Over the past two weeks, barring review-writing and performing general upkeep on the Reader Web site, I've been on vacation. And I did what many of my fellow stay-cationers likely did during the holidays this year: I watched movies. Lots of movies. A few of them at an actual movie theater.

How is it that Tom Hanks portrayed Mister Rogers only last year and has already landed in the role of someone just as upstanding, decent, and effectively communicative with children?

There might be a perfectly valid, comic-book-related reason for this that I neither know about nor particularly care about. But seriously: Why, in director Patty Jenkins' sequel to her 2017 smash, are we watching a Wonder Woman adventure set in the mid-'80s?

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is vital as a recorded piece of American-theatre history, and absolutely indispensable as a Chadwick Boseman farewell. Like Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight, Boseman won't win an Academy Award next spring because he died. He'll win because he was likely going to win regardless.

For most of its length, The Prom is like an early, super-sized Glee episode with 100 percent fewer commercial breaks and 100 percent more Meryl Streep.

You kind of have to feel bad these days for David Fincher fanatics who genuflect at the brutal, testosterone-fueled altars of Seven and Fight Club and, to a lesser degree, Zodiac. They finally get their first new Fincher feature since 2014's Gone Girl, and it turns out that in order to even slightly enjoy the director's Mank (which premiered on Netflix this past Friday), they're required to have a pretty healthy working knowledge of Citizen Kane.

Lars Rehnberg, vice-president for Davenport's seasonal tavern Miracle at the Freight House, discussed the pop-up venue's origins, operations, and challenges in this pandemic year, along with the yuletide décor that might make Disneyland only the second-happiest place on Earth. We spoke on Wednesday, December 2.

A timeless holiday classic is set to get an immersive and unforgettable makeover at Davenport's Outing Club from December 4 through 13, with the professional talents of Ballet Quad Cities delivering their brand-new yuletide offering The Nutcracker in a Round a series of holiday dance vignettes that employ Tchaikovsky's legendary The Nutcracker as inspiration, but pay tribute to that ballet in never-before seen, or heard, ways.

The animated-comedy sequel The Croods: A New Age is like an elongated, best-ever episode of The Flintstones, and I mean that as a compliment even though I never really cared for The Flintstones.

This morning, a New York Times article stated that eBay has seen a 215-percent increase in the sales of chess sets and accessories since the October debut of Netflix's limited series. If it's indeed true that The Queen's Gambit is responsible for the uptick, I wouldn't be surprised if similar sales spikes are soon reported for mod mini-dresses, digital compilations of '60s pop hits, and boyfriends who look like Dudley Dursley from the Harry Potter movies.

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