Posted in: Review

Piercing

An aspiring serial killer meticulously plots his first premeditated murder, making detailed notes and plans for the killing and dismemberment of a prostitute, and yet when his would-be victim shows up at his hotel room door, Piercing turns into … a romantic comedy? That’s the entertainingly perverse premise behind the stylish second feature from The […]

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The Upside

The 2011 French inspirational drama The Intouchables, based loosely on the real-life story of wealthy quadriplegic businessman Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and his caregiver, was an international sensation and remains one of the most successful movies of all time in its native country, so the only surprising thing about the new American remake The Upside […]

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Cold War

As a pair of dispassionate musicologists and a government official conduct American Idol-style auditions among peasants in 1949 Poland, the vibrant and slightly devious young singer Zula (Joanna Kulig) immediately captivates Wiktor (Thomasz Kot) with her ambition, beauty and boldness, and it takes just a single look across a crowded room for them to form […]

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Shoplifters

Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda’s films often focus on the beauty of unexpected or unconventional families, and his latest, Shoplifters (which won the Palme d’Or, the top prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival), starts out as another small-scale family story, before eventually revealing just how far from typical the central family really is. From the […]

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Creed II

When Ryan Coogler’s Creed debuted in 2015, it had the advantage of not coming off as just another Rocky sequel or a cynical exercise in branding. It was a passion project for the director and co-writer, who originated the idea of depicting the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed as a next-generation boxing contender to be […]

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Instant Family

Director and co-writer Sean Anders based Instant Family on his personal experiences of fostering and later adopting a group of siblings, but that doesn’t mean that he and longtime co-writer John Morris ignored their instincts for loud, hacky comedy. Instead, they simply applied those instincts to equally broad sentiment and family bonding, making Instant Family […]

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The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The six segments in Joel and Ethan Coen’s omnibus feature The Ballad of Buster Scruggs are each introduced as stories from a dusty old book of Western tales, and while that book is entirely made up, it’s not hard to believe that the Coens could have adapted this material from an obscure contemporary of Louis […]

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The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

The story of The Nutcracker seems like the kind of thing that Disney would have adapted decades ago, making the new The Nutcracker and the Four Realms one of the studio’s many cash-in live-action remakes of its beloved animated classics. But somehow The Nutcracker (from both E.T.A. Hoffmann’s 1816 short story and the 1892 ballet […]

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Suspiria (2018)

Dario Argento’s 1977 horror classic Suspiria is a masterpiece of atmosphere and color, but it doesn’t exactly, you know, make sense. In taking on a remake (or reimagining, or however it’s being designated) of Suspiria, director Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name) and screenwriter David Kajganich have preserved all the weirdness of Argento’s original […]

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Johnny English Strikes Again

It’s a little hard to believe that there have been three Johnny English movies since the character debuted on the big screen in 2003, but Rowan Atkinson’s bumbling secret agent remains quite popular in his native U.K., where Johnny English Strikes Again is already a box-office hit. Here in the U.S., the spy-comedy series is […]

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Halloween (2018)

Having original “final girl” Laurie Strode return to the Halloween franchise after decades away is not a new idea, although given the underwhelming way it turned out in 1998’s Halloween H20, you can’t really blame director and co-writer David Gordon Green for taking another crack at it. Like H20, Green’s simply titled Halloween ignores previous […]

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The Song of Sway Lake

The song in The Song of Sway Lake is an actual song, a custom composition for the Sway family that becomes the source of an intergenerational struggle. At an expansive vacation home on the upstate New York lake named for his family, young Ollie Sway (Rory Culkin) is determined to find the ultra-rare (and ultra-valuable) […]

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The Kindergarten Teacher

Maggie Gyllenhaal is great at making audiences uncomfortable. Even in her more sedate, straightforward roles, there’s often a sense of something off-kilter and unstable, and she’s never afraid to play characters who are abrasive and confrontational, whether that’s the desperate addict of Sherrybaby or the sexual masochist of Secretary or the business executive of The […]

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Hold the Dark

As brutal and unyielding as the violence is in Jeremy Saulnier’s acclaimed movies Blue Ruin and Green Room, it’s generally contained and matter-of-fact, the product of flawed decisions by realistically flawed people. Saulnier’s new film, the Netflix original Hold the Dark, is just as violent as his previous work, but its tone is more grandiose […]

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A Simple Favor

At first glance, Paul Feig doesn’t seem like the right choice to direct a stylish mystery thriller. But the man behind crowd-pleasing comedies including Bridesmaids, Spy and The Heat turns out to be the perfect person to ensure that the adaptation of Darcey Bell’s 2017 novel A Simple Favor doesn’t just come off as another […]

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Kin

It’s no surprise that directing brothers Josh and Jonathan Baker expanded Kin from a short film (their 2014 effort Bag Man), because there clearly isn’t enough in the story to sustain a feature film. A morose drama about two delinquent brothers, Kin occasionally stops to check in on an underdeveloped sci-fi movie along the way, […]

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Searching

Russian filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov has been quietly building a niche for himself as the producer of a subgenre of movies he dubs “screen life,” including the two Unfriended movies and the new thriller Searching. Like the Unfriended movies (and the upcoming Profile, which is currently on the festival circuit), Searching unfolds entirely on computer screens, […]

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Minding the Gap

When Bing Liu first started shooting footage for what became his debut documentary feature Minding the Gap, there’s no way he could have known what he would end up with. At first he was just making some cool skateboarding videos with his friends Keire and Zack, and along the way he documented the painful process […]

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Christopher Robin

Disney’s mania for reimagining all of its successful animated properties as live-action movies takes an odd turn with Christopher Robin, which places lovable bear Winnie the Pooh and his animal friends in the real world, where they come across mostly as creepy and sad. It’s also a little unsettling to see the title character, who […]