The Gentlemen (2020)
Guy Ritchie ups his game on his signature subgenre with a hilariously sublime crime comedy that acts as mirror on the legit world and oozes with crackling cynicism about culture and politics as well.
Posted Jan 16, 2020
Just Mercy (2020)
This true origin story of a literal social-justice warrior is earnest, passionate... and exhausting. We need to keep telling these stories, yet each is but another tiny drop of water in a rough ocean.
Posted Jan 14, 2020
Kudos to J.J. Abrams for doing something extraordinary: he has made me not care about Star Wars for the first time ever. I'm kind of relieved that it's over, because it has stopped being fun.
Posted Jan 9, 2020
Uncut Gems (2019)
There is real cinematic tension in this own-worst-enemy tale of addiction and its ever escalating series of bad bets. But Adam Sandler's unfettered arrogance renders it far from endearing or fun.
Posted Dec 24, 2019
Little Women (2019)
A very welcome feminist interpretation of Alcott's beloved novel, layered in sly, winking awareness of Hollywood clichés and the cultural pressures on women. Alive and electric, an absolute treasure.
Posted Dec 19, 2019
A terrific portrait of the legendary critic, as objective as she was proudly subjective. Pulls no punches on her complicated life and work but rightly hails how she revolutionized thinking about film.
Posted Dec 15, 2019
Richard Jewell (2019)
Cluelessly simplistic rendering of a 1990s media injustice ignores all the context in which it happened and demonizes the one journalist who acted professionally. Fails even as a conservative screed.
Posted Dec 12, 2019
Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)
It's more of the same tedious nonsense, all action sequences bereft of excitement and body-swap comedy minus any real laughs. An abysmal lack of fun with stakes way too low to generate much suspense.
Posted Dec 11, 2019
Ordinary Love (2020)
A Cancer Movie but not a horror story. Funny, moving, hopeful; an intimate portrait of a couple who know how to support each other and why that matters. Oh, and it's also a love letter to the NHS.
Posted Dec 9, 2019
The Whistleblower (2019)
Chinese film is coming for Western audiences, but this ludicrous thriller, full of coincidence and contrivance, ain't it. Still, nice to see a global story that doesn't center the US or Europe.
Posted Dec 6, 2019
Playmobil: The Movie (2019)
This plastic horror - horrifically, it's a musical - is a head-smackingly dumb exercise in corporate filmmaking and mercenary marketing. So crass it makes me rethink my love of the toys themselves.
Posted Dec 3, 2019
Frozen II (2019)
There's magic here, and elemental spirits, but no magic and nothing elemental, metaphorically speaking. Rote and smaller than its predecessor. Even the songs are bland and forgettable.
Posted Dec 3, 2019
Knives Out (2019)
An entirely entertaining murder-mystery jape; dryly funny, deliciously retro yet decidedly modern. Whenever you think you've got it figured out, it trips you up again... and you love it for doing so.
Posted Nov 25, 2019
This wonder of a film wrecked me. In the best possible way. It directly confronts cynicism and misanthropy, and asks us to let them go if we can. I really needed its message. The whole world does now.
Posted Nov 24, 2019
21 Bridges (2019)
Bland, predictable cop and crime clichés lacking all urgency and any of the claustrophobia that should come from its high-concept premise. Shutting down Manhattan has zero impact on anything here.
Posted Nov 24, 2019
Inept post-EMP survival thriller is no more thrilling than it is plausible, and inexcusably casts its resourceful teen heroine as a victim constantly at the mercy of others and in need of rescuing.
Posted Nov 21, 2019
For Sama (2019)
A heartbreaking testimony of a patriot defending her nation. Wise, beautifully observed, inspiring; has much to say to us Westerners worried about the paths our own countries seem to be heading down.
Posted Nov 19, 2019
The Cave (2019)
Syrian doctor Amani Ballour is a hero(ine) for our times, one whom most of us could not fathom the sacrifice, bravery, and audacity of; this harrowing doc does an excellent job of conveying it to us.
Posted Nov 19, 2019
Last Christmas (2019)
Love and life are pain, the glitz and sparkle of Christmas are but a momentary reprieve from it, and everything is pretty much unrelentingly awful. But Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding are adorable!
Posted Nov 17, 2019
The Good Liar (2019)
We expect a film about a con man to con us, but it's not fun here: it's absurd. This limp thriller might fancy itself smart, sharp, twisty, and probably feminist, but it just made me groan out loud.
Posted Nov 15, 2019
It's all far more wonderfully dynamic than I was ever expecting it could be, both capturing the feel of the stage production while taking advantage of the possibilities of television.
Posted Nov 14, 2019
Ford v Ferrari (2019)
A winning (if overearnest) depiction of manly friendship, with some pretty thrilling (if only technically so) racing stuff. But it doesn't see its potential to be actually culturally significant.
Posted Nov 14, 2019
Enlightening, thrilling masterclass in the art of cinematic sound, from every moment of groundbreaking history to the difference between sound editing and sound mixing. (Win your next Oscar pool!)
Posted Nov 7, 2019
Doctor Sleep (2019)
A wonderfully unexpected sort of horror movie, beautiful and delicate, but unsettling, too, with an authentic plausibility to the dichotomy between the invented uncanny and the human response to it.
Posted Nov 6, 2019
An electrifying style lights up this geek adventure of the intersections between science, culture, and capitalism in the 19th-century battle to power our world. Cumberbatch and Shannon are brilliant.
