Read up, before you pay $5 for a bucket of popcorn.
V.27 No.17 | 4/26/2018
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
V.27 No.6 | 2/8/2018
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Wannabe actor meets faded star in romantic memoir
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is happy to serve out its time as a teary-eyed, tragic romance played out in the long shadows of Old Hollywood.
V.27 No.4 | 1/25/2018
In the Fade
Cross-cultural crime drama puts a match to modern European society
There is power in In the Fade, and much of it comes from actress Diane Kruger. She holds nothing back, letting the grief, pain and anger of her character spill out onto the screen in tears and blood. Even in moments of quietude and stillness, there’s a keening sadness to her performance. Pay closer attention and you’ll notice a lot of the hot button issues writer/director Fatih Akin folds into this deceptively simple story.
V.27 No.3 | 1/18/2018
Latest war movie proves Hollywood is still soldiering on
Those inclined to see a movie about the unquestioned heroism of American soldiers (and cannily employing the word “strong”) will like the patriotic dustup of 12 Strong just fine.
V.27 No.2 | 1/11/2018
Call Me By Your Name
Languid romance withers under the Tuscan sun
Stripped of its postcard beauty and its academic pretensions, Call Me By Your Name is little more than a soapy, overlong melodrama.
V.26 No.51 | 12/21/2017
The Shape of Water
Peculiar romance finds the beating heart below the scaly surface of a misunderstood monster
Surrender to the sensual cinematic visuals and the humid air of sexual tension surrounding The Shape of Water and you’re sure to be swept up in its particular, peculiar tide.