A still from 'Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice'.

Review: 'Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice'

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s biodoc Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice is essentially audiovisual liner notes to a hypothetical greatest-hits package of one of the forgotten pop-rock idols – at least as this documentary supposes – of the 20th... Read more

A still from 'Strange But True'.

Review: 'Strange But True'

It’s rarely a good sign when a film sits unreleased for nearly two years, only to be unceremoniously dumped in a handful of theaters and on video-on-demand platforms. Such is the case with Strange But True, Rowan Athale’s preposterous noir... Read more

A still from 'It Chapter Two'.

Review: 'It Chapter Two'

It would be folly to assert that Stephen King’s colossal 1986 horror novel It is effectively unfilmable, given that such absolutist declarations rarely endure. Director Michael Winterbottom, after all, found a way to translate the 18th-century satirical... Read more

A still from 'Honeyland'.

Review: 'Honeyland'

The reach of the American Dream extends far beyond the boundaries of these 50 states. With the rise of e-commerce and a growing desire for ethically sourced global goods, America’s economic potential can affect even the planet’s smallest, most remote communities.... Read more

A still from 'Jawline'.

Review: 'Jawline'

Austyn Tester radiates positivity. The 16-year-old’s earnest optimism and unwavering confidence helped him secure more than 20,000 followers on the popular live-streaming website YouNow. Jawline, director Liza Mandelup’s first documentary feature, pulls... Read more

A still from 'Luce'.

Review: 'Luce'

The single thing that connects Luce and The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) is director Julius Onah’s ability to start... Read more

A still from 'Ready or Not'.

Review: 'Ready or Not'

Anxious bride-to-be Grace (Samara Weaving) has been looking for a family for most of her life. A former foster child with no peers she can count as close friends, she feels like she’s hit the jackpot with fiancée Alex (Mark O’Brien), who is handsome, attentive,... Read more

A still from 'Mike Wallace Is Here'.

Review: 'Mike Wallace Is Here'

The title of Avi Belkin’s Mike Wallace Is Here may be a nod to the phrase used to introduce the television journalist on his influential news magazine show 60 Minutes, but it also cleverly points to the late Wallace’s authorial presence within... Read more

A still from 'Dora and the Lost City of Gold'.

Review: 'Dora and the Lost City of Gold'

Nickelodeon tried to make Dora the Explorer (2000- ) relevant to older audiences once before. A television staple for many Millennials and Gen Zers, Dora’s a young girl who — along with her talking animal friends and an animate backpack and map — aims to... Read more

A still from 'The Nightingale'.

Review: 'The Nightingale'

Note: This review contains minor spoilers.

The Nightingale is a film of staggering cruelty. The feature’s writer and director, Jennifer Kent, established a formidable international reputation with her creepy, psychologically transgressive... Read more

A still from 'Them That Follow'.

Review: 'Them That Follow'

Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage’s debut feature, Them That Follow, suffers greatly from its lack of an interesting point-of-view. Set in secluded foothills of the Appalachian mountains in which a community of evangelical Pentecostal devotees deploy... Read more

A still from 'Otherhood'.

Review: 'Otherhood'

Long-time television writer Cindy Chupack’s directorial debut, Otherhood, was supposed to be released around Mother’s Day but was pushed to August because of actress Felicity Huffman’s legal proceedings. In March, Huffman and nearly 50 others were... Read more

A still from 'The Kitchen'.

Review: 'The Kitchen'

If something seems eerily familiar about writer-director Andrea Berloff’s kludgy NYC underworld potboiler The Kitchen, you’re not just imagining things. The film’s conceit – three convention-bucking Irish mob wives take control of a Hell’s Kitchen... Read more

A stil from 'Sword of Trust'.

Review: 'Sword of Trust'

Not too long ago, before the opinions of YouTubers and... Read more

A still from 'The Mountain'.

