Advertisement

The Danish Girl Makes Transgender Issues Safe For The Oscar Crowd

Of all the adjectives to describe a movie, “well-intentioned” is among the least scintillating and most wearying. It’s why a lot of people have an aversion to so-called Oscar-bait— they’re the kind of films that pop up around award season to address important subjects in a respectful way, with the hopes of raising…

The Hunger Games Are Over, But Jennifer Lawrence Is Only Getting Better

1. It seems insane to think about now, but there was a time when everyone was worried about whether or not Jennifer Lawrence could pull off the Hunger Games films. Cast as Katniss Everdeen just a year after her breakthrough in Winter’s Bone, Lawrence was considered by many an undeniable talent but a little bit green,…

Carol Is A Beautiful Love Story, Starring A Terrific Cate Blanchett

In director Todd Haynes’ films, characters have to learn how to live in worlds that don’t suit them. In Safe, Far From Heaven and I’m Not There, his lonely protagonists often feel trapped by circumstance, unable to find any sort of real happiness because, deep down, no one around them sees things the way they do. Carol

The Cheesy Spectre Suggests That James Bond's Darker, Grittier, Better Days Are Over

1. There was a time not so long ago when the very notion of James Bond seemed ridiculous—as anachronistic as making a movie about Betamax players or pay phones. There were actual thinkpieces 10 years back about whether James Bond could exist in a post-Austin Powers world. Even Daniel Craig worried about it: “We had to…

The Peanuts Movie Is Faithful To Charles Schulz's Creation, But Still Gets It Wrong

Back in 1997, when L.A. Weekly critic Manohla Dargis gave a negative review to The Lost World, the hotly-anticipated sequel to Jurassic Park, she noted that not liking the movie was the equivalent of announcing that Christmas had been canceled to its fans. In kind, giving a thumbs-down to The Peanuts Movie is…

The Superb Investigative-Journalism Drama Spotlight Makes Competence Riveting

Inspirational true stories trumpet lots of commendable human traits—heroism, perseverance, compassion—but Spotlight may be the first to celebrate competence. Based on the 2001 Boston Globe investigation that revealed the depth of the Catholic Church’s coverup of clergy sexual misconduct, this straightforward, riveting…

The Political Satire Our Brand Is Crisis Isn't Nearly As Sharp As It Pretends To Be

Our Brand Is Crisis means to cast a harsh light on presidential campaigns, but it mostly just panders. The new film from director David Gordon Green (who’s done everything from George Washington to Pineapple Express) spends way too much time congratulating you for agreeing with its cynical perspective—only to later…

Advertisement

Spielberg's Bridge of Spies Is A Compelling Cold War Drama Your Granddad Will Love

1. Bridge of Spies is effective, efficient, compelling, smart and absorbