The New Republic
Mary Queen of Scots (2018)
In Mary Queen of Scots, we don't see a reckoning with the future of a country united across the Scottish-English border. We see queens cry and fret about their hair.
Posted Dec 12, 2018
Never Look Away (2018)
[It's] eager to make grand statements rather than to find poignancy and authenticity in one story. And yet, Donnersmarck touches on something elemental about how biography, inspiration, and history can combine to create something of lasting value.
Posted Dec 4, 2018
It's the dashing camerawork and broad historical awareness of Widows that makes it a truly sophisticated action film, and by far the best crime movie of 2018 so far.
Posted Nov 30, 2018
If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
Something else guides Jenkins, generally and more acutely with Beale Street: He provides space for his character's flaws while never allowing those flaws to define them.
Posted Nov 28, 2018
The Favourite (2018)
Bathed in a score of Vivaldi, Bach, and Purcell, it's Lanthimos's most watchable movie to date, and also his best. The Favourite is a triumph in textures, a beam of light through a window.
Posted Nov 21, 2018
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is one of the strangest and least legible of the Coen brothers' films, but it also revels in their sheer joy in creating movies.
Posted Nov 15, 2018
A Private War (2018)
Despite the undeniably extraordinary feats that Colvin achieved in life and on the edge of death, A Private War is a hagiography that reduces a complicated woman down to trauma, booze, and typing.
Posted Nov 12, 2018
A brutal rumination on intergenerational pain, and the ways that male cruelty can make good women bad.
Posted Oct 31, 2018
It's bloody, it's nasty, and it burns.
Posted Oct 15, 2018
22 July (2018)
The film is about atmosphere and anger, and Greengrass achieves that effect through tight focus on individuals. But the result is imperfect, because it elides crucial elements of the whole story.
Posted Oct 11, 2018
A Star Is Born (2018)
It's the love story for our time. It's an instant cult classic. It's everything a tasteful move should not be, and yet it's an undeniable success.
Posted Oct 5, 2018
Free Solo (2018)
The classic tension between the sublime and the human spirit breaks down. Man, rock, camera: they're old suspects, but here they seem made anew.
Posted Sep 26, 2018
A Simple Favor (2018)
A deeply confused movie that feels like a mash-up of Mean Girls and an episode of Law and Order.
Posted Sep 24, 2018
The Wife (2018)
The Wife is that increasingly rare offering, a commercially viable film that also makes you rethink your assumptions about talent and who gets to wield it.
Posted Sep 10, 2018
Crime + Punishment (2018)
If the movie has a still point inside it-an unassailable conclusion-it's that justice and the law are not the same thing.
Posted Aug 30, 2018
Men, Women & Children (2014)
Men, Women, & Children curates the world of technology into a tiny sliver of only the most outlandishly evil elements, and pretends that perspective is reason for despair.
Posted Aug 24, 2018
Centineo performs a type of compassionate male energy that is in short supply in movies at the moment, but Lana Condor is undeniably TATBILB's star.
Posted Aug 24, 2018
The sixth movie in the Mission: Impossible series is a truly maximalist work of art. The plot is stupid but the stunts are terrifying, the tension vibratory, the muscles rippling. In short, it's a masterpiece.
Posted Jul 27, 2018
Three Identical Strangers (2018)
A lot is kept from the viewer, then parceled out in discrete chunks. The effect is of one of those long New Yorker-style pieces that blend storytelling with feats of reporting-the elaborate set-up that is a feint, to be dispelled in an act of revelation.
Posted Jul 5, 2018
Hannah Gadsby: Nanette (2018)
In Nanette we witness the shock of the new, a voice that dares to speak to this frustrating and often hideous cultural moment, a comedian willing to drop the act. I would call Gadsby a genius, but she would likely push back against that term.
Posted Jul 3, 2018
Sorry to Bother You (2018)
Both Riley and Get Out's Jordan Peele have recreated our world but cracked through with a surreal seam that makes its hidden evils unmissable.
Posted Jun 29, 2018
Too Big to Fail (2011)
Just a dramatized synopsis in which some noble cynics guard our citadel. It is hardboiled-instead of admitting that the egg just exploded.
Posted Jun 25, 2018
Although each Jurassic movie is fated to essentially repeat the same idea-oh no, dinosaurs!-this new era has come up with ways to surprise, terrify, and inspire, which is enough to keep the heart of the franchise beating.
Posted Jun 22, 2018
Incredibles 2 (2018)
The Incredibles 2 is an undeniable triumph, but it is also so keenly aware that it becomes exhausting.
