V.26 No.42 | 10/19/2017
Only The Brave
Hotshots fight fire with fire in true-life tragedy
Celebrating the bravery and brotherhood of cocky, good-looking American boys battling a nameless, faceless foe is Only the Brave’s job and it does so with a single-mindedness that makes it strong, tense and emotionally gripping.
V.26 No.40 | 10/5/2017
Erotic thriller or winking parody: sexy indie straddles the line
The softcore European erotica of the ’70s had a dark, cautionary edge to it, and Thirst Street carries this inspiration forward into its natural, horror movie extreme.
V.26 No.39 | 9/28/2017
Battle of the Sexes
Sporting flashback has a lot to say about gender, sexuality
Battle of the Sexes is about two people trying to figure out who and what they are—at a time when society is happy to dictate exactly who and what they are.
V.26 No.38 | 9/21/2017
Unvarnished memoir of the Boston bombings trades exploitation for emotion
Stronger is a refreshingly down-to-earth look at recent, real-world horrors that is neither “too soon!” nor too manipulative.
V.26 No.36 | 9/7/2017
Neither Wolf Nor Dog
Roadtrip through Lakota country is slow but sincere in its message
In Neither Wolf Nor Dog, a Minnesota-based writer travels to meet an inscrutable elder Native, to learn and tell his story.
V.26 No.35 | 8/31/2017
8 Mile goes to Jersey in beat-dropping indie drama
There’s just enough charisma and likability on display throughout Patti Cake$ to make you wish the man behind it were as interested in originality as he was in sentimental manipulation, crowd-pleasing formulas and rhyming insults.
V.26 No.34 | 8/24/2017
Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story
Portrait of unsung guitar god lets you doc out with your rock out
Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story provides an enlightening crash-course in the glitter-and-guitar-heavy glam rock era while simultaneously singing the praises of one of the music industry’s most talented hidden figures.
V.26 No.33 | 8/17/2017
Prison drama succeeds in making life behind bars look bad—which isn’t much of a challenge, really
Despite some committed acting and some gloomy cinematography, Shot Caller is far too melodramatic and drags its twisty story out far too long to have the solid, gut-punch impact it so desperately wants.
V.26 No.32 | 8/10/2017
Oddball indie comedy looks at the dangers of nostalgia and the joys of fandom
Brigsby Bear is a bit too self-conscious of the dorkiness of its main character and of the hipster profundity in his Quixote-esque quest, but the overall intent is sincere and openhearted enough to overcome the script familiarities and character tropes.
V.26 No.31 | 8/3/2017
Impolite BBC drama is bad romance at its best
Far too stark to call Gothic, way too bleak to call romantic, Lady Macbeth is a violent heartbreaker for those who prefer broken hearts to happy endings.
V.26 No.30 | 7/27/2017
A Ghost Story
Minimalist tale of life and death may be saying something, but it’s keeping awfully quiet
A Ghost Story is self-consciously arty and aggressively dull. If you cut out the scenes in which nothing moves, nothing happens and no one speaks, the entire film would be about 10 minutes long.
V.26 No.29 | 7/20/2017
Christopher Nolan goes to war in a heart-pounding, historical drama about victory in the jaws of defeat
Dunkirk expresses the panic, fear and sheer chaos of war better than just about any previous film.
V.26 No.28 | 7/13/2017
The Little Hours
Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza and Kate Micucci are naughty nuns in oddball literary adaptation
The Little Hours is a send-up of the absurd idea of sin and that human beings can actually give up their sins of the flesh, but Jeff Baena’s attentions are focused on the fact that cursing, drunken, fornicating nuns are funny as hell.
V.26 No.27 | 7/6/2017
Edgar Wright takes an eclectic cast on a high-speed joyride with the stereo cranked to 11
Baby Driver isn’t all testosterone-fueled explosions and physics-defying stunts. It’s a gritty, guns-and-bullets character study done with panache, skill and a slice of humor.
V.26 No.26 | 6/29/2017
Sam Elliott’s fictional career looks suspiciously like his real one in slow-going indie drama
In The Hero, what aims to be a self-referential, self-deprecating, late-career look back at regret ends up as a frustratingly predictable film with an overqualified, underutilized star standing front-and-center.