Movie Reviews

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


V.29 No.4 | 1/23/2020
“This one’s called ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia.’”

Film Review

The Song of Names

Historical drama plucks at heartstrings but buries tune

French-Canadian filmmaker François Girard knows a thing or two about the intersection of movies and classical music, having directed Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993), Yo-Yo Ma Inspired by Bach (1997) and The Red Violin (1998). His latest, The Song of Names, throws a bit of religion into the mix for good measure. While fitfully moving and occasionally profound, it is a concert whose prelude meanders on a bit too long, robbing the crescendo of its ultimate impact.

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V.29 No.3 | 1/16/2020
Dolittle

Film Review

Dolittle

Newest version of animal-filled fable does a little

Dolittle has just enough fantastical visuals and innocuous one-liners to appease the family audiences it’s aimed at.
V.29 No.1 | 1/2/2020
A Hidden Life

Film Review

A Hidden Life

Saying “no thanks” to Nazis

A Hidden Life paints a picture of times that are hard, but reminds us that solace, and even beauty, can be found in our own convictions.
V.28 No.51 | 12/19/2019
Knives and Skin

Film Review

Knives and Skin

Feminist thriller goes deep

Devote a couple hours’ worth of dedicated attention to Knives and Skin, and you’ll never see making meatloaf, giving books report or recycling tinfoil quite the same way again.
V.28 No.50 | 12/12/2019
Waves

Film Review

Waves

Teen drama burns off a lot of emotion and a ton of energy

Waves is a worthy effort in the end—even if the man behind it might want to expend a little less effort next time around.
V.28 No.49 | 12/5/2019
fungus

Film Review

Fantastic Fungi

Scientific documentary sings the praises of our fungal friends

Consider the humble mushroom. That’s more or less the premise behind Fantastic Fungi, a hagiographic documentary aimed at elevating the status of spores, molds and fungus. Don’t think that mushrooms are the greatest thing on planet Earth? Well, you soon will.
The Irishman

Idiot Box

Under the Gun

The Irishman on Netflix

Though long and slow, The Irishman is a consistently absorbing drama about one man’s life in crime and serves as an elegiac capper to the mafia myth and Scorsese’s career.
V.28 No.48 | 11/28/2019
Knives Out

Film Review

Knives Out

Old-fashioned murder mystery plays by the rules

If you like your mysteries done up old school, Knives Out is the genre-loving homage you’ve been searching for.
V.28 No.47 | 11/21/2019
Frankie

Film Review

Frankie

European idyll appears comfortable in first gear

Award-winning, non-Hollywood filmmaker Ira Sachs returns to theaters with all the trademark elements necessary for an art house drama in tow. His latest indie, Frankie, boasts a star-studded cast, an exotic locale, 90 minutes worth of dysfunctional family drama and a tone so low-key it couldn’t possibly overexcite its target audience of retirement age moviegoers.
V.28 No.46 | 11/14/2019
No Safe Spaces

Film Review

No Safe Spaces

Conservatives cry over “cancel culture”

If you’re terribly saddened by the idea of Ben Shapiro, Milo Yiannopoulos and the like not being allowed to host rallies for their drinking-age fanboys on a campus near you, No Safe Spaces is the film for you.
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V.28 No.45 | 11/7/2019
Pain & Glory

Film Review

Pain & Glory

Celebrated Spanish filmmaker offers “autofictional” story of celebrated Spanish filmmaker

Inward-looking and overwhelmingly elegiac in nature, Almodóvar’s Pain & Glory still manages to feel more like a life-affirming wake than a glum funeral—offering at least as much glory as pain.
V.28 No.44 | 10/31/2019
Jojo Rabbit

Film Review

Jojo Rabbit

Hitler was the funny one? Who knew?

Waititi’s gentle, big-hearted, humor-loving nature shines through from start to finish. If you can absorb the provocative joke at the center of it (Adolf Hitler as comic relief), Jojo Rabbit is a whole lot of wonderful in a very small package.
V.28 No.42 | 10/17/2019
Hatidze Muratova

Film Review

Honeyland

To bee, or not to bee: that is the question

Shot over the course of three years, Honeyland follows Hatidze Muratova, an older woman of Turkish descent who scratches out a living as a wild beekeeper, hiking dutifully up the cliffsides to capture wild honeybees and spirit them back to her traditional, cone-shaped beehives.
V.28 No.41 | 10/10/2019
Joker

Film Review

Joker

“Revolutionary” origin story reimagines itself back into familiar territory

For all its hype about focusing solely on the Joker, for all its controversy-courting, for all its dogged insistence on ignoring DC Comics canon in order to spin its own “new” mythology, Joker adds next to nothing fresh or original.
V.28 No.39 | 9/26/2019
Ice, ice, baby

Film Review

Aquarela

Water you waiting for? Global documentary looks into, around and under the wet stuff.

Aquarela, the new documentary from Russian filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky, focuses on water in its various Earthly forms—frequently frozen and immobile, but occasionally raging and tropical.