Review: 'The Mountain'

Rick Alverson’s The Mountain begins in a familiar fashion, mixing elements of Paul Dano’s Wildlife (2018) with Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master (2013). In this mid-century mood piece about the perils of masculinity, a doe-eyed cipher... Read more

A still from 'Share'.

Review: 'Share'

The opening images and sounds in Share, writer-director Pippa Bianco’s icily intense debut feature, are impressionistic but easily identifiable: rain-slicked asphalt captured in fuzzy close-up, the dark surface occasionally flaring orange-white from the... Read more

A still from 'Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood'.

Review: 'Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood'

After unleashing his nastiest work, The Hateful Eight, in 2015, one might rightfully expect Quentin Tarantino to lean even further into the subversive excavation of the violent heart of America in his latest feature, Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood... Read more

A still from 'The Farewell'.

Review: 'The Farewell'

A plot summary of writer-director Lulu Wang’s superlative sophomore feature, The Farewell, reads like the sort of tear-jerking, family-focused indie dramedy that typically thrives at the Sundance Film Festival. (Indeed, the film was a hit at the fest this... Read more

A still from 'Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love'.

Review: 'Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love'

Because of the success of Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), the critically panned biography about Freddie Mercury that still managed to gross more than $900 million worldwide, studios seem to be willing to invest big money into musician biopics again. Narrative... Read more

A still from 'Klute'.

The Lens Recommends: 'Klute'

Actors Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland and director Alan J. Pakula had respectable résumés prior to 1971’s Klute — which joins the Criterion Collection with a brand-new Blu-ray edition this week — but there’s a clear distinction between the kind of work... Read more

A stil from 'The Art of Self-Defense'.

Review: 'The Art of Self-Defense'

Writer-director Riley Stearns’ exacting and self-assured sophomore feature, The Art of Self-Defense, never specifies what year the film’s events take place. The computers, photocopiers, answering machines, and other technological signposts suggest the... Read more

A still from 'Ophelia'.

Review: 'Ophelia'

Claire McCarthy’s Ophelia is the latest in a long line of cinematic Shakespeare adaptations that take the Bard’s words and add a supposedly creative twist. What sets the director’s revisionist take on Hamlet apart from all the others is its... Read more

A still from 'Wild Rose'.

Review: 'Wild Rose'

Jessie Buckley is a combustible powder keg as ex-con country singer Rose-Lynn in Tom Harper’s Wild Rose. At the drop of a cowboy hat — or the switch-on of a microphone, more literally — the Glaswegian will break through her already infectious, knowing... Read more

A still from 'Transit'.

Review: 'Transit'

Transit was released on Blu-ray from Music Box Films on July 9, 2019 and is also available for digital rent or purchase from major online platforms.

The first 10 minutes... Read more

A still from 'Lost Highway'.

The Lens Recommends: 'Lost Highway'

David Lynch is an auteur, so he has every right to tell you not to buy Kino Lorber’s new edition of his film Lost Highway (1997), which arrived for the first time on Blu-ray in the U.S. on June 25. As one of the most singular filmmakers in the... Read more

A still from 'Midsummer'.

Review: 'Midsommar'

Bad relationships can be fiendishly hardy things. They can hobble along well past their expiration date, animated by pernicious habit and sustained on guilt, anxiety, and cowardice. Everyone involved might know on some level that the relationship is dead, but they... Read more

A still from 'Paris Is Burning'.

Double Take: 'The Queen' and 'Paris Is Burning'

The mainstreaming of queer culture means that nearly every Target in America has a small and strategically positioned rack of mass-produced rainbow-bedecked accoutrements for customers to own and don for their area’s June Pride festivities. The issue with the... Read more

A still from 'Toy Story 4'.

Review: 'Toy Story 4'

Toy Story (1995) is hugely important — not only was it the first feature-length computer-animated film, but it was also the first feature from Pixar Animation Studios. The family-friendly film was commissioned by Walt Disney Pictures after the success of... Read more

A still from 'The Last Black Man in San Francisco'.

