luce-movie

Luce

Who is Luce? You can watch the entirety of Luce, the new film from Nigerian filmmaker Julius Onah, and not really have a solid clue. The title character from this film is a touted high schoolRead Full Review

once-upon-a-time-in-hollywood-movie

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino is now part of the Hollywood elite that he used to fantasize about. The very films and filmmakers that he used to skewer and homage are now his peers, even the dead ones. HeRead Full Review

the-lion-king-movie

The Lion King

I don’t think the existence of this “live action” (“live CGI”?) version of The Lion King means that Disney thinks it has improved upon the original 1994 film. That movie is one of Disney’s definitive masterpieces,Read Full Review

the-farewell-movie

The Farewell

Everybody knows that they’re going to die. This knowledge accounts for a lot in life; some good, most bad. Our daily existence depends on how much we ignore it, planning for tomorrows that aren’t guaranteed.Read Full Review

the-art-of-self-defense-movie

The Art of Self-Defense

The roles of men within The Art of Self-Defense are all dual caricature: frightened nancy boys and fierce, strapping burlymen. Even a dog, a small dachshund with sorrowful eyes, is framed as an anxious coward. Another oneRead Full Review

toy-story-4-movie

Toy Story 4

I remember a previous decade when Pixar was considered to be the best of the major Hollywood studios. The only mainstream film company interested in making consistently good films, who cloaked deep, moving stories withinRead Full Review

midsommar-movie

Midsommar

Ari Aster’s last two films – last year’s Hereditary, and this Summer’s Midsommar – are both bleak, complex stories about the human mind’s ability to process horror. Not simply odes to the horror genre (though they areRead Full Review

late-night-movie

Late Night

Late Night is a movie about a talk show host who is told several times to embrace political tension in order to make her show more relevant. It’s telling that the film doesn’t accept thisRead Full Review

wild-rose-movie

Wild Rose

The main character in Wild Rose – played with great charm and grit by newcomer Jessie Buckley – loves country music. A young Scottish woman just released from a twelve-month prison sentence, she is not yourRead Full Review

toni-morrison-the-pieces-i-am-movie

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

I fear that the audience for this documentary – a fantastic film which focuses on the life and impact of one of America’s greatest Twentieth Century literary figures – will not expand much further past fans ofRead Full Review

the-dead-dont-die-movie

The Dead Don’t Die

A legend within American independent cinema, writer-director Jim Jarmusch has gained that reputation because of his penchant for unique, often odd experiments in narrative filmmaking. His interest in examining characters or story is often missing,Read Full Review

john-wick-chapter-3-parabellum-movie

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

The mythology built within 2014’s John Wick felt so overwhelmingly refreshing. There was a simplicity to it: its protagonist was a ferocious man, known for being an unstoppable killing machine while also being equally un-killable. AndRead Full Review

booksmart-movie

Booksmart

The concept of ‘one crazy night’ high school films has become one of Hollywood’s greatest fantasies. It taps into the imaginations of different people and age groups, so it makes sense that they keep gettingRead Full Review

the-souvenir-movie

The Souvenir

There’s a gulf in The Souvenir that lies between the clarity with which the film views the troubled relationship at its center, and the ways in which its characters distort their reality to imagine a normalityRead Full Review

pokemon-detective-pikachu-movie

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Trading in on the kind of nostalgia that Pokémon Detective Pikachu shamelessly languishes in should be more of a turn-off than it ultimately is. The film is working overtime to generate feelings from 90’s kids (which, full disclosure,Read Full Review

under-the-silver-lake-movie

Under the Silver Lake

The lure of a movie like Under the Silver Lake – the new thriller-comedy from David Robert Mitchell, which is busting at the seams with LA noir allusions – is in what it denies its audience.Read Full Review

avengers-endgame-movie

Avengers: Endgame

If reducing half of your characters to dust felt like a radical way to end Avengers: Infinity War than its immediate follow-up, Endgame, will give you an even greater feeling of misdirection. From the very start, Endgame expertlyRead Full Review

