Movie Reviews

Read up, before you pay $5 for a bucket of popcorn.


V.27 No.25 | 6/21/2018
It’s not truly a “heist” until disguises are involved.
Courtesy of The Orchard

Film Review

American Animals

Genre-bending crime thriller incorporates documentary techniques in its true(?)-life narrative

American Animals intercuts interview footage of the real-life people behind the story with scripted scenes of the actors portraying them, but subverts the docudrama trappings.
V.27 No.24 | 6/14/2018
Yup, those are mountains, all right.
Greenwich Entertainment

Film Review

Mountain

This mountain is certainly high, but not very deep

Australian writer-director Jennifer Peedom’s rather bluntly titled Mountain could have easily expanded its title to Mountains: What Are They, and Why Are They So Popular?
V.27 No.22 | 5/31/2018
Solo: A Star Wars Story

Film Review

Solo: A Star Wars Story

The now-divisive franchise has fun with a propulsive prequel

Solo: A Star Wars Story, isn’t (and can’t be) all things to all people, but does just about everything it conceivably can to earn the praise of moviegoers.
V.27 No.21 | 5/24/2018
1945

Film Review

1945

Stark drama tackles postwar Europe’s Dirty Little Secret

1945 plays out as an inevitable march toward an unavoidable, dreadful confrontation. A bill is coming due, and there are a lot of people unwilling to pay up.
V.27 No.20 | 5/17/2018
Deadpool 2

Film Review

Deadpool 2

The Merc With a Mouth comes again

If you have no idea who freakin’ Shatterstar is, you’re still going to get some rock solid belly laughs out of Deadpool 2, but the deeper your knowledge of early-’90s comic books, the more you’re going to feel fan-serviced.
V.27 No.17 | 4/26/2018
You Were Never Really Here

Film Review

You Were Never Really Here

Art house action flick and its main character both feel bad

You Were Never Really Here enters the genre of cathartically violent shoot-’em-up story of emotionally wounded assassins and their doomed betrayers/targets but fails to provide an overall logic to the bloody proceedings.
V.27 No.16 | 4/19/2018
"Ice cream? ... My treat."

Film Review

Final Portrait

Artistic biopic revels in surface details

Final Portrait is a microcosmic chamber drama, an old-fashioned two-hander in which two characters meet, interact and part company. It rarely dips below the surface, but—like a great many works of art—it’s a fascinating surface, nonetheless.
V.27 No.15 | 4/12/2018
Back to Burgundy

Film Review

Back to Burgundy

Siblings resolve family strife over a glass of wine in a French dramedy that goes down easy, evaporates quickly

Back to Burgundy may not be complex, but the bottle is awfully pretty. Just don’t go into it expecting something other than perfectly palatable table wine.
V.27 No.14 | 4/5/2018
Isle of Dogs

Film Review

Isle of Dogs

Meticulously animated feature is a fantastic(al) journey

Akira Kurosawa’s scruffy aesthetic is undoubtedly what’s fueling Isle of Dogs’ creative engines. Feel free to discuss at length—over third wave, cold-brewed coffee, perhaps—whether Wes Anderson’s miniaturization of Japanese culture asks audiences to laugh with or at the stereotypes.
V.27 No.13 | 3/29/2018
The Death of Stalin

Film Review

The Death of Stalin

Stalin meets slapstick in brutally funny political satire

The Death of Stalin is a manic comedy with occasional doses of slapstick, with some of the bleakest gallows humor in recent memory.
V.27 No.12 | 3/22/2018
Loveless

Film Review

Loveless

Icy family drama will make you glad you don’t live in Russia

Loveless is a stark, dark, often beautifully bleak “feelbad” family drama wrapped around the hardened core of a procedural crime thriller. It is, in short, an extraordinarily Russian film.
V.27 No.11 | 3/15/2018
24 Frames

Film Review

24 Frames

Master filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami ruminates on time, art and image with final film

Abbas Kiarostami evidently began what became 24 Frames by speculating on great works of art. Paintings are designed to capture one specific moment in time. What, he wondered, happened immediately before and after those famous “freeze frames” that the artists chose?
V.27 No.10 | 3/8/2018
A Fantastic Woman

Film Review

A Fantastic Woman

Chilean drama examines grief and gender

A Fantastic Woman is a tiny character study of a film with an almost gut-wrenching impact.

V.27 No.8 | 2/22/2018
Black Panther

Film Review

Black Panther

Afrofuturist epic takes superheroics in a fresh direction

Black Panther stakes out its own unique territory, mixing the royal backstabbing and intrigue of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series “Game of Thrones” with the impossibly high-tech, glowing bodysuit action of Disney’s Tron.
V.27 No.7 | 2/15/2018
Have a Nice Day

Film Review

Have a Nice Day

Handcrafted crime film looks up at China from the animated gutter

Modern economic forces and old-fashioned crime collide in Liu Jian’s offbeat, Quentin-Tarantino-meets-Adult-Swim animation, Have a Nice Day.