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This Is Us adds welcome nuance to stories desperately in need of some This Is Us adds welcome nuance to stories desperately in need of some

On paper, “Don’t Take My Sunshine Away” is exactly the kind of This Is Us episode I usually find pretty lackluster: It’s mostly set in the present day, with a middle school-set flashback that doesn’t do much more than provide some This Is Us comfort food. And it centers on the kind of …

Jon Cryer’s Lex Luthor makes his Supergirl debut in an overstuffed episode Jon Cryer’s Lex Luthor makes his Supergirl debut in an overstuffed episode

Given that Lex Luthor is arguably the most iconic comic book villain of all time—not to mention a frequently name-checked element of Supergirl’s own lore—it makes sense that the show would pull out all the stops for his arrival. “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is one of the most bombastic, jam-packed…

For one brief, wonderful moment, Eddie Murphy reinvented himself as a romantic-comedy star For one brief, wonderful moment, Eddie Murphy reinvented himself as a romantic-comedy star

Eddie Murphy is kind of a dreamboat. That can be hard to remember after the decades in which he settled into (or perhaps settled for) a career in broad comedic roles in lackluster family films. Indeed, it can be especially hard to remember if, like me, you were part of the generation that knew Murphy as the Nutty…

The maudlin Five Feet Apart anoints a new pair of winning young stars The maudlin Five Feet Apart anoints a new pair of winning young stars

What Five Feet Apart has going for it is Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse. And that’s no small thing. The Riverdale star and Support The Girls scene-stealer are two of the most appealing young actors working at the moment, with Richardson in particular emerging as one of the sharpest talents of…

This Is Us’ waiting room bottle episode is tedious rather than tense This Is Us’ waiting room bottle episode is tedious rather than tense

Thank god for Madison. She’s the one bright spot in this otherwise incredibly tedious episode, which takes place almost exclusively in the waiting room of Kate’s maternity ward. Though it’s not the first This Is Us episode to take place entirely in the present, it’s the first to feature one…

Supergirl leads a peaceful protest in a moving, messy episode Supergirl leads a peaceful protest in a moving, messy episode

More so than maybe any episode since the show moved to The CW, “Stand And Deliver” really reminded me of Supergirl’s first season. It’s earnest, optimistic, and incredibly unsubtle in ways that still felt really moving in the moment (I teared up when Kara joined the pro-alien protest). Yet it also…

A jam-packed This Is Us sends the Pearsons spiraling into crisis A jam-packed This Is Us sends the Pearsons spiraling into crisis

To borrow a term from Rebecca Pearson, there sure is a whole lot of friggin’ stuff that happens in this episode. “The Graduates” dives into an underexplored past timeline while moving some present-day stories forward in a major way. Befitting the episode’s title, all that tumult is anchored around three graduation…

Supergirl finally gives Kara a team of Super Friends worthy of her Supergirl finally gives Kara a team of Super Friends worthy of her

“What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, And The American Way?” is my favorite kind of Supergirl episode: Thematically meaty and aesthetically goofy. It’s an episode that features gloriously campy villains reveling in their fashion choices, but also raises genuinely challenging questions about…

In 1990, Pretty Woman changed romantic comedies forever In 1990, Pretty Woman changed romantic comedies forever

If you want a marker of just how iconic Pretty Woman is, consider that the film contains at least four or five different outfits one could wear as instantly recognizable Halloween costumes. That’s a pretty impressive track record for any film, let alone a contemporary romantic comedy. In fact, when it comes to sheer…

This Is Us finally puts Beth Pearson center stage This Is Us finally puts Beth Pearson center stage

What’s revolutionary about This Is Us isn’t the stories it tells, but the way that it tells them. There are other movies and TV shows and plays that explore issues of family conflict with even more nuance and complexity. But This Is Us has created a visual language and an expansive storytelling…

Supergirl celebrates Valentine’s Day with a salute to Venom Supergirl celebrates Valentine’s Day with a salute to Venom

After a two-week hiatus (which came right on the heels of a five-week hiatus), Supergirl returns with a belated celebration of Valentine’s Day and an even more belated homage to Tom Hardy’s Venom. Okay, to be fair, I’m not entirely sure Menagerie’s role was actually a nod to Venom, as the symbiotic alien villain has…

How does the original What Women Want hold up two decades later? How does the original What Women Want hold up two decades later?

For the second-highest-grossing romantic comedy ever made, What Women Want hasn’t had much cultural staying power. The Mel Gibson-Helen Hunt vehicle mostly feels like a relic from a very different era, but it’s back in the consciousness again thanks to the recently released What Men Want, a…

Happy endings don’t come easily for once on This Is Us Happy endings don’t come easily for once on This Is Us

“Songbird Road: Part Two” is a conversation-heavy episode of a show that’s usually strongest when it’s telling its stories through visuals, rather than words. It still works, but I’d say it works despite that choice, not because of it. There’s something that feels very stage-bound about the way…

Bride & Prejudice weaves an impressive cultural critique into a Bollywood-inspired Jane Austen update Bride & Prejudice weaves an impressive cultural critique into a Bollywood-inspired Jane Austen update

There’s good news and bad news for American rom-com fans sick of rewatching the same Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts vehicles over and over again: The good news is that Bollywood—Mumbai’s booming Hindi-language film industry—has literally thousands of romantic comedies just waiting to be discovered. The bad news is that it…

A not-quite-live Rent is a lovingly imperfect celebration of a lovingly imperfect musical A not-quite-live Rent is a lovingly imperfect celebration of a lovingly imperfect musical

January 27th, 8pm, Eastern Standard Time, from here on in Rent: Live shoots without a script. Of the eight live musicals that have now aired on NBC and Fox, Rent is the first one to experience a last minute disaster that totally derailed its production plans. News broke just a few hours before the…

This Is Us uses its latest twist to complicate the legacy of Jack Pearson This Is Us uses its latest twist to complicate the legacy of Jack Pearson

After easing us back into the season with last week’s lackluster outing, This Is Us finally circles around to that big reveal from the mid-season finale: Nicholas Pearson is alive and living in a trailer in Bradford, Pennsylvania. As I wrote in my review of that episode, it’s a twist that threatens…

Supergirl introduces a game-changing new status quo for the Danvers sisters Supergirl introduces a game-changing new status quo for the Danvers sisters

Welcome back to Supergirl and welcome back to a brand new Supergirl status quo! Rather than pick up on the Ben Lockwood arrest storyline from the midseason finale, “Suspicious Minds” takes some unexpected swerves as it explores Kara’s newfound separation from the DEO. It’s a pretty weird outing, one that starts as…

The Punisher finale has some questionable thoughts on who deserves redemption The Punisher finale has some questionable thoughts on who deserves redemption

Hey, remember when Frank Castle experienced a morality shifting existential crisis when he thought he’d accidentally murdered three innocent people in a manic shootout? No? Well, good because neither does The Punisher! That hugely dramatic scene from the end of “The Dark Hearts Of Men” has literally no bearing on the…

The penultimate Punisher sets up the season’s endgame The penultimate Punisher sets up the season’s endgame

Let’s talk about Dr. Krista Dumont, a wildly uneven character who feels reflective of this wildly uneven season of The Punisher. There are times when the character totally worked—pretty much anytime she was putting on a polite face to manipulate someone and particularly in her relationship with…

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