Review: 'The Last Black Man in San Francisco'

A city is a perpetually mutating organism. Like all gradual processes, this evolution often occurs in such tiny, iterative steps that one barely notices change is happening at all. There are exceptions, of course, where a natural disaster or public-works project... Read more

A still from 'The Dead Don't Die'.

Review: 'The Dead Don't Die'

Jim Jarmusch is sick of zombies. “What’s cool about a zombie?” He asks during an interview with Rolling Stone. “They’re lifeless forms. They’re soulless humanoids. They’re an excuse.” It’s not a surprising take from a humanist like Jarmusch, given that ... Read more

A still from 'Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese'.

Review: 'Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese'

The ideal audience for director Martin Scorsese’s curious new Netflix documentary – which boasts the party-sub-sized official title Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese – is unquestionably composed of passionate Bob Dylan fans. This... Read more

A still from 'Non-Fiction'.

Review: 'Non-Fiction'

Olivier Assayas’ last film, Personal Shopper (2016), proposed that modern technology could be a possible medium for the living to communicate with the dead. One part haute couture murder mystery and one part grief tone poem, the beguiling ghost... Read more

A still from 'Shadow'.

Review: 'Shadow'

Chinese director Zhang Yimou is a prolific, multi-genre filmmaker, but among mainstream Western viewers, he is likely best known for his luscious, pseudo-historical wuxia action epics, such... Read more

A still from 'The Perfection'.

Review: 'The Perfection'

In April, Twitter account @NetflixFilm — one of the streaming giant’s many attempts to appeal to hip cinephiles via this newfangled social-media thing — garnered some unwanted attention by... Read more

A still from 'Rocketman'.

Review: 'Rocketman'

Early in Rocketman, musical prodigy Reginald Kenneth Dwight (Matthew Illesley) – who will eventually assume the stage name Elton John as an adult (Taron Egerton) – sits on his bed late at night, feverishly studying sheet music. He raises a hand to conduct... Read more

A still from 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters'.

Review: 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters'

Godzilla began his cinematic life as a not-so-subtle metaphor for nuclear weapons, but the pop-cultural endurance of this colossal, city-leveling radioactive reptile – arguably the great post-World War II movie monster – is attributable in part to his... Read more

A still from 'Booksmart'.

Review: 'Booksmart'

Booksmart opens on the last day of high school for the Class of 2019 in an unspecified Los Angeles suburb – and BFFs Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) couldn’t be more ecstatic. It’s not that the past four years have been miserable for this... Read more

A still from 'Trial by Fire'.

Review: 'Trial by Fire'

Saying a film is so bad it becomes a parody of its original intentions is sort of a critical cliché. The would-be prestige film Trial by Fire proves that assessment sometimes necessary by unknowingly (one would hope) taking it one step further and... Read more

A still from 'John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum'.

Review: 'John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum'

The world of the John Wick films is ludicrous one, a hyperreal cinematic universe in which seemingly half the people on the planet are deadly international assassins. This global network of hired killers operates according to long-standing traditions,... Read more

A still from 'The Hustle'.

Review: 'The Hustle'

One can’t begrudge the makers of The Hustle for wanting to update the Michael Caine and Steve Martin-starring cult comedy classic Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) – itself a remake of the forgotten Bedtime Story (1964) with David Niven and... Read more

A still from 'Under the Silver Lake'.

Review: 'Under the Silver Lake'

“Break the code, solve the crime.” As FBI Agent Dale Cooper, Kyle MacLachlan asserted this maxim with the G-man’s typical rock-ribbed certainty during the first season of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s epochal series Twin Peaks (1990-91). Cooper was... Read more

A still from 'Avengers: Endgame'.

Review: 'Avengers: Endgame'

Perhaps more than any Hollywood blockbuster from the past 50 years, Avengers: Endgame could accurately be described as a “critic-proof” pop-cultural event. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter what this writer or any other film critic thinks... Read more

A still from 'High Life'.

