the-mitchells-vs-the-machines-movie

The Mitchells vs. The Machines

It’s hard to put into words the freshness that Christopher Miller and Phil Lord have brought to animated movies in Hollywood. Their efforts are a brilliant counter to the monolithic dominance of Disney and Pixar. TheirRead Full Review

Mortal-Kombat-2021-Movie

Mortal Kombat

We are living through the Tyranny of Origin Story. Back in the simpler, dumber year of 1995, the film version of Mortal Kombat was content in its ludicrousness, with bits of exposition treated as necessary evilsRead Full Review

quo-vadis-aida_-movie

Quo Vadis, Aida?

In one of the few calm moments from Quo Vadis, Aida?, our title character (played with perfection by Jasna Đuričić) is sitting with a doctor smoking a cigarette. They’ve just delivered a baby in a run-down UNRead Full Review

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Godzilla vs. Kong

Spoiler alert: Godzilla vs. Kong is bad. I don’t know who this will surprise, maybe no one. Anyone’s expectations for a showdown film between two of the movies’ most recognizable monsters (or kaiju – or “titans”,Read Full Review

the-united-states-vs-billie-holiday-movie

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

There has always been a contradiction central in all of Lee Daniels’ movies. There is a part of his films that strive for prestige, for mainstream recognition of black lives, good and bad. But Daniels’Read Full Review

the-father-movie

The Father

There are few things that Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) needs to be comfortable. Sitting in his flat, headphones plugged in, listening to classical music while wearing his favorite watch; this is all he needs to beRead Full Review

minari-movie

Minari

Watching Minari, I was reminded of Tolstoy’s famous line “each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. He is both suggesting an infinity of unhappiness while also alluding to a sort of snowflake pattern within eachRead Full Review

i-care-a-lot-movie

I Care a Lot

It says a lot about the state of comedies that I Care a Lot can call itself one. It’s not simply that the film is unfunny, but one would be hard-pressed to find a single punchline. TheRead Full Review

Nomadland-movie

Nomadland

The adventure of discovery has long been a major part of American mythology. Even after explorers and colonists reached the Pacific, large swaths of the American public are still pushed toward what’s next, what’s new, what’s out there. This isRead Full Review

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Judas and the Black Messiah

Early in Judas and the Black Messiah, Bill O’Neal (played with frantic perfection by Lakeith Stanfield), finds himself in a police interrogation room. He’s just been arrested after impersonating an FBI officer in a creative attemptRead Full Review

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One Night in Miami

In a way, One Night in Miami is its own kind of superhero movie. Its structure and tone are rooted in populist storytelling, history through the eyes of American titans. That it takes real historical figuresRead Full Review

pieces-of-a-woman-movie

Pieces of a Woman

Pieces of a Woman exists in the spaces between grief and explanation, examining the vacuum created by the arbitrary nature of tragedy. How does someone manage to simply exist in these spaces? Where all seems lost andRead Full Review

wonder-woman-1984-movie

Wonder Woman 1984

I’ve relented in my personal battle against superhero movies. They’ve taken over cinematic pop culture to such a degree that a pandemic-plagued year without them made the public feel like there were no movies atRead Full Review

soul-movie

Soul

Pixar’s skill for selling you sentimentality without making you feel cheap is unmatched in Hollywood. Their films offer platitudes about the affirmations of life and maximize emotional effect by zeroing in on humanity’s small beauties. It’sRead Full Review

ma-raineys-black-bottom-movie

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom opens with the image of two Black men running through the nighttime forests of the American South. As they journey through the thick trees they come upon some torches. Right at the momentRead Full Review

red-white-and-blue-movie

Red, White and Blue

Triumphs don’t come without great struggle in the worlds of Steve McQueen. His first three Small Axe films have been about spirited resistance in one way or another, but he flatly refuses to coat it in any romanticism.Read Full Review

