4 Stars

Jackie Review

Jackie Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Jackie is a remarkable film that’s equal parts a devastating portrait of indescribable grief and a lesson on the nuts and bolts of myth making and legacy building. It takes place on a personal level — intimate, intrusive, uncomfortable — but it has national and even international implications. That scope feels appropriate […]

Tower Review

Tower Review

RATING: (4 STARS) On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman opened fire from the observation deck of “The Tower” at the University of Texas at Austin. Over the course of 90 minutes, he shot 32 men and women, killing 14. Earlier that day, he also killed his wife and mother at their respective homes. Tower, a […]

The Hateful Eight Review

The Hateful Eight Review

RATING: (4 STARS) There was some blood spilled at a Wyoming haberdashery some time after the Civil War. Well, a fictional Wyoming haberdashery, but still … boy, there was some blood. It’s the time and place of Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film, the very appropriately titled The Hateful Eight. The blood is nothing new in a […]

The Big Short Review

The Big Short Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Adam McKay is a tightrope walker. His latest film, The Big Short, is one of 2015’s funniest offerings. Its subject matter? The 2008 collapse of the American economy. McKay cut his teeth with Will Ferrell vehicles like Anchorman and Talladega Nights, which are both absurdist comedies with their own internal logics born […]

Carol Review

Carol Review

RATING: (4 STARS) You think you know what it is to want until you sit in stunned silence following two hours of Todd Haynes’ Carol. It’s a film about so many things, probably the least of which is the sexual orientation of its two lead (yes, lead) characters, star-crossed lovers played expertly by Cate Blanchett […]

Spotlight Review

Spotlight Review

RATING: (4 STARS) I wanted to open this review with some sort of flashy pun about how good journalism shines a light on the underserved or poorly treated in our society, and because this film is called Spotlight, it does a particularly good job at that. I couldn’t find the right quote, and I see […]

Mississippi Grind Review

Mississippi Grind Review

RATING: (4 STARS) A breathtaking rainbow at the start of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s gambling drama Mississippi Grind promises gold on the other side. Whether or not the film and its two lead characters — the permanently down-on-his-luck Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) and the naturally charming and seemingly care-free Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) — actually get […]

Odd Man Out Review

Odd Man Out Review

RATING: (4 STARS) It’s finally happening: Director Carol Reed is getting the recognition he deserves. Of course, it’s only 60 or 70 years too late to make a difference in his career. And of course, I’m only referring to the small (but sometimes deafening) community that goes nuts over things like auteurship, black and white […]

Mad Max: Fury Road Review

Mad Max: Fury Road Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Holy shit. Thirty years is a long time to wait for a new installment in a film franchise, but Mad Max: Fury Road overcomes this problem for a variety of reasons. Firstly, director George Miller simply doesn’t care if you’re familiar with what’s come before. He’s also smart enough to forge a […]

World of Tomorrow Review

World of Tomorrow Review

RATING: (4 STARS) It lasts just 17 minutes, but Don Herzfeldt’s World of Tomorrow packs more imagination into its running time than almost any other film I’ve ever seen. It’s a high-concept, low-sheen, utterly magical experience that, despite its brevity (or perhaps because of it), will certainly rank among my favorite films of 2015. Technically, […]

Sleepless Night Review

Sleepless Night Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Better than Bond, better than Bourne, better than Bauer, the new French thriller Sleepless Night sets a new bar for white-knuckle action movies. Taking place over a 24-hour period and primarily in one giant nightclub, the film is intense in ways no other has been in years. Vincent (Tomer Sisley) and his […]

Inherent Vice Review

Inherent Vice Review

RATING: (4 STARS) A stoner private dick, his manipulative ex-old-lady, her millionaire land developer lover, his scheming wife, her ripped kept man. A recovering dope fiend single mother, her missing snitch boyfriend, a black panther, a gang of Nazis, an maniacal actor cop, a maritime lawyer, a pot-smoking assistant DA, nose-picking FBI agents, and a […]

Interstellar Review

Interstellar Review

RATING: (4 STARS) I want to talk about how well-made Interstellar is. I want to talk about Hoyte Van Hoytema’s cinematography in director Christopher Nolan’s ambitious, awe-inspiring film; it’s remarkable. Stepping in for regular Nolan contributor Wally Pfister, Van Hoytema establishes an old-fashioned aesthetic full of shots of a decaying Earth and a quietly wonderous […]

Life Itself Review

Life Itself Review

RATING: (4 STARS) “A film like Hoop Dreams is what the movies are for. It takes us, shakes us, and make us think in new ways about the world around us. It gives us the impression of having touched life itself.” —Roger Ebert, 1994 There’s a really clever reflexiveness at play with the last two […]

Night and Fog Review

Night and Fog Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Alain Resnais originally didn’t want to make Night and Fog, and following its production, he suffered from prolonged nightmares. A viewer might experience something similar. It isn’t an easy task to sit down and consume Night and Fog, despite its mere 30-minute running time, and its disturbing imagery will leave that viewer […]

Die Hard Review

Die Hard Review

RATING: (4 STARS) There’s a reason why, 25 years after its release, John McTiernan’s Die Hard is such a ubiquitous film. There’s a reason why it’s been sequelized and duplicated to death. There’s a reason why, following it, Bruce Willis became a star. There’s a reason why it’s often named among the very best action […]

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