Category: ★★★


The Shape of Water ★★★

The way in which Guillermo del Toro views his cinematic worlds is always fascinating, always captivating, even in movies as flat as Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak. It really is up to del Toro and his capacityRead Full Review


The Disaster Artist ★★★

I can’t speak to the artistic competence of Tommy Wiseau. I’ve never seen The Room and frankly, I don’t plan to. As for James Franco, I’d say that as a director he’s done very little toRead Full Review


Coco ★★★

Pixar is a genre onto itself, separate even from the rest of Disney’s animation enterprise. Their scripts are structural masterpieces, attune to the souls of children and adults alike. They’re the most consistently successful HollywoodRead Full Review


A Fantastic Woman ★★★

At one point, near the middle of Sebastián Lelio’s latest film, A Fantastic Woman, the film’s main character, Marina Vidal, is referred to, pejoratively, as a chimera. She does not react to the odd specificity ofRead Full Review


Last Flag Flying ★★★

Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying is about as good a movie can be with the acting talent it has. The film is based on a novel by Darryl Ponicsan (who co-wrote the script with Linklater) whichRead Full Review


Thor: Ragnarok ★★★

The Marvel Universe has moved past self-consciousness and gone straight to parody. Five years ago, this version of Thor: Ragnarok would have been called “Phor: I’m a rock” and it would have been produced and directedRead Full Review


The Killing of a Sacred Deer ★★★

Against my better judgment, I seem to always think Yorgos Lanthimos’ films are excellent. He’s incredibly meticulous in his dissections of human behavior. He seems completely infatuated with the seemingly casual cruelties that human beingsRead Full Review


Stronger ★★★

Outside of New York and Los Angeles, Hollywood films love no American city more than Boston. The New England area seems to show up a lot around Fall Movie Season, a favored symbol of American nobilityRead Full Review


Battle of the Sexes ★★★

The 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs is one of the most fascinating social occurrences in American history. A middle-aged retired tennis pro (Riggs) claims in strategically arrogant fashion that he could beatRead Full Review


Ingrid Goes West ★★★

Ingrid Goes West is a mental health melodrama cloaked as a social media satire. The film is such a treat because it functions well as both. As we’ve finally found a way to make ourRead Full Review


The Trip to Spain ★★★

Michael Winterbottom’s third serving of The Trip is more of the same, which is to say it is an absolutely delightful film, filled with hilarious riffs by its two stars, Steve Coogan and Rob Bryden. TheirRead Full Review


Landline ★★★

Landline is the kind of narratively messy, tonally skelter New York City indie I can get behind. The film reflects its characters who are all exploring various modes of misbehavior, sometimes uncomfortably so. This isRead Full Review


Baby Driver ★★★

What a treat Edgar Wright’s films are. His movies are solid testaments to the enduring beauty of cinema and impressive exercises of formal expertise. His filmmaking is so precise and kinetic, it’s seemingly a miracleRead Full Review


It Comes At Night ★★★

Trey Edward Shults has only been in the cinematic consciousness for a little over a year, after his first feature, Krisha, came out in the Spring of 2016. That film was so incredible in such a sharp,Read Full Review


Wonder Woman ★★★

At the end of Wonder Woman‘s first act, Gal Gadot’s superhero, Diana, is warned by Connie Nielsen’s Queen Hippolyta that the world of men is a treacherous place, and that “They don’t deserve you”. It’s notRead Full Review


Band Aid ★★★

Band Aid is getting a lot of good press because it was shot with an all-female crew. I couldn’t say whether this is actually the first film ever to do this (I would guess thatRead Full Review


Personal Shopper ★★★

The movie stardom of Kristen Stewart is a fascinating to examine. She’s spent this decade taking down the image of Twilight‘s Bella role by role, challenging herself as a performer again and again. Olivier Assayas’ Personal ShopperRead Full Review


Land of Mine ★★★

There is a sense of audacity in telling a World War II story with even a hint of German sympathy. Historical mythologies have encrusted themselves so feverishly to the point where its nearly impossible toRead Full Review


The Red Turtle ★★★

Studio Ghibli has been fascinating audiences for decades, mostly as the main export of Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki. Ghibli is usually synonymous with excellence within Japanese animation, but The Red Turtle comes from Dutch animatorRead Full Review


Silence ★★★

Say what you will about Martin Scorsese, and whether or not he still has his fastball, there are still very few directors making studio films on a large scale about harsh, complicated issues. Silence is obviouslyRead Full Review


Hidden Figures ★★★

Hidden Figures is a cinematic exercise in sincere good-heartedness. It’s a film that wants to be about race but never wants to risk actually challenging the racial dynamics of its audience. It’s safe and isRead Full Review


Things To Come ★★★

This is my introduction to the young French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve, and I must admit the introduction was made possible by Isabelle Huppert. Huppert, one of our greatest living screen actors, is such a splendid, brilliantRead Full Review


Moana ★★★

Disney veterans Ron Clements and John Musker are masters at the kind of low-stakes sweet spot that most family films aim for. Their films are sweet, deceptively intelligent and filled with the kind of good-heartednessRead Full Review


Miss Sloane ★★★

Miss Sloane aspires toward a place between Sorkinian intrigue and Mametian outrage, with acidic dialogue that dances the line between expertise and verbosity. The film is directed by John Madden who is a dependable, professional –Read Full Review


