastwood’s work won’t find red-meat conservatism, but instead a libertarian streak, a veneration of the individual in the face of forces larger than himself. All of which brings me to Richard Jewell, Eastwood’s latest paean to the put-upon little man.

Richard Jewell tells the story of its eponymous hero, a security guard whose quick thinking saved the lives of dozens of people when he pointed out a bomb at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. After his heroic act, Jewell was quickly singled out as the prime suspect of the bombing, and his case became a media firestorm, due in no small part to the work of a local Atlanta newspaper. Jewell was eventually exonerated of the crime, but for nearly three months, his life was a circus, and Jewell became the ultimate poster child of good deeds being unjustly punished.

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Scarier, Funnier, Gayer: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part Three Review

Strap in everyone, we are going to hell!

It may not be Halloween, but it’s certainly dark times in good old Greendale. Everyone’s favourite witch is back and she’s more irresponsible than ever. Sabrina Spellman (portrayed by Kiernan Shipka, world’s best casting decision of all time) continues to carry the famous Harry Potter torch of Teen-With-Magical-Ability-Who-Puts-Everyone-In-Danger. And this time, she is also a cheerleader.

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‘Underwater’ Proves That The Ocean Will Always Be Scarier Than Space

The ocean is a murky mystery and perhaps the one thing I fear most. While NASA shoots probes and satellites out of Earth’s atmosphere to explore the galaxy and potentially find new planets, our oceans remain mostly unexplored. Miles below the surface lurk alien-like creatures with large eyes, translucent skin, and the ability to live under massive amounts of pressure. It is another world down there, a place full of unknowns. It is almost unfathomable that we know so little about what exists on our own planet! What lies on the bottom of the ocean, miles away from any light? William Eubank proposes a horrifying answer in Underwater.

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‘The Mandalorian’ Is a Glimpse into the Future of Star Wars

Star Wars crosses generations and entire galaxies, but in its purest essence, it’s a film franchise about family. Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian, the newest and first live-action Star Wars television show dropped on Disney+ earlier this year as an argument that Star Wars can tell compelling stories outside of the Skywalker legacy, as well as launch the beloved franchise into the next phase of its brand– unique and intimate tales from the smaller beings of this universe. There have been attempts to shake off the forty-year legacy of the franchise in the past with Rogue One and Solo (interestingly branded ‘A Star Wars Story‘, in case you forgot), but ultimately those fearfully dodged ambition and scale for connectivity in the niches of the pre-existing canon.

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‘His Dark Materials’ is a Worthy Series Adaptation of Philip Pullman's Trilogy

I read Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy when I was ten years old. My parents don’t write or speak English well, but they made sure that I could by bringing me to the public library whenever they had time off from work — which was very little. Pullman’s work, in this sense, made me feel the wonder of possibility in its purest form: Like Lyra Silvertongue (Dafne Keen), I had to navigate a world which didn’t make the slightest bit of sense. His books, however, taught me that if I just tried, maybe I could make it work. Above all, the trilogy has always been about the beauty of found families — in this day and age, our chosen alliances are more important than ever. Later on in the series, Roger Parslow (Lewin Lloyd) tells Lyra that she is an orphan too, and that perhaps all they have is each other. While the newly adapted television series of Pullman’s trilogy, co-produced by HBO and BBC, noticeably struggles with pacing and the glaring absence of key plot points, it does an excellent job at honing in on the complexity of familial relations, and how found families remain crucial to our survival in the age of political violence.

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Greta Gerwig's Vibrant, Ambitious 'Little Women' Reinvents Itself

“I want to be great, or nothing.” This defining line from Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel Little Women has become a catchphrase of American literary feminism, repeated out of context, embroidered onto pillows, and championed nearly to the point of losing all meaning. 

The sentiment, first delivered by Alcott’s Amy March in regards to her skills at a painter, rings particularly hollow when you consider its place in the countless film, television, and stage adaptations of Little Women that have come since its first publication. These retellings, like so many adaptations of classic novels, have rarely striven for that artistic greatness Amy speaks of—they’ve by and large been pale, sentimental imitations of what a great story looks like, designed to print cash and appease the period piece crowd, i.e. women. Aside from Gillian Armstrong’s hit 1994 film, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Little Women as vital as the original.

That is, until Greta Gerwig came along. The writer-director behind Lady Bird and Frances Ha has been emphasizing the value in quotidian stories about young women throughout her short filmmaking career, and her talents and interests have found a perfect home in Little Women. Lively, ambitious, and deftly directed, Gerwig’s adaptation takes both its subjects and audience seriously, building its own kind of greatness that extends far beyond the power of the original text. It doesn’t attempt to overwrite Alcott’s story with modern feminism, but rather highlight how the joys and struggles of her characters have persisted across time. Filled out by an exhilarating ensemble cast, Gerwig’s Little Women is the best we’ve ever seen this story—and it’s one of the best films of the year.

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‘In Fabric’ is a Mystifying Send-up of Holiday Shopping

This is my sixth year working the holiday season in retail, and though each year doesn’t get much harder than that first one, it doesn’t get any easier, either. The coupons, the difficult customers, the long hours, and the ravenous crowds. The longer you’re exposed to it, the more jaded you become, the more hardened you are to the shouting, the impatience, the complicated transactions, and unending gift receipts. To bemoan or fear Black Friday becomes an afterthought to simply enduring it. The maligned day will come, and it will soon be over – then the holidays will ensue, and soon they will see their end, as well. But their finality comes with the price of knowing that they will come back. As long as I work in retail, I am a slave to the whims of customers and of corporations. And once I finally escape, the only thing that will change is that I no longer have to deal with the customers.

Peter Strickland’s In Fabric sews itself as a film about the horrors of beauty standards and materialism, but blossoms into near-farce about the ludicrousness of the holiday season under capitalism. A department store is a cover for witchcraft; television commercials for sales are hypnotic spells; an enchanted dress brings pain and suffering to all who wear it; no one in the entire town can stop talking about the one fucking sale going on from one, single store. What starts off as horrifying and baffling becomes almost comical, as the absurdity of our shopping habits and of retail work during the most wonderful time of the year are put on the bloodthirsty spotlight that they deserve.

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