long-days-journey-into-night-movie

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

This exotic, evocative opus that spins in and out of reality (and in and out of 3D), is the latest film from Bi Gan, the fearless Chinese director. His second feature, Long Day’s Journey Into NightRead Full Review

her-smell-movie

Her Smell

The pulsating ferocity of Her Smell comes on right off the bat. From the moment the film begins, we are sent on a journey through turmoil, through one person’s vices and insecurities. Its rock star protagonistRead Full Review

high-life-movie

High Life

Examining what it means to be human is a staple of more serious science fiction, but like most things that Claire Denis does, High Life‘s examination is slightly askew, purposely off-putting. This space drama has itRead Full Review

missing-link-movie

Missing Link

It’s refreshing to see a studio like Laika – a major Hollywood entity with corporate support that has a dogged commitment to creating unique entertainment. Challenging the other animation studios (**ahem** Disney) seems like aRead Full Review

the-beach-bum-movie

The Beach Bum

A film as wondrously joyous as The Beach Bum should not be taken lightly. Its unhinged enthusiasm and complete embrace of its absurd premise helps you to tolerate its overindulgence. Though it’s probably more accurate toRead Full Review

us-movie

Us

The ideas that Jordan Peele has brought to the screen in his first two features could be comedies, if they were twisted that way. Anyway, you can see how the man who created them wasRead Full Review

ash-is-purest-white-movie

Ash is Purest White

Violence and romance pulse throughout Ash is Purest White, the latest from A Touch of Sin director Jia Zhangke. Zhao Tao plays Qiao, a young woman in love with a gangster named Bin (Liao Fan). Bin, an intenseRead Full Review

captain-marvel-movie

Captain Marvel

Waiting this long to reveal a character as powerful as Carol Danvers could be seen as shrewd. Plenty of people have been clamoring for a woman-led superhero movie since as long as I can remember,Read Full Review

triple-frontier-movie

Triple Frontier

All four of J.C. Chandor’s feature films have come this decade, and they’re a kaleidoscopic display of a young filmmaker’s talents. Margin Call was a stripped-down talkathon about the financial crisis, while All is Lost is aRead Full Review

gloria-bell-movie

Gloria Bell

As far as remakes go, Gloria Bell is amongst the best that I’ve seen in a long while. It helps to have Julianna Moore – perhaps the best screen actor of her generation – and itRead Full Review

transit-movie

Transit

The last three films from Christian Petzold have examined the existential crisis of Germany in different forms. In Barbara, Nina Hoss plays a physician trapped behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany. In Phoenix, Hoss plays aRead Full Review

birds-of-passage-movie

Birds of Passage

You’d think the well had dried when it came to making unique films about the dangerous Latin American drug trade, but then you see a film like Birds of Passage, and it’s revealed how the realRead Full Review

never-look-away-movie

Never Look Away

  The story of Germany’s Twentieth Century is impossible to encompass in a single film, but Never Look Away certainly does try. Through the prism of art and the purity of expression, the latest film fromRead Full Review

high-flying-bird-movie

High Flying Bird

Chief among the charms of Steven Soderbergh is that it is never explicitly clear what even he wants from his career. He eschewed indie darling status (sex, lies and videotape) for Oscar-winning prestige (Traffic, Erin Brockovich),Read Full Review

shoplifters-jc-awards

The 2018 JC Awards

Best Director Gold: Lucrecia Martel, Zama Silver: Steve McQueen, Widows Bronze: Hirokazu Kore-eda, Shoplifters Best Actress Gold: Regina Hall, Support the Girls Silver: Ando Sakura, Shoplifters Bronze: Kayli Carter, Private Life Best Actor Gold: Ethan Hawke, First Reformed Silver: Tom Cruise, Mission: ImpossibleRead Full Review