Review: 'High Life'

There are bucket-loads of bodily fluids – blood, semen, breast milk – in High Life, including some inexplicable substances that come pouring out of the “Fuck Box” after its use by a crew member of a spaceship prison. That’s probably enough information to... Read more

A still from 'The Curse of La Llorona'.

Review: 'The Curse of La Llorona'

The Mexican-accented ghost story The Curse of La Llorona is the latest horror feature cranked out by Warner-owned New Line Cinema under director-producer James Wan's The Conjuring branding. Like viritually all such films, it takes pains to... Read more

A still from 'Missing Link'.

Review: 'Missing Link'

The title of Laika Studio’s latest, Missing Link, has at least three meanings. It ostensibly refers to the erudite yet naive Bigfoot character, Mr. Link A.K.A. Susan (voiced by Zach Galifianakis). This furry fellow calls on the charlatan British explorer... Read more

A still from 'Diane'.

Review: 'Diane'

Diane (Mary Kay Place) is a caretaker – not in any professional sense but as an overriding aspect of her identity. The middle-aged New Englander is a star exerting a gravitational pull on the planets that orbit her. Diane’s hospital-bound cousin, Donna (Deirdre O'... Read more

A still from "Pet Sematary'.

Review: 'Pet Sematary'

[Note: This review contains minor spoilers for the 1983 novel Pet Sematary and its 1989 film adaptation.]

Unhappy endings are hardly a recent phenomenon in horror cinema. No less a film than Night of the Living Dead (1968) boasts one of... Read more

A still from 'The Mustang'.

Review: 'The Mustang'

On paper, the plot of The Mustang – the lyrical, touching, and hard-bitten debut feature from writer-director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre – seems like fodder for an orthodoxly heartwarming breed of American-indie cinema. (Indeed, The Mustang... Read more

A still from 'Gloria Bell'.

Review: 'Gloria Bell'

Whether art should be evaluated on its own merits and removed from its cultural context or makers’ intentions is a question that has persisted throughout the history of criticism. That conundrum won’t be solved here — countless think pieces comparing remakes,... Read more

A still from 'Us'.

Review: 'Us'

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

A still from 'Captain Marvel'.

Review: 'Captain Marvel'

Last year’s bite-size post-Infinity War digestif Ant-Man and the Wasp – which, in fact, unfolds shortly before the Avengers’ doomed confrontation with the Mad Titan Thanos; do try to keep up, people – was the first clear sign that the... Read more

A still from 'Greta'.

Review: 'Greta'

Neil Jordan’s Greta is unlikely to replicate the sensation of his breakout neo-noir, The Crying Game (1992). That feature helped usher in a wave of independently produced films going quasi-mainstream, with its modest success and cultural... Read more

A still from 'To Dust'.

Review: 'To Dust'

When his wife died, Shmuel (Géza Röhrig), a Hasidic jew, first sought comfort in his faith, dutifully committed to its mourning rituals. He tore into the fabric of his jacket, a practice known as keriah. Following the Taharah ritual, he had her remains... Read more

A still from 'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World'.

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

A still from 'Happy Death Day 2U'.

Review: 'Happy Death Day 2U'

[Note: This review includes major spoilers for the 2017 film Happy Death Day.]

There’s a nagging irony pulsing at the heart of the 2017 horror-comedy sleeper hit Happy Death Day. In that film, Louisiana coed Theresa “Tree” Gelbman... Read more

A still from 'High Flying Bird'.

Review: 'High Flying Bird'

Steven Soderbergh has been in the game for 30 years. His auspicious debut feature, sex, lies, and videotape, was the talk of the 1989 Sundance festival, won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival mere months later, and premiered on North American... Read more

A still from 'The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part'.

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

A still from 'Cold War'.

Review: 'Cold War'

Cold War is a deeply personal film for director Paweł Pawlikowski. The story of a Polish man and woman who couple and uncouple numerous times across many European countries from 1949-64 is inspired by the tumultuous relationship of Pawlikowski’s own... Read more

A still from 'Alphaville'.