Loving ★★★

Films like Loving are not supposed to be this quiet. At times, it feels almost aggressively understated. When placed under the weight of racial injustice, cinema usually has the tendency to aggrandize, fill itself with aRead Full Review


Certain Women ★★★

I’ve worried that I don’t possess the kind of patience a viewer may need to sit through a Kelly Reichardt film. It’s not that her films are bad or even boring. They always contain aRead Full Review


Aquarius ★★★

A film like Aquarius – a patient, thoughtful film that takes on a wide variety of themes including gentrification, mortality and gender – is something to be cherished. Is it perhaps too long? Definitely. Kleber MendoncaRead Full Review


Other People ★★★

Other People is the kind of Sundance-y tragicomedy that has the capacity to really produce a heavy duty eye-roll from me, but Chris Kelly (a comedy writer for Saturday Night Live and Broad City) does deliver someRead Full Review


The Light Between Oceans ★★★

Derek Cianfrance’s The Light Between Oceans is probably too long. It’s probably too dependent on overwrought emotion, manipulating its audience with tight close-ups of its beautiful cast crying with forlorn pain. But the film reached me.Read Full Review


Don’t Breathe ★★★

The emergence of the prestige horror film this decade has allowed very strong filmmakers to work within a genre that’s cheap, prolific and comes with a guaranteed audience. Sam Raimi gave Uruguayan director his commercialRead Full Review


Kubo and the Two Strings ★★★

If Pixar has stood out amongst animation studios for its unmatched critical and commercial success, than Laika has also stood out, for its dogged dedication to the labor-intensive art of stop-motion animation. Travis Knight hasRead Full Review


Don’t Think Twice ★★★

Mike Birbiglia’s transformation from cult favorite stand-up comic to filmmaker makes a little bit more sense than Louis CK’s. Birbiglia’s comedy was always more story-oriented, more of a one-man show than a traditional comedy set.Read Full Review


Ghostbusters ★★★

Grounded in the shockingly politicized release of Paul Feig’s remake of Ghostbusters is this cold truth: we didn’t need a remake ofGhostbusters. That said, we also didn’t need a remake of Point Break, Annie and we CERTAINLYRead Full Review


Captain Fantastic ★★★

The most foolish aspect of the early-decade McConaissance (which inexplicably ended with the Academy giving him an Oscar for the vapid, polarizing Dallas Buyers Club), was that everything we were drooling over – the earthyRead Full Review


Our Kind of Traitor ★★★

The literature of John le Carré has long been a favorite of film studios. His stories of espionage and betrayal are always ripe with character and complex plotlines that weave together brilliantly, almost too conveniently,Read Full Review


Finding Dory ★★★

Pixar’s masterful run through the Aughts began with Andrew Stanton’s Finding Nemo, which managed to capture the pitch-perfect blend of wit and heart of the first two Toy Story films but put it on a muchRead Full Review


The Nice Guys ★★★

There are few screenwriter success stories that are passed around more than the tale of Shane Black. The man who wrote Lethal Weapon and gained himself a reputation as one of the most dependable scribes ofRead Full Review


The Meddler ★★★

What a wonderful film The Meddler is. A bittersweet comedy about love, grief and the type of agonizing familial relationships that fill you with guilt and dread. Susan Sarandon stars as Marnie, a Brooklynite widow livingRead Full Review


Midnight Special ★★★

Midnight Special is Jeff Nichols’ fourth feature. To this point, all of his films are deconstructions of the American South; part commentary, part appreciation. He dissects the region’s virtues and prejudices, its insanities and its mythologies.Read Full Review


Hello, My Name is Doris ★★★

What a wonderfully sweet snack of a movie Hello, My Name is Doris turned out to be. Michael Showalter, of Wet Hot American Summer fame, gets behind the camera and directs only his second feature film, butRead Full Review


The Witch ★★★

Robert Eggers’ feature film debut is a brooding, fierce little film that takes pains to tell us that its setting, story and dialogue are based on actual accounts from the time. I’m not sure The WitchRead Full Review


Hail, Caesar! ★★★

The Coen Brothers are the San Antonio Spurs of contemporary Hollywood. They do their work intelligently and efficiently. They get great work out of talent you wouldn’t expect. Very quietly, they have a resume thatRead Full Review


The Big Short ★★★

Previous to The Big Short, Michael Lewis books had been the basis of only half of a good movie: the terrible The Blind Side and the Sorkin baseball movie that wasn’t really about baseball, Moneyball. I’llRead Full Review

I’m Not There ★★★

Bob Dylan is one of the most mysteriously mesmerizing figures in twentieth century culture. His music, filled with jamming instruments and thought-provoking lyrics, has spoken for countless generations of listeners. There are so many peopleRead Full Review

Enchanted ★★★

When Enchanted opens, we see Princess Giselle; she is a cartoon and is summoning all her animal friends and expresses her wanting for “true love’s first kiss”. This is a statement that is repeated (frequently sung) throughoutRead Full Review

Into The Wild ★★★

Most of the charm of Into The Wild comes from the persuasiveness of Christopher McCandless. Chris is an adventurous young man, just graduating from Emory University with great grades, and a full fund for his future yearsRead Full Review

Gone Baby Gone ★★★

Ben Affleck has spent his entire career heading huge pictures, and consistently getting pounded by most critics for lackluster performances. For the most part, he seemed not much more than a figure of “handsome man”Read Full Review