• The Fabelmans

    The Fabelmans

    ★★★★★

    Unsurprisingly, I loved it.

  • Thief

    Thief

    ★★★★★

    The Caan Film Festival (belatedly) continues with Michael Mann’s Thief!

    I feel guilty for never having seen this movie in its entirety before, particularly given my Mann fandom. It’s not just the masterful Caan performance at the center of Thief - it’s the astonishing nighttime photography of slick Chicago streets and neon lights; the borderline abstract imagery in the safe-cracking scenes; the devastating portrait of a man’s idyllic future crumbling before his eyes; the utterly authentic depiction of an ex-con’s…

  • BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths

    BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths

    ★★★★★

    It’s the first Iñárritu film in seven years, so I had to see it in cinemas (during the brief nanosecond in which Netflix allows its prestige films theatrical play). And what a cinematic feast! There are images in this movie that will stay with me for a long time. Yes, one could argue Iñárritu has lost the narrative thread a little bit with this one (individual scenes are more dramatically compelling than others), but the overall experience exists somewhere outside…

  • Gangs of New York

    Gangs of New York

    ★★★★★

    This film is, as always, absolutely monumental. It's been almost twenty years since I saw Gangs of New York on its opening day in cinemas (Friday, December 20th, 2002 - I'll never forget it). I was a wide-eyed twelve-year-old experiencing something so exhilarating and enormous in scope that it made me fall even deeper in love with the medium of film.

    How did this movie not win - at the very, very least - Academy Awards for Best Production Design…

  • Aftersun

    Aftersun

    ★★★★★

    Aftersun Isn't so much about its individual scenes (though it does delight in recreating super specific fragments of childhood memory), but about the culminative power of the overall experience by the movie's end.

    On a scene-to-scene basis, I was trying to discern exactly how engaged I was by this movie. On the one hand, it's directly dealing with a lot of things I like to explore in my work - the nature of memory, a strained parent-child relationship, the rewatching…

  • Sam & Kate

    Sam & Kate

    ★★★★★

    World Premiere at the Austin Film Festival. This one has a lot of heart, and it's wonderful to see Dustin Hoffman back onscreen with such a meaty role. The poster and trailer make Sam & Kate look more generic than it actually is - there's a lot going on here, and I was particularly struck by the choice to make Spacek's character a hoarder. The peculiarities of her and Hoffman's characters make their dynamic a lot more interesting than what you…

  • Armageddon Time

    Armageddon Time

    ★★★★★

    James Gray’s latest film, the semi-autobiographical Armageddon Time, is exquisite. It’s the kind of thoughtful, sobering American drama that used to be commonplace during awards season. But, as has been the case with so many adult-skewing pandemic releases, the audience that would truly adore this movie is largely sleeping on it. Get out there and see this one, folks!

    I don't know if Armageddon Time will finally be the film that brings Gray into Oscar consideration, but the performances by…

  • TÁR

    TÁR

    ★★★★★

    Despite loving Todd Field's prior two films, I wasn't certain what I'd think of TÁR (as I wrote in my review of Vengeance, I don't really like seeing online culture depicted onscreen - and the early word around TÁR was that it tackled 'cancel culture' head on).

    Thankfully, this movie is beautifully and artfully made - and, more importantly, willing to wade into matters of moral ambiguity. We're never told how to feel about the title character, which is one…

  • The Banshees of Inisherin

    The Banshees of Inisherin

    ★★★★★

    Martin McDonagh's latest film is a nerve-wracking, dread-inducing masterpiece. Compared to some of the director's prior work (as both a filmmaker and playwright), there's relatively little violence in The Banshees of Inisherin - and yet it feels as brutal and uncomfortable as anything he’s ever made. There's something quite haunting about the spareness and simplicity of this film's story, which really boils down to a falling out between once-best friends.

    It's no accident that the Irish Civil War is happening…

  • Blonde

    Blonde

    The entire internet really wanted me to hate this movie, but I can’t say I did - though, frankly, I’m not entirely sure how to rate it. I was mesmerized by Dominick’s nightmarish vision, truly startled and unnerved by each scene, and quite moved by Ana de Armas’s performance. There’s some stuff in here that doesn’t work, and the film is undoubtedly three hours of nonstop pain and misery - but my God, what a stunning depiction of misery it is.

  • Amsterdam

    Amsterdam

    ★★★★★

    I knew I’d love Amsterdam, and I suspect a whole lot of folks who have been dissuaded from watching it (by practically every film critic and trade publication around) would enjoy it, too. After all, it’s a big cinematic gift with long, unhurried scenes full of movie stars doing marvelous character work, gorgeous cinematography by one of the best in the business (Emmanuel Lubezski), and perhaps David O. Russell’s most unfiltered expression of optimism in the face of cruelty and…

  • The Good House

    The Good House

    ★★★★★

    The Good House is a wonderful example of an intelligent, mid-budget film made exclusively for adults. It also offers well-written leading roles for two excellent movie stars, Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline, who must've jumped at the chance to headline a project of this quality and complexity. More like this, please!