The Lens Recommends: 'Alphaville'

[Photo: Film Forum / Rialto Pictures]

Note: This essay was originally presented at the 2018 Robert Classic French Film Festival on Mar. 16, 2018. It has been slightly revised for this post.

Alphaville is one of those films that... Read more

A still from 'Glass'.

Review: 'Glass'

There is no pleasure in reporting that writer-director M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass is the low point in the filmmaker’s three-feature “realistic superheroes” cycle. The first film in this chronologically lopsided trilogy, 2000’s Unbreakable,... Read more

A still from 'Roma'.

Review: 'Roma'

It is apparent from the film’s first, fantastically crisp black-and-white image – a prolonged closeup of a tiled driveway, its surface periodically slopped by sudsy water – that writer-director Alfonso Cuarón’s quasi-autobiographical opus Roma is going to... Read more

A still from 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse'.

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

A still from 'Scenes from a Marriage'.

Double Take: 'Scenes from a Marriage' and 'Saraband'

To celebrate the centenary of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman’s birth, the boutique home video label the Criterion Collection has released a beautifully-curated mammoth box set containing... Read more

A still from 'Border'.

Review: 'Border'

Even in a place as drab as the Swedish customs office, Tina (award-winning stage and screen veteran Eva Melander) stands out. There’s something about this short, stocky woman that, well, just doesn’t look right. Ancient scars trace her outlandishly round, rather... Read more

A still from 'Wildlife'.

Review: 'Wildlife'

Joe Brinson (Ed Oxenbould), pubescent son of Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) and Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal), stands in the frame of their bathroom door, staringly lovingly and inquisitively at his mother. She’s readying herself to hit the streets of their new hometown,... Read more

A still from 'At Eternity's Gate'.

Review: 'At Eternity's Gate'

Ambitious filmmakers have previously taken the narrative biopic form in some unconventional directions. Todd Haynes’ Bob Dylan-themed quasi-fictional anthology I’m Not There (2007) is probably the gold standard for this sort “anti-biopic” – at least in... Read more

A still from 'Boy Erased'.

Review: 'Boy Erased'

Who, exactly, is religious-based gay conversion therapy meant to help? This is but one question at the center of director Joel Edgerton’s Boy Erased. Another, for the central character Jared Eamon (Lucas Hedges) anyway, involves his sexuality: Is he... Read more

A still from 'Widows'.

Review: 'Widows'

There’s a shot early in director Steve McQueen’s Widows that haphazardly announces the politically subversive nature of this Hollywood-made heist thriller. Following a rally for his program supporting women entrepreneurs of color, Jack Mulligan (Colin... Read more

A still from 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?'

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

A still from 'Suspiria'.

Review: 'Suspiria'

First things first: Director Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria is not really a remake of Dario Argento’s inimitable 1977 giallo-turned-fantasia of the same name, at least not in any remotely meaningful sense of the word. Both films are (loosely) horror... Read more

A still from 'Mid90s'.

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

A still from 'Halloween'.

Review: 'Halloween'

Director John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) is not the first modern English-language slasher film: That honor goes to Bob Clark’s eerie sorority-house bloodbath Black Christmas (1974), or perhaps Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre... Read more

A still from 'First Man'.

Review: 'First Man'

The 1950s - 70s heyday of the United States’ manned space program has been a relatively successful (if strangely infrequent) source of compelling cinematic stories, inspiring both rousing dramas (The Right Stuff [1983], Apollo 13 [1995]) and... Read more

A still from 'A Star Is Born'.

Review: 'A Star Is Born'

Not long into A Star is Born, it's become apparent that Bradley Cooper will be a real contender as a filmmaker. His visual influences are evident: Martin Scorsese’s gliding and orchestral tracking shots; Terrence Malick’s unencumbered camera with its awe-... Read more

A still from 'Venom'.

