Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Pitting a loosely rendered historical figure against a surly, vengeful fop resentful of her hard-won freedom, Harriet (as in Tubman) is far less than what it could have been.
Posted Dec 5, 2019
Earthquake Bird (2019)
Earthquake Bird is an enjoyable neo-noir film, with enough twists and turns to leave you thinking long after the ending.
Posted Nov 20, 2019
Both emotionally dextrous and finely paced.
Posted Nov 15, 2019
End of the Century (2019)
What End of the Century doesn't bring in drama it offers up in patient attention to life's unexpected turns and movements and the heft they acquire over time.
Posted Nov 15, 2019
Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)
Though an admirably solid work of Hollywood filmmaking, Terminator: Dark Fate can't match the style, wit, or heft of its best predecessors -- but was anyone expecting it to?
Posted Nov 8, 2019
Scafaria's direction (perhaps at the whim of her producers) feels squeamish, striving to frame her real-life figures not just as relatively minor offenders but as morally upright...Scafaria fails to trust her audience...
Posted Nov 4, 2019
Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)
Zombieland: Double Tap is as entertaining as the first film, if completely redundant.
Posted Oct 25, 2019
Gemini Man (2019)
This all climaxes weirdly in what's meant to be a straightforward emotional story but remains, by its nature as a high concept, too strange to be one - a fact the movie never acknowledges.
Posted Oct 18, 2019
Phoenix's Joker is a monster of his own making, and the film succeeds in blurring the lines between fantasy, reality, and hyper-reality, manipulating its audience to participate in the horror while challenging the individual's own mental soundness.
Posted Oct 15, 2019
in this case the structure's confusing, and ill-fitting: we're observing a spiral down from what heights, exactly?
Posted Oct 2, 2019
Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019)
Where'd You Go's reasons for being as it is seem as muddled at its lead's.
Posted Aug 23, 2019
For anyone who doesn't boat much, it's hard to grasp how yachting can be athletic, harrowing, admirable, or lethal. Maiden... makes a good case for the prowess, invention, and perseverance required.
Posted Aug 16, 2019
Depicting an onscreen world refreshingly free of morals, it's only Crawl's clever that survive.
Posted Aug 8, 2019
The Original Kings of Comedy (2000)
I laughed until I cried.
Posted Aug 7, 2019
Courting obsolescence by fielding inert anxieties about the same, ...Hollywood is a fable as old and familiar as the industry itself.
Posted Aug 1, 2019
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Ehe new Spider-Man feels like a throwback to an older, more holistically built era of studio movies -- if only for caring about the people in it and in front of it much more than we're lately used to.
Posted Jul 26, 2019
Midsommar is a cool, coy, and self-conscious movie, less an overt horror work than a young man's art film with some vivid gore splashed throughout it.
Posted Jul 12, 2019
Despite director Joe Talbot's best intentions, it lacks political teeth or convincing texture and becomes instead a kind of satire of itself.
Posted Jul 3, 2019
Toy Story 4 (2019)
It's a strikingly close imitation of what we're used to but features strong flavors of its own.
Posted Jun 27, 2019
Dark Phoenix (2019)
Ever since this elaborate prequel series was kick-started back in 2011, the series' nominal social concerns have consistently been undermined by their slapdash realization onscreen.
Posted Jun 20, 2019
Booksmart goes down awfully easy for a first feature. Olivia Wilde's long-form directorial debut feels as breezily modern as it does effortlessly made.
Posted Jun 13, 2019
Long Shot (2019)
Long Shot succeeds far more by dodging sharp suggestion or troubling resonance than by expressing a point of view - even as one proves perceptible within it.
Posted Jun 4, 2019
Why Do Fools Fall In Love (1998)
Why Do Fools Fall in Love, in its own glossy, entertaining way, is a deeper examination of how an individual can use numerous masks to conceal himself, even from the ones he loves.
Posted May 23, 2019
Her Smell (2019)
[Perry] knows these characters and believes in them, too, but their experience is fleshed out by performance and presence, ultimately and intimately theirs.
Posted May 17, 2019
High Life (2019)
By interrogating the infinite through the harshly, painfully intimate, Denis gets at the stuff of life itself while proving there's no real difference.
Posted May 17, 2019
Amazing Grace (2019)
Shot largely from the shoulders up after her swiftly gliding, all-business entrance, Franklin - without showboating - quickly overtakes the show's other hands and voices.
