Abby Webster

<i>Birds of Prey</i> is Pretty Freakin’ Fantabulous

Birds of Prey is Pretty Freakin’ Fantabulous


Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) needs a fresh start. When we are reintroduced to the Suicide Squad antiheroine, she has just been dumped by her “puddin,” the Joker. Cocktail-drunk and heartbroken, she hijacks a truck and drives it straight into the industrial plant where, in a vat of unnamed chemicals, ‘Harley Quinn’—not Dr. Harleen Quinzel, Ph.D.,…

Halftime’s Favorite Holiday Films

Halftime’s Favorite Holiday Films

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Abby: Carol (2015) What makes a Christmas movie? Carol has everything the classics do—romance, snowy New York City streets, a capitalism-themed inciting incident—with an added lesbian period drama twist. Draped in an exquisite fur, Carol (Cate Blanchett) catches the eye of shop-girl Therese (Rooney Mara), adorned in a work-issued Santa hat, from across the sales…

<i>Waves</i> Will Sweep You Off Your Feet

Waves Will Sweep You Off Your Feet


Cinema is musical. When well-wielded, the language of film—rhythmic and lyrical—demands to be heard as well as seen. In the first moments of Waves (2019), a camera spins within the sacred enclosure of Tyler’s (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) car, his girlfriend Alexis (Alexa Demie) extending her arms out the window. In the diegetic background, an Animal…

<i>Ad Astra</i> is Both Alienating and Deeply Human

Ad Astra is Both Alienating and Deeply Human


Bathed in the orange planetary glow of a Martian recording booth, astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) goes off-script. Roy, far from home on the Red Planet colony, is being used by superiors from Earth’s military space command to lure his father, Dr. Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), out of hiding. Sixteen years prior, on a…

<i>The Goldfinch</i> is a Poor Reproduction of a Work of Art

The Goldfinch is a Poor Reproduction of a Work of Art


In a rustic West Village workshop, two ostensibly twin claw-foot chairs are set in front of a young Theodore Decker (Oakes Fegley): one an authentic piece of period furniture, the other a reproduction of the antique. The difference between them is tactile—as Theo runs his fingertips over the dark mahogany grain, he finds the reproduction…

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