Review: 'Venom'

Undoubtedly, Sony Pictures’ decision to produce a new film centered on Spider-Man’s icky alien nemesis Venom – sans the Web-Slinger – seemed like a clever idea at the time to the studio’s financially-minded executives. Although Sony essentially leased... Read more

A still from 'The Land of Steady Habits'.

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

A still from 'Blaze'.

Review: 'Blaze'

The whiskey-soaked Outlaw Country biopic Blaze is Ethan Hawke’s fourth feature film as a director, and the second that entails a deep dive into the life and times of a professional musician. Seymour: An Introduction, Hawke’s 2014 documentary... Read more

A still from 'We the Animals'.

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

A still from 'The House with a Clock in Its Walls'.

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

A still from 'Lizzie'.

Review: 'Lizzie'

Director Craig William Macneill’s Gilded Age true-crime thriller Lizzie assumes the stance common to most mainstream historical accounts and dramatic depictions of Lizzie Borden. Namely, it takes as a given that Lizzie hacked to death with a hatchet both... Read more

A still from 'White Boy Rick'.

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

A still from 'A Simple Favor'.

Review: 'A Simple Favor'

A Simple Favor is a weird film, tonally speaking. It’s not the first foray into more bloody-minded fare for comedy-inclined director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids [2011]; Spy [2015]; Ghostbusters [2016]). Before breaking out as one of... Read more

A still from 'Support the Girls'.

Review: 'Support the Girls'

Andrew Bujalski hides his cinematic modus operandi inside a joke during the first act of Support the Girls. Lisa (Regina Hall), the general manager of a Hooters-like “boobs, bros, and beers” bar, Double Whammies, is conspiring with her right-hand... Read more

A still from 'The Nun'.

Review: 'The Nun'

One of the unlikelier developments in horror cinema during the 2010s has been the expansion of director James Wan’s musty ghost story The Conjuring (2013) into a full-fledged cinematic universe, complete with sequels, prequels, and spinoffs. Although Wan’... Read more

A still from 'Papillon'.

Review: 'Papillon'

Franklin J. Schaffner’s 1973 film Papillon was mostly a vehicle for its star, the ever-cool Steve McQueen, as well as a cash-in adaptation of the popular memoir of the same name by Henri Charrière. It’s a shaggy hybrid of prison-escape drama and adventure... Read more

A still from 'McQueen'.

Review: 'McQueen'

For those already familiar with the well-publicized life and highly regarded work of Alexander McQueen, there’s nothing revelatory in Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui’s McQueen. The biographical documentary — that most popular of nonfiction subgenres — ... 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

A still from 'Eighth Grade'.

Review: 'Eighth Grade'

When you’re 13 years old, reality can feel mutable and devouring. A week of boredom and discomfiture can dilate into a dreary eternity. A passing moment of awkwardness can mushroom into a humiliating cataclysm. The mélange of roaring hormones and bewildering... Read more

A still from 'Unfriended: Dark Web'.

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

A still from 'Sorry to Bother You'.

Review: 'Sorry to Bother You'

Cassius “Cash” Green (Lakeith Stanfield), the beleaguered protagonist of Sorry to Bother You, has problems. Young, black, and unemployed in Oakland, Calif., he’s living in his uncle’s (Terry Crewes) garage and four months behind on his rent. He’s so... Read more

A still from 'Damsel'.

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

A still from 'Leave No Trace'.

Review: 'Leave No Trace'

Writer-director Debra Granik’s incisive and affecting new drama, Leave No Trace, begins within the hushed, verdant cathedral of Portland, Ore.’s Forest Park, one of the largest urban forest reserves in America. Among the towering, second-growth conifers... Read more

Still from 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom'.

Review: 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom'

[Note: This review contains spoilers.]

As genetically engineered as its new super-dino, the Indoraptor, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is designed to trigger specific responses from and ingratiate itself with an increasingly jaded audience... Read more

 A still from 'Hearts Beat Loud'.