Posted Apr 25, 2019
Wild Relatives (2017)
Wild Relatives is motivated, plainly, by both a desire to question, by a sense of concern, by an attention to the mysteries that arise in the film's thematic intersections.
Posted Apr 18, 2019
The Beach Bum (2019)
Where Spring turned left, Beach veers right - strangers passing on the boardwalk...
Posted Apr 11, 2019
It's a messy, genuinely frightening work of art.
Posted Mar 28, 2019
Capernaum (Capharnaüm) (2018)
A good child actor is hard to find, but in Capernaum director Nadine Labaki has improbably found a troupe of them.
Posted Mar 7, 2019
Burning (Beoning) (2018)
What's exceptional about Burning is clear right from the start. A kind of meandering, daylit noir that is as invested as any of the best of the genre in the most buried parts of our psychology...
Posted Dec 20, 2018
The Feeling of Being Watched (2018)
In addressing our concerns via not just feeling but action too, [director Assia Boundaoui] takes into her own hands the very notion of being watched - and with a level of boldness we'd all do well to emulate.
Posted Nov 15, 2018
The filmmakers' investment seems less in the conflict between two opposing forces than in the power trip of Michael's position, in seeing other people as sport. But they don't know how to make it more complicated or tactile, or any more real than that...
Posted Nov 1, 2018
Nevertheless, the performances are uniformly excellent with Oyelowo conveying both the iconic magnetism and human-sized modesty of King's personality.
Posted Oct 15, 2018
Functioning better as a stream of images than a character-driven narrative, El Said's two-hour time capsule captures the streets and alleyways of Cairo with an intimately familiar hand.
Posted Sep 27, 2018
Sorry to Bother You (2018)
And here is a movie that condescends to no one, and which pretends to almost nothing - looking at our world and rendering a just-slightly distorted vision that illuminates it keenly.
Posted Jul 19, 2018
Ocean's 8 (2018)
This is a movie with faith in little, least of all its leading women, who come off by the end looking absolutely robbed.
Posted Jun 12, 2018
First Reformed (2018)
It's worth noting that no scene in First Reformed ever leaves its protagonist, and through his spiraling journal entries and increasingly rash Schrader undermines the old-school Protestantism at its center.
Posted Jun 8, 2018
I, Tonya (2018)
... Steven Rogers' (Hope Floats, P.S. I Love You) screenplay is masterful...
Posted Feb 16, 2018
The Disaster Artist (2017)
The success of The Disaster Artist is less a thoughtful almost-adaptation and more a testament to one man and his quest for greatness - even if it means being the worst of the best.
Posted Dec 18, 2017
The filmmakers are better at presenting the events of July 1967 than explaining them.
Posted Jul 31, 2017
As a window into our country's right-wing attitudes about emerging democracies, the film is particularly timely.
Posted Nov 23, 2015
As each magnificently choreographed set piece unfolds in The Phantom Menace, there's little doubt that George Lucas knows how to create populist entertainment at its best.
Posted Nov 16, 2015
Revenge of the Sith is far from a great film but it easily trumps its two predecessors.
Posted Nov 16, 2015
Casino Royale (2006)
The ace up the film's sleeve is Craig's foil, Eva Green, playing Vesper Lynd, the British accountant assigned to bankroll Bond's escapades. Calling her a Bond Girl would be an oversimplification.
Posted Nov 2, 2015
Let's face it: This is what 3-D IMAX theaters are for. If ever you wanted to know just how small and insignificant you are when facing the full force of the natural world then this is your film.
Posted Sep 18, 2015
Black Mass (2015)
It cribs from just about everything Martin Scorsese has ever done in the genre - but without any of the complicated morality, stylistic artistry, or seductive panache..
Posted Sep 18, 2015
The Visit (2015)
..certainly better directed than many low-budget scare flicks, but it inevitably comes off as secondhand, a mildly entertaining, if clumsy, mix of eeriness and chuckles that arrests Shyamalan's cinematic decline but certainly doesn't reverse it.
Posted Sep 11, 2015
Chloe & Theo (2015)
Good intentions do not a good movie make. And it's sad to say, but Johnson was far more convincing in 50 Shades of Grey.
Posted Sep 10, 2015
The Transporter Refueled (2015)