Latest Film Reviews
Woman of the Year (1942)
An effervescent but edgy rom-com about love, career, the insecurities men and women felt (and, sadly, still feel to some extent) around burgeoning feminism.
We find ourselves, with Gloria, neck-deep in an allegory of id. You can hope and pray otherwise, but your inner demons will always come out: some way, somehow, some day.
Interjections of color—and the narrative implications of them—are but one way in which Ozon creates and subverts expectations...Ozon remains interested in the stories people tell to one another, the horrible truths and the comfortable lies.
Going in Style (2017)
Polished but hollow...It’s another sign of the times that Hollywood thinks we can no longer handle the original storyline.
Rogue One (2016)
Will give die-hard
fans multiple orgasms...runneth over with
Canoa: A Shameful Memory (1976)
A deeply disturbing study of mass hysteria, a lasting cultural document of "a shameful memory"...and a culturally specific but widely relevant snapshot of that late-'60s moment of student rebellion being met by violent institutional crackdowns.
20th Century Women (2016)
Empathetic and self-searching...a highly witty, deeply humane look at people who may be too conscious for their own good, people who think and feel too much ever to be truly happy.
The Boss Baby (2017)
Fairly one-note in its humor, and not as lively as you would assume it would be [but with] all-around strong voice work and a predictably sweet message about sharing the love...it’s all, as they say, good enough for government work.
The Last Word (2017)
A serious case of the cutes...Pellington knows his movie is more or less bad, but Shirley there’s an audience for it.
Personal Shopper (2016)
A meditation about our own ephemerality on this supposedly corporeal plane. In the end, the truly inescapable horrors are, sure, okay, death, but also living with one’s own mind and the uncertainties of human existence.
is pleasant enough...but scrutinize it, and you'll find that it's neither very musically accomplished nor very funny. The tone is bright and colorful but still evinces a kind of joyless duty...
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Pound for pound, scene for scene, there’s not a sequence here that the original film doesn’t execute better in the clean lines of hand-drawn animation and the crisp vocals of the original cast.
Being 17 (2016)
Its emotional beats strike honest notes, well played by the actors in the clutch moments...Téchiné and Sciamma prove that there is, in truth, beauty, as in youth and mountain greenery, as in nature's need and human nature's desire.
When it’s cooking,
prepares tender, slip-off-the-bone meat on the tried-and-true bones of the Disney formula.
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
Builds to the fulfillment of the 'MonsterVerse' promise (further teased in a post-credits scene) of monster-on-monster action...It's all very silly...and also a kind of bruising primordial thrill ride.
45 Years (2015)
Implications, about the long odds for romance, the deeper psychology of mating, and the devastating possibility that love isn’t an absolute but a willful, occasionally mutual, delusion.
Filled with extraordinary performances,
explores the tension between private and public selves for a closeted black individual who feels pressure to conform to traditional but arbitrary standards of masculinity.
Smart enough to make implications but let us draw our own conclusions about what these images, individually and collectively—and the art form to which they belong—mean to their photographer, to us, and to human society.
Get Out (2017)
What's most interesting about
is how it taps into the same idea to fuel both its comedy and horror: the recognition of social truths.
The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978)
It's easy enough to appreciate
The Tree of Wooden Clogs
as a painterly near-documentary, shot and edited by a director who got his start in documentary films...or a spacious moral fable about humility and trust in following the righteous path.
Nocturnal Animals (2016)
A moody and deeply unsettling look at a pair of failed relationships, regrets and recriminations, and measures of emotional violence—oh, shall we call it 'lashing out'?—symbolized in physical violence.
Manchester by the Sea (2016)
In its broad strokes,
Manchester by the Sea
doesn’t explore anything new...[but Lonergan] is the master of telling behavior and conversational nuance.
Doctor Strange (2016)
looks at urban architecture through a twisting digital kaleidoscope, next-stepping from
to an M.C. Escher-esque action aesthetic that amounts to three-dimensional chess.
There's a resonant motif in
that times have changed for the worst, but this dystopian world revives the humanity in these characters, a development that's all for the best.
by Sidney Lumet (2015)
Like Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow's
(also released in 2016),
by Sidney Lumet
has one undeniable result: it instills a fervent wish to watch the director's entire output from beginning to end...
A Cure For Wellness (2016)
Distinctive, invigorating creativity at work...far from perfect, but this treat for the eyes with ideas to consider feels like a miracle of a movie by offering so much more than we expect from the jump-scare horror to which we’ve resigned ourselves.
John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
Makes the case for the
franchise as a kind of bizarro James Bond...This antihero may not be licensed to kill, but now he lives in a similarly slick universe of action fantasy and exotic settings.
The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)
Full to bursting with Easter Eggs for longtime Batman fans...Zany, frantically paced, and busy, busy, busy. For some, that...will be a bit exhausting, especially in brain-fatiguing LEGO-construction-block animation.
The Space Between Us (2017)
Despite the multiple genres, The Space Between Us feels thin in its plot, and corny in the telling...
The Comedian (2016)
Surprise, this is a romantic comedy...this stand-up gives you no reason to sit down.
Expertly balances whimsy, adventure, terrifying perils, music, comedy, and warmth on the way to a reassuring worldview of moral order, of virtue rewarded and the bosom embrace of familial figures.
A Dog's Purpose (2017)
In this sort of
for dogs, a soulful, gender-confused, repeatedly reincarnated canine goes on a magical journey of Hollywood formula. Come with me, and you’ll be in a world of pure manipulation.
The Light Between Oceans (2016)
Cianfrance makes intimate, psychologically penetrating films, with quiet spaces and moments of brutal intensity...As unlikely as the story is, Cianfrance deftly steers the material through elemental themes...
You won't ever find me calling
a good movie, but I won't deny that, in dribs and drabs, it gets closer to the marks of fun and quality than I thought possible from this picturesque but dopey franchise.
In its broader themes of 'selling a story' to investors and the blinding power of money,
has little new to offer, but in its particulars...finds deposits rich enough to make the trip worthwhile.
The Founder (2016)
Call it 'Big Mac-beth.'
also represents consummate filmmaking.
Superficially, it resembles exhilarating action films of the past, but the paint-by-numbers approach just doesn't do the trick. With all-around bad acting, hyperactive production, and a script that passes 'camp' and goes right on through to 'bad'...
Deepwater Horizon (2016)
Hammer[s] home what the news media didn’t much convey in 2010: the human-level horror of being on the rig and the sheer scope of the unnaturalness of the enterprise.
Patriots Day (2016)
'Terror bad. Boston strong.'
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