Review: 'Hearts Beat Loud'

Nick Offerman has carved out quite the niche over the past decade with variations of the earthy but deadpan Ron Swanson he played on television’s Parks and Recreation (2009-15). He’s cropped up in other works with supporting parts that borrowed Swanson’s... Read more

Review: 'Ocean's 8'

Brian De Palma’s Femme Fatale (2002) opens on the miraculously sleek and labyrinthine heist of a diamond necklace from an actress’ neck at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s a thrilling  meta-movie moment that recalls Jules Dassin’s Rififi (1955) and... Read more

A still from 'Hereditary'.

Review: 'Hereditary'

Every cinematic experience is inherently subjective, but the horror genre presents a particularly vivid illustration of just how personal responses to films can be. Fear is a primeval emotion – perhaps the  primeval emotion – and as such it’s tremendously... Read more

A still from 'First Reformed'.

Review: 'First Reformed'

The fundamental paradox of films about religious faith – at least in the West – is that the outstanding examples of the form are so often the work of apostates, heretics, and nonbelievers. Filmmakers who fit these descriptors crafted some of the 20th century’s... Read more

A still from 'Let the Sunshine In'.

Review: 'Let the Sunshine In'

In Claire Denis’ last film, the director left viewers with the most unsettling images of her career. Her 2013 feature Bastards was a time-hopping narrative of betrayal and murder, culminating in the reveal of an incestual rape. While not exactly a change... Read more

A Still from 'Solo: A Star Wars Story'.

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

A still from 'The Rider'.

Review: 'The Rider'

Director and writer Chloé Zhao’s film The Rider opens on hypnotic equine images. The camera glides along the tan mane of a horse in slow motion, fading into other closeup images of its snarling mouth, the muscles writhing beneath its thick skin, and... Read more

Review: 'Revenge'

Although it remains a somewhat contentious subgenre, the rape-revenge thriller has a rich (if not exactly respectable) pedigree, extending back to seminal exploitation features like Thriller: A Cruel Picture (1973), I Spit on Your Grave (1978),... Read more

Review: 'Lu Over the Wall'

For Japanese animation aficionados whose primary point of reference is the output of Studio Ghibli, Masaaki Yuasa’s vibrant, toe-tapping fable Lu Over the Wall will come as a modest surprise. This isn’t to say that the sprightly Lu isn’t... Read more

Review: 'Avengers: Infinity War'

It’s quite challenging to talk about Marvel Studios’ all-hands-on-deck superhero cavalcade Avengers: Infinity War without heading deep into spoiler territory. This isn’t just the usual critical reluctance to discuss crucial plot twists or the who-lives-... Read more

Still from 'A Quiet Place'.

Review: 'A Quiet Place'

Writer-director John Krasinski’s scary-good creature feature A Quiet Place is bookended by a pair of gestures that reveal, through counter-example, just how timid and senselessly self-indulgent most popcorn features have become in the 2010s. They aren’t... Read more

Review: 'Isle of Dogs'

One of the hidden depths to be found in DreamWorks Animation’s proudly anachronistic fantasy romp How to Train Your Dragon (2010) is an allegorical one. Angle it the right way, and Dean DeBois and Chris Sanders’ feature can be viewed a lucid metaphor for... Read more

Still from 'The Death of Stalin'.

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

Review: 'Thoroughbreds'

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

Review: 'Red Sparrow'

Director Francis Lawrence’s agreeably trashy cloak-and-dagger potboiler Red Sparrow feels like a throwback in several ways. Most conspicuously, it takes many of its unabashedly sleazy cues from the erotically charged dramas and thrillers that were a part... Read more

Still from 'Annihilation'.

Review: 'Annihilation'

In the past decade, few filmmakers have burst out of the starting gate as strongly as Alex Garland. His remarkable, assured directorial debut, Ex Machina  (2015), signaled that the English novelist (The Beach) and screenwriter (28 Days Later... Read more

Review: 'Hostiles'

Like all the director’s features, Scott Cooper’s bleak, slow-burn Western Hostiles manages to eke out rough success, despite the familiarity of its story components. Cooper’s works are consistently constructed according to durable, masculine formulae: the... Read more

A still from 'The Final Year'.