Posted Nov 1, 2019
Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)
Fight the future. Change the future. Watch the future reset itself so that everything ends up much the same way anyway. Repeat. This time-travelling franchise is, ironically, stuck in the past.
Posted Oct 30, 2019
Tubman's heroics are excellent movie-movie fodder. This 'origin story' embraces her towering legend and her profound symbolic power, finally sliding her into the epic American pop-culture narrative.
Posted Oct 29, 2019
The Cat Rescuers (2019)
A tiny, delicate, inspiring metaphor for the reshaping of attitudes we will need to make on a planetary scale, and for the effort we'll need to expend to clean up the enormous messes we have made.
Posted Oct 17, 2019
There are nowhere near enough movies about thrill-seeking women, so this documentary profiling the pro surfer is very welcome. But there's no need for such a heavy hand on the 'inspirational.'
Posted Oct 17, 2019
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)
An apparently unfairly maligned 'wicked witch' has to be redeemed again. Anyway, bitches be evil, crazy and traumatized, or sweet dumb personality-free near-morons. You know, for kids!
Posted Oct 16, 2019
Lovely animation and gentle, kid-pitched life lessons can't quite overcome the familiar feel of this E.T. retread, nor the forced sense of wonder that is more convenient crutch than anything organic.
Posted Oct 13, 2019
Gemini Man (2019)
No movie has ever been higher-concept than this: Today-aged Will Smith versus CGI-young Will Smith! It's the future of film in an anemic, tedious, ironically dated spy-action shell. Bafflingly awful.
Posted Oct 10, 2019
Good Posture (2019)
A rare new expedition to the realm of messed-up young women is as unsatisfying as many of the ones about feckless young men. An unlikeable protagonist should at least be interesting. This one isn't.
Posted Oct 5, 2019
Not fit to lick the boots of Martin Scorsese or Christopher Nolan, though the height of its ambition appears to be its desperation to do so. A movie as pathetically ineffectual as its protagonist.
Posted Oct 2, 2019
Intense, uncomfortable family drama morphs into psychological suspense in a challenging tale of racial and cultural identity eliding the biases and delusions of its characters with the viewer's own.
Posted Oct 1, 2019
Official Secrets (2019)
Not a spy thriller but a story of emotional and intellectual suspense wrangling with matters of patriotism and of conscience, and of just how far journalism's watchdog role can and should take it.
Posted Sep 23, 2019
Corporate Animals (2019)
Corporate culture gets a delightfully twisted kick in the *ss when a 'team-building retreat' turns disastrous. As horror vies with comedy, the pitch(black)-perfect cast gets the balance just right.
Posted Sep 20, 2019
Downton Abbey (2019)
Wherein the working class revels in servitude, and wealth and privilege are deserved. Deeply reactionary and unlikely to please anyone not already enamored of the show. I get Anglophilia, but really?
Posted Sep 19, 2019
Phoenix (Føniks) (2018)
This Norwegian family drama, tinged with fantasy and horror, depicts a teen girl's emotional turmoil through fantastical, yet oddly pragmatic, reveries. Newcomer Ylva Bjørkaas Thedin is heartbreaking.
Posted Sep 13, 2019
GoodFellas, except they're gals. A cinematic bonbon of delinquent deliciousness that easily wraps us up in charmed complicity. And the exquisite lack of a male gaze means it's never salacious.
Posted Sep 12, 2019
Mrs. Lowry & Son (2019)
A study of the painter LS Lowry that, with sly whimsy and darkness, finds a universality of the creative psyche via the toxic relationship with his mother, who tried (unsuccessfully) to crush him.
Posted Sep 6, 2019
It Chapter Two (2019)
A bigger misfire than its predecessor, and a waste of a great cast. Unsupportably overlong, with a feel-good self-care denouement that's almost dangerous. The only terrifying thing here is the tedium.
Posted Sep 4, 2019
Angel Has Fallen (2019)
A sad retread of The Fugitive. Dumb, pointless, confused, full of contempt for its audience, and laughably unable to convince us that Gerard Butler is an acceptable stand-in for Harrison Ford.
Posted Aug 28, 2019
Atmospheric mood - this is a dour nightmare in the stark gloom of 19th-century Wales - and a striking performance by Eleanor Worthington-Cox aren't quite enough to sustain this near-horror film.
Posted Aug 16, 2019
Brian Banks (2019)
There's plenty injustice here to enrage the thinking, feeling citizen, but despite a passionate performance by charismatic Aldis Hodge, this docudrama is nowhere near incensed enough on his behalf.
Posted Aug 15, 2019
The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019)
Painfully stupid faux-woke slapstick that wants to have its idiot male hero and its nods to feminism at the same time. Kids are listening, they are absorbing this garbage, and they deserve better.
Posted Aug 14, 2019
Good Boys (2019)
Much more sweet than raunchy, and surprisingly innocent. Genuinely kind to its young protagonists as they try to navigate a culture that doesn't much care to protect them from growing up too soon.
Posted Aug 13, 2019
Blinded by the Light (2019)
Seriously adorkable teen is saved, in 1987, by the rock poetry of Bruce Springsteen. The Boss is still relevant today, as is, alas, the harsh political and economic setting of Thatcher's Britain.
Posted Aug 10, 2019
Raiders of the Lost Ark lite for kids, but juvenile humor and a derivative plot limit its appeal for adults. Teen Dora is really cool, though, and a great role model for girls and boys alike.
Posted Aug 8, 2019