collective-movie

Collective

There are moments in Collective that feel unbelievable as you’re watching them. One happens in the first ten minutes. Soon after a metal band finishes their set in a popular Bucharest club called Colectiv, a fireRead Full Review

mank-movie

Mank

Herman J. Mankiewicz was a movie character long before Mank. He was an invaluable supporting character within the grand epic of Hollywood’s Golden Age, a vibrant Falstaff during the height of the Classical Studio Era. HeRead Full Review

lovers-rock-movie

Lovers Rock

If the first installment in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series (Mangrove) was a tense procedural, the second is a loose dance party. Literally. A collection of people, ranging from teenager to young adult, meet in aRead Full Review

happiest-season-movie

Happiest Season

Harper Caldwell, played by Mackenzie Davis in Happiest Season, is a Christmas person. She enjoys holiday rituals, gaudy home decorations, and white elephant gift exchanges. A major aspect of the Christmas person’s life is the Christmas movie,Read Full Review

hillbilly-elegy-movie

Hillbilly Elegy

J.D. Vance’s memoir Hillbilly Elegy kicked off a literary trend in 2016 of nonfiction books meant to reconcile the plight of lower class whites in America. These books were liberal olive branches to poor white communities, ravagedRead Full Review

mangrove-movie

Mangrove

If you feel like the disparity between movies and television has shrunken, then Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series is a stunning example of it. The series is composed of five feature films, independent from one another inRead Full Review

the-life-ahead-movie

The Life Ahead

Keeping track of all the clichés used in The Life Ahead can be tiresome. Perhaps, you could turn it into a drinking game, if you wanted to add a dose of excitement that you certainly wouldn’tRead Full Review

on-the-rocks-movie

On The Rocks

The dynamics of a complicated father-daughter relationship lay at the heart of Sofia Coppola’s latest film, On The Rocks. On the one end, we have a beacon of New York City liberal motherhood played by RashidaRead Full Review

borat-subsequent-moviefilm-movie

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Shock value, in and of itself, isn’t Sacha Baron Cohen’s main interest, though his notorious interviews often leave his subjects hapless and compromised in ways that can make your jaw drop. Exposing hypocrisies throughout theRead Full Review

the-trial-of-the-chicago-7-movie

The Trial of the Chicago 7

The reason historical period drama is such a popular prestige genre is that it can be either nostalgic or aspirational, pleasing a broad audience no matter what their predispositions may be. That is true of The TrialRead Full Review

dick-johnson-is-dead-movie

Dick Johnson is Dead

Attention is Kirsten Johnson’s specialty. Her 2016 film, Cameraperson, was a masterpiece of attention, a collection of footage shot over a decades of a career as a documentary cinematographer. Johnson called the film a memoir, a life’sRead Full Review

tesla-movie

Tesla

Near the beginning of Tesla, the film’s narrator quantifies Nikola Tesla’s legacy in its simplest terms: through its Google search results. He has over thirty-four million results, we’re told, including a multitude of variations on the same fourRead Full Review

MLK-FBI-movie

MLK/FBI

MLK/FBI is being broadcast virtually as part of the 58th New York Film Festival, and was available to rent and stream through the virtual theater at the Film Society at Lincoln Center The declassification of FBI filesRead Full Review

le-bonheur-movie

Le bonheur

Films as dark and subversive as Le bonheur are not usually so beautiful. Drenched in a rich, chromatic palette and played to the tune of twee renditions of Mozart (played by Jean-Michel Defaye), the third feature fromRead Full Review

Satantango-movie

Sátántangó

The characters in Sátántangó are used to persevering through brutal conditions. The rain never stops, the sky a permanent overcast grey which promises no hope for warmth or light. Their homes are crumbling and dilapidated, their belongingsRead Full Review

i'm-thinking-of-ending-things-movie

I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Without the filter of directors like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry, the screenplays of Charlie Kaufman can have an unfiltered quality, as the despair so central to his stories becomes much less palatable. Directing his own scripts,Read Full Review