Review: 'The Final Year'

In a time of marked polarization and hostility in American politics, the most obvious dilemma that faces Greg Barker’s new documentary feature, The Final Year, is the kneejerk partisan response of the viewer. The film provides a behind-the-scenes,... Read more

A scene from 'Phantom Thread'.

Review: 'Phantom Thread'

The opening lines in Paul Thomas Anderson’s new feature Phantom Thread are spoken by Alma (Vicky Krieps), a young British woman with an indefinite Continental slant in her accent. In hushed, carefully-chosen words, she tries to articulate—to an initially... Read more

Review: 'Call Me By Your Name'

Broadly speaking, romantic coming-of-age dramas—which are typically centered on a formative, head-over-heels relationship—often follow one of two approaches. Some films aim primarily for social and emotional realism, erecting an authentic... Read more

Review: 'The Shape of Water'

If Guillermo del Toro’s monster vs. battle-bot indulgence Pacific Rim (2013) is the film that an eight-year-old version of the director might have wanted to see, then del Toro’s latest effort, The Shape of Water, is the sort of feature that might... Read more

Review: 'The Disaster Artist'

James Franco is a bit of an enigma. Following his breakout in the television series Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000) and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films (2002-2007), Franco has become a ubiquitous presence as an actor: shoring up broad, bro-friendly... Read more

Review: 'Justice League'

The conventional wisdom is that Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v. Superman (2016), the first two entries in the wannabe “DC Extended Universe”, were critical duds partly due to their unremittingly dour tone. The grim, brooding... Read more

Review: 'The Square'

Viewers who have experienced the delectable agony of director Ruben Östlund’s international breakout Force Majeure (2014) doubtlessly have some expectations regarding the Swedish filmmaker’s... Read more

Review: 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer'

The characters in Yorgos Lathimos’ films don’t talk like normal people. In the case of the Bizarro clan in the director’s pitch-black absurdist masterpiece Doogtooth (2009), the family’s speech patterns reveal their insular enforced... Read more

Review: 'Wonderstruck'

Wonderstruck is vivid case study in how things can go subtly awry when there is a mismatch between a film’s source material and its director. The feature was adapted from the 2011 illustrated novel of the same name by Brian Selznick,... Read more

Review: 'Thor: Ragnarok'

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has always had an irreverent side, going back to the feature that started the whole multi-media merchandising colossus, Iron Man (2008). As inhabited by Robert Downey Jr., war profiteer-turned-hero Tony... Read more

Review: 'The Florida Project'

The lyrics to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 1976 single “American Girl” contain references to the heartache and recklessness of young adulthood, but the song could easily describe the life of Moonee, the precocious 6-year-old heroine of ... Read more

Review: 'The Foreigner'

The Foreigner is a broken film, but it is broken in such an oddly narrow way that it still manages be entertaining, and even mildly invigorating within the limits of its generic formulae. The film’s fundamental flaw is that it is, in fact, two... Read more

Review: 'Marshall'

Thurgood Marshall is the sort of American legal and political titan who practically demands a biopic, but it was probably inevitable that said biopic would turn out to be such a dispiritingly middlebrow affair. The film that director Reginald Hudlin (House... Read more

Review: 'Blade Runner 2049'

Director Ridley Scott’s 1982 feature Blade Runner is the kind of epochal genre film whose stylistic influence is so enormous, it can be difficult to accurately assess the feature’s merits and flaws in isolation. Blade Runner changed science... Read more

Review: 'The Mountain Between Us'

Whether entirely fictional or inspired by true events, tales of people enduring extraordinary circumstances and coming out alive are generally viewed as fertile soil for filmmaking. All on its own, however, the simple fact of survival isn’t... Read more