Early in Gaspar Noé’s recent feature Climax, the notorious French provocateur literally puts his cinematic influences on display. On an old-school CRT television, ambitious young dancers speak frankly of their hopes and dreams in snippets plucked from a... Read more
Review: 'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World'
There have been two unfailingly consistent bright spots in the 20-plus years’ worth of animated theatrical features produced by Dreamworks Animation. The first is the Kung Fu Panda series (2008-16), whose silly cartoon animals and underdog-sports-flick... Read more
Review: 'The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part'
When Warner Animation Group (WAG) announced that it would (to exactly no one’s surprise) return to the glossy plastic well with a sequel to its critical and box-office hit The Lego Movie, it was perhaps inevitable that the result would be less appealing... Read more
Review: 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse'
Even hardcore aficionados of superhero films would likely concede that the genre has struggled over the last 20 years or so to replicate the giddy, astonishing sensibility of comic-book action. Perhaps paradoxically, cinema – a medium that combines color, motion,... Read more
Double Take: 'Scenes from a Marriage' and 'Saraband'
Review: 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?'
In today’s New York, West Village is one of the city’s most expensive neighborhoods. It wasn’t always that way, as Marielle Heller’s new film, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, will remind audiences. This is the neighborhood where the Stonewall riots took place,... Read more
Double Take: 'The Hate U Give' and 'Mid90s'
There’s lately been a resurgence of films centered on teens, but these features don’t quite resemble either John Hughes’ watershed films of the 1980s or the light comedies and slashers of the late 1990s that used the late director’s work as a templates. The... Read more
Review: 'The Land of Steady Habits'
The title The Land of Steady Habits may be misleading. It suggests portraiture of a menial but well-meaning life, and to some, it reads as pejorative against a perceived life not lived. For filmmaker Nicole Holfcener’s characters, the idea of this state... Read more
Review: 'We the Animals'
In queer film studies, one must accept that the definition of the central concept of interest — “queerness” — is perpetually in flux. It simply gestures toward meaning and is not confined to the same empirical categories that are associated with “gay” and “lesbian... Read more
Review: 'The House with a Clock in Its Walls"
Eli Roth’s directing credit follows soon after Steven Spielberg's Amblin Studio logo, and it comes as the first surprise of the YA horror-novel adaptation The House with a Clock in Its Walls. The director’s debut feature, Cabin Fever (2002), is... Read more
Review: 'White Boy Rick'
When Rick Wershe Jr. (Richie Merritt) begins peddling dope on the streets of Detroit, Mich., he’s a mere 15 years old. He’s doing so at the behest of a pair of FBI agents (Jennifer Jason Leigh and Rory Cochrane) and a local cop (Brian Tyree Henry), three officials... Read more
Review: 'Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot'
Gus Van Sant has always been somewhat of an experimental filmmaker, working both in and just outside of Hollywood. He ascended into the ranks of vital indie filmmakers as a member of the New Queer Cinema movement with features like Mala Noche (1986), ... Read more
Review: 'Unfriended: Dark Web'
Cinematic universes are all the rage these days, despite the fact that Marvel is the only studio that has truly cracked how to successfully translate the daunting challenges of such long-term pop storytelling into box-office billions (and modest critical acclaim... Read more
Double Take: 'Damsel' and 'The Great Silence'
It’s common for film writers to note that the Western has waxed and waned in popularity over the course of cinema’s history. While that may be true, the genre contains such a breadth of ideas and archetypes that its malleability allows for it to be remixed and... Read more
Review: 'Solo: A Star Wars Story'
For decades, it was an open secret among serious Star Wars fans that some of the franchise’s most imaginative and stimulating stories could be found not on the silver screen, but in the so-called Expanded Universe (EU) of novels, comics, video games, and... Read more
Review: 'The Death of Stalin'
Tragedy plus time equals comedy, or so the saving goes. A handful of topics are so heinous, however, that they seem to defy this formulation. It’s now been more than eight decades since the end of World War II in Europe, and although some stand-up comedians have... Read more
Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy were born to be film actresses. Certainly, many performers of their generation can claim both sizable dramatic talent and the sort of strange, striking beauty that sets fashion photographers swooning. What make Cooke and Taylor-Joy... Read more