velvet-buzzsaw-movie

Velvet Buzzsaw

Velvet Buzzsaw is the kind of Los Angeles satire that has several of its characters die excruciating deaths, but the most emotionally devastating part is another character having to pack her bags and move backRead Full Review

capernaum-movie

Capernaum

A film as harsh and hectic as Capernaum almost needs a child at its center, to remind the audience that there is still the possibility of innocence in a world that can be so filled withRead Full Review

free-solo-movie

Free Solo

There are many tragic versions of the events within Free Solo. The documentary mentions a number of them. The term “free solo” refers to mountain climbing without the protection of ropes, and this is the preferred hobbyRead Full Review

destroyer-movie

Destroyer

The hook of Destroyer – taking one of our best, most beautiful movie stars and dirtying her up – is an old one. We’ve seen it often, and awards have been won by actors both more and lessRead Full Review

vice-movie

Vice

The lumbering frame of Dick Cheney has always been a mercurial figure in the annals of contemporary Republican nastiness and wrongdoing. The buffoonery of figures like Trump and George W. Bush are easier to target, moreRead Full Review

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Best Films of 2018, Part II

1. If Beale Street Could Talk Directed by Barry Jenkins Making a follow-up to Best Picture winner Moonlight would have been a daunting enough task, but choosing to adapt James Baldwin is an especially courageous undertaking. TheRead Full Review

decentmaybe.2018.1

Best Films of 2018, Part I

As a film year, I would probably describe 2018 as incredibly deep, if missing those unmistakable masterpieces that define certain other years. Even last year, films like Phantom Thread and Lady Bird established an immediate enduring qualityRead Full Review

spider-man-into-the-spider-verse-movie

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

We don’t need a new Spider-Man movie. I’m not sure we ever have. The reason Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse works so well is that it seems to understand that. The film – which is produced byRead Full Review

cold-war-movie

Cold War

The stark, black & white world of Paweł Pawlikowski’s Cold War belies an incredible tenderness, a passionate love that perseveres over years and across countries on both sides of the Berlin Wall. This is not aRead Full Review

vox-lux-movie

Vox Lux

The ideas are aplenty in Vox Lux, as are the choices, very specific choices made by writer-director Brady Corbet and star Natalie Portman. The film – a histrionic take on the poisonous aspects of fame andRead Full Review

if-beale-street-could-talk-movie

If Beale Street Could Talk

The merging of Barry Jenkins and James Baldwin is as serendipitous as it is joyous, a wondrous meeting of historical talents. The Oscar-winning Jenkins could have made anything he wished after his second film, Moonlight tookRead Full Review

roma-movie

Roma

Alfonso Cuarón is one of maybe half a dozen filmmakers considered by many to be amongst the best living directors on the planet. He is the foremost figure in the trifecta of major Mexican directors,Read Full Review

ralph-breaks-the-internet-movie

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Surpassed by its sister company, Pixar Animation, in terms of prestige and trophies, the standard-bearing Walt Disney Animation studio has climbed back into equal footing over the last few years. Starting with 2010’s Tangled and culminatingRead Full Review

green-book-movie

Green Book

What does one make of Green Book? The film has won major prizes from the National Board of Review and at the Toronto Film Festival, but feels like a certified crowd-pleaser straight out of 1967. In thatRead Full Review

the-favourite-movie

The Favourite

Yorgos Lanthimos is always aiming to unsettle. It’s impossible to guard against the ways in which he reflects the horrors of humanity upon the audience, and it speaks to his strength as a storyteller that you needRead Full Review

widows-movie

Widows

I’ll admit to confusion when I learned that Steve McQueen – a filmmaker whose choices in projects lean more toward the conceptual and abstract – was going to make Widows, an obvious genre piece. That confusionRead Full Review

creed-ii-movie

Creed II

Creed II retreads on familiar Rocky mythology in ways that Creed rewrote it. This sequel is an act of simple reconstruction, as opposed to the first film’s deconstruction. Not only do Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed and SylvesterRead Full Review