‘Ultra City Smiths’ Review: AMC’s Stop-Motion Crime Noir Musical Hits That Weird Sweet Spot

‘Ultra City Smiths’ Review: AMC’s Stop-Motion Crime Noir Musical Hits That Weird Sweet Spot
As if made to prove that film noir isn’t one genre, but all the genres, Steve Conrad’s “Ultra City Smiths” tackles its many creative departures with captivating verve, gliding from crime saga to sporadic musical to stop-motion animated whodunit, all while imbuing each with a spirit so bleak it makes the new series’ dreamy dancing between absurd comedy and moving drama absolutely stunning.

And yes, there is dancing — oh, is there ever.

While describing the AMC+ series’ plot may prove as futile as launching a standalone streaming service for a network whose biggest hits are available elsewhere, I, too, will give it a go. “Ultra City Smiths” is set in Ultra City, a Manhattan stand-in filled with sports arenas like Addison Square Garden, newspapers like “The Ultra City Times” spelled out in a familiar Old English font, and prison ferries shipping in from Rucker’s Island. The island metropolis is also a dark,
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