Cane-River-movie

Cane River

The restoration and re-release of Cane River in 2018 brought independent director Horace B. Jenkins’s film to many who had not heard of it before. Jenkins’s death in 1982 occurred shortly after the film was finished, which stuntedRead Full Review

an-elephant-sitting-still-movie

An Elephant Sitting Still

Place Hu Bo among the ranks of the tragic artists, the ones lost well before we were prepared to see them to go. An Elephant Sitting Still is his only feature film. He committed suicide in 2017Read Full Review

young-ahmed-movie

Young Ahmed

The tenderness of the films from the Dardenne brothers are usually contrasted by worlds offset by calamity. Their characters are often forced into inherently unfair circumstances that are made worse by their suspect judgment and poorRead Full Review

walkabout-movie

Walkabout

The human race has a fraught relationship with the natural world. We have taken much more than it was ever meant to give. We’ve given ourselves rules, and placed ourselves in a society to maintainRead Full Review

First-Cow-movie

First Cow

The opening image of First Cow is of a massive cargo ship gingerly easing its way down a peaceful river. The ship itself is not peaceful, it’s loud and lumbering, but it’s far enough away toRead Full Review

mr-arkadin-movie

Mr. Arkadin

Stories that circle behind the production of Mr. Arkadin are deliciously Welles-ian. An unfinished film, pieced together by the cineastes who adored him, with a convoluted plot that is rescued by inventive filmmaking. What more canRead Full Review

the-truth-movie

The Truth

Familial tensions abound throughout the films of Hirokazu Kore-eda. Children are often suffering the burdens of disgruntled parents, as the pride of adulthood grinds uncomfortably against the pure innocence of youth. The Truth is his firstRead Full Review

palm-springs-movie

Palm Springs

Palm Springs has an exquisite first act. If you’ve happened to watch the trailer for this film then you already know the movie’s big reveal, but caught unawares, the first ten minutes is especially effective.Read Full Review

merry-christmas-mr-lawrence-movie

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

Aside from being one of the preeminent rock stars of the Twentieth Century, David Bowie proved to be a rather talented actor. His roles are few – on several occasions, he was simply asked toRead Full Review

never-rarely-sometimes-always-movie

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

“Are you abortion minded?” This question is asked early in the film Never Rarely Sometimes Always by a middle-aged woman at a women’s clinic in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. The question is being posed to a seventeen year-old named Autumn (SidneyRead Full Review

The-Watermelon-Woman-movie

The Watermelon Woman

An experimental filmmaker by trade, Cheryl Dunye’s feature debut, The Watermelon Woman, has very little interest in perpetuating mainstream filmmaking sensibilities. Her fusion of documentary and narrative, as well as her inclusion of metafictional aspects should alienateRead Full Review

eight-hours-dont-make-a-day-movie

Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day

In about thirteen years, Rainer Werner Fassbinder directed over forty feature films before dying of a drug overdose at the age of thirty-seven. This doesn’t include his ambitious television projects which includes that gargantuan Berlin Alexanderplatz,Read Full Review

da-5-bloods-movie

Da 5 Bloods

Watching Spike Lee’s movies, you can see that he views film history as a legitimate form of American history. Consider the way BlacKKKlansman opens with segments from Gone With The Wind, extolling the power of cinema while alsoRead Full Review

the-lovebirds-movie

The Lovebirds

A common refrain you may find yourself saying while watching The Lovebirds is “Why isn’t this funnier?”. You won’t ask this maliciously, after all, you have a lot of goodwill towards its two stars, Issa RaeRead Full Review

the-french-lieutenants-woman-movie

The French Lieutenant’s Woman

The legend of Streep having grown to such gargantuan proportions, she’s come to represent a very mainstream version of excellence. People think of her as an actress the way people think of Steven Spielberg asRead Full Review

taste-of-cherry-movie

Taste of Cherry

The words “In the name of God” open the film Taste of Cherry. It’s a modest but forceful title card that appears before we see any action. Not that there is a lot of action in theRead Full Review