Posted Jun 19, 2018
Ocean's 8 (2018)
Although this movie is fun, the subtraction of rivalry makes for a movie that is inevitably less riveting.
Posted Jun 12, 2018
The Tale (2018)
The Tale excels in these absurdist meta-moments, such as the scenes in which Dern and Nélisse meet up across time to deconstruct events as they happen.
Posted Jun 1, 2018
Mary Shelley (2018)
Elle Fanning as Mary Shelley is the movie's only real grace. She has been given a poor script to inhabit.
Posted May 23, 2018
On Chesil Beach (2018)
With such confident performers and such a strong interest in their characters' personalities, Dominic Cooke has made surprisingly good work of On Chesil Beach. You couldn't pay me to sit through it again, but that's Ian McEwan's fault.
Posted May 17, 2018
[Rachel] McAdams feels like an uncanny piece of casting, at least to me, who grew up nearby, though secular, in North London.
Posted Apr 30, 2018
I Feel Pretty (2018)
In what should have been a major breakthrough for this comedian, I Feel Pretty instead becomes a good idea totally hamstrung, gutted, eviscerated by poor writing.
Posted Apr 20, 2018
I Am Evidence (2017)
By producing and appearing in I Am Evidence, Mariska Hargitay is offering her own hand to viewers, and accompanying them into a world that might otherwise be too awful to countenance.
Posted Apr 18, 2018
A Quiet Place (2018)
This is a movie about the sound of fear, but it gives us a great deal more to listen to.
Posted Apr 11, 2018
Tomb Raider (2018)
I longed for [Daniel] Wu to return to the screen whenever he left it.
Posted Mar 20, 2018
A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
But this movie relied so heavily on the glinting plastic toolbox of CGI that the magic just never arrived. The kid in me left the theater sadly disappointed.
Posted Mar 8, 2018
Red Sparrow (2018)
We remain in suspense. We don't know who is hiding what from whom. The emphasis on styling reinforces this dynamic, but it also inevitably takes away from the kind of characterization that marks an actually good spy movie.
Posted Mar 6, 2018
With the sensibility of a very boring Downton Abbey and a political consciousness to match, The Young Marx is an insipid disaster.
Posted Mar 2, 2018
Annihilation's commitment to older psychoanalytic (and deconstructionist) models for the self and its inexpressible shadows makes this a readily accessible drama of emotion.
Posted Feb 27, 2018
The 15:17 to Paris (2018)
They're all handsome but just appalling actors. This disjuncture is impossible to forget while watching the film, and it's very uncomfortable.
Posted Feb 14, 2018
Black Panther (2018)
This is a movie whose political theory matches its stunning special effects.
Posted Feb 13, 2018
Golden Exits (2018)
These narcissists declaim their insecurities and grievances in the language of personal essays. What they're saying may be petty and small, but the rhetoric and imagery are transfixing.
Posted Feb 9, 2018
The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
In the end, the plot is disappointingly simple. The terrors of the first two movies are explained away in a summary flourish, and their mysteries neutralized. The script is not good.
Posted Feb 6, 2018
The Ramparts We Watch (1940)
We may be proud to be America. ... But these are just the times when we should turn away from any group of cheapjacks using such times and such high and noble emotions for nothing in the world but to sell their stinking little tent show.
Posted Feb 5, 2018
Posted Feb 5, 2018
24 Frames (2018)
24 Frames is a highly meditative work, and at some points maddeningly slow. The audio is beautiful, but in all but a few scenes the soundscapes are nonverbal. There are no words, no characters.
Posted Jan 25, 2018
It is not the sort of thing to be considered as a Work of Art: my point is simply that it is an exciting story told with more real movie art per foot than seven reels of anything the intellectual men have been finding good this whole year or more.
Posted Jan 24, 2018
The Final Year (2018)
It isn't, like [Don DeLillo's] novels, paranoid or funny or, despite its tragic surprise ending, full of dread. It is, like Obama himself, optimistic about the state of the world.
Posted Jan 18, 2018
We feel a tingle of anticipation that this picture is going to be handled intelligently. And it is.
Posted Jan 8, 2018
Sophie's Choice (1982)
In other ways the film is just as unsatisfactory as the book, because it's inseparably strapped to basic flaws. The story has no center, no protagonist. To whom does the action of the novel happen?
Posted Jan 8, 2018
Out of Africa (1985)
Meryl Streep is back in top form. This means that her performance in Out of Africa is at the highest level of acting in film today. Since she is Streep, it means that a return to form is not a return: she has realized a character utterly different.
Posted Jan 8, 2018