• Belfast

    Belfast

    ★★★★½

    Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, the director’s semi-autobiographical tale of growing up in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s, is a vibrant, warm and evocative film. It’s currently poised as a major contender for this year’s Best Picture Oscar, and it’s easy to see why – it’s an upbeat and jubilant affair with memorable performances and striking black-and-white cinematography.

    Buddy (Jude Hill) lives with his parents Ma (Caitriona Balfe) and Pa (Jamie Dornan) in a working-class neighborhood in Belfast. It’s the early…

  • King Richard

    King Richard

    ★★★★½

    I know some folks have dismissed King Richard as hagiography, but I was honestly surprised by how annoying Richard Williams is in this movie. His stubbornness yields mostly great results, but sometimes he's just flat-out wrong and off-putting - which is a lot more interesting to watch. Will Smith does an excellent job in rendering a complex portrait of this man. Also, as far as I can tell, every actor in this film can play tennis really well - it's fun to see the matches filmed in unbroken wide shots!

  • House of Gucci

    House of Gucci

    ★★★★★

    Sir Ridley is on fire this year!

    Some may fault House of Gucci for not going all-in on its soap opera-y potential, but Scott knows the narrative is strong enough without such flourishes. That being said, House of Gucci is still quite a bit of fun, with each actor clearly relishing the opportunity to go big (Jared Leto is basically a cartoon in this movie, and I mean that as a compliment). Adam Driver and Al Pacino bring emotional gravitas…

  • Dopesick

    Dopesick

    ★★★★★

    Really engrossing and infuriating material.

    Dopesick also showed me something I hadn’t seen before - an addict (Michael Keaton) in rehab genuinely nervous that the program won’t work, that he’ll get out and just start using again. He sees how many of these addicts are there for their third or fourth time, and it makes him antsy - and his eventual relapse feels almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. He’s given permission, in a sense, to start using again - because…

  • C'mon C'mon

    C'mon C'mon

    ★★★★★

    Absolutely lovely. C’mon C’mon is the kind of film to get lost in, with its series of small moments resulting in a cumulative power that’s hard to shake after leaving the cinema. Mike Mills is three-for-three after Beginners (2011) and 20th Century Women (2016), and Joaquin Phoenix is utterly beguiling. His relationship with his nephew (a wonderful Woody Norman) is heartwarming in its sincerity.

    This is an opening day kind of movie for me, and the experience felt like a big hug. I look forward to going back to the cinema again for that same feeling.

  • Blade Runner 2049

    Blade Runner 2049

    ★★★★★

    It’s amazing how one can remember spatial geography in a film. I had such a strong sense memory of the scene in which Gosling uncovers the wooden horse in the orphanage - I could recall the exact location of the furnace almost too well. It was as if the memory had been... implanted. Yes, this film is about that very thing - the precise nature of our memories, and the certainty that we've lived and experienced things. But have we?…

  • Ron's Gone Wrong

    Ron's Gone Wrong

    ★★★

    20th Century Studios and Locksmith Animation’s Ron’s Gone Wrong is a pleasant, diverting family film that’s almost entirely about smartphone culture. If this movie had been released twenty years ago, it’d absolutely mystify everyone on planet Earth – and even now, I wonder how someone who has never owned a smartphone would react to it. I don’t mean to indicate that Ron’s Gone Wrong endorses living one’s life in front of a screen – in fact, it’s a pretty direct…

  • Last Night in Soho

    Last Night in Soho

    ★★★★★

    A second viewing really added to the experience on this one. The first time around, I was startled and disturbed by the film's excellent depiction of London's seedy underbelly, particularly in a mid-movie sequence that cuts beneath the glamour of the dance floor and puts the full ugliness of this world on display.

    I was less certain on first viewing exactly where Wright was taking us, at least for the film's first half. Watching it again, I delighted in picking…

  • Spencer

    Spencer

    ★★★★★

    Everything about Spencer is remarkable - Kristen Stewart’s lead performance, Jonny Greenwood’s jazzy score, the hallucinatory sequences involving Anne Boleyn, the claustrophobic design of the Overlook Hotel-esque royal estate - coalescing into a film much more idiosyncratic and interesting than a run-of-the-mill Princess Diana biopic.

  • The Velvet Underground

    The Velvet Underground

    ★★★★★

    Haynes offers a characteristically unconventional and impressionistic portrait of this one-of-a-kind band and the surrounding New York art scene of the 1960s. Prepare to be overwhelmed by the staggering amount of overlapping archival footage from the premier musicians, filmmakers and poets of the era, which fuse together into more of a tone poem than a documentary. But that’s the point - just as with I’m Not There, Haynes knows the form of his film should reflect the spirit of its…

  • Mass

    Mass

    ★★★★★

    Remarkably well-done. I’m sure it says something about me that this is the movie I chose to see after having a stent removed. Kidney stones are awful, but not as awful as what the characters in this film are going through.

  • The French Dispatch

    The French Dispatch

    ★★★★★

    Wes Anderson's The French Dispatch is the only movie I can recall that’s structured in the form of a literary magazine (complete with an opening obituary, an on-the-town briefing by a cycling Owen Wilson, and three feature stories from noted Dispatch journalists). Heck, there's even a cartoon section near the end of the film. Above all, this is a moving love letter to a rag-team group of expatriates who have found a home abroad in Ennui-sur-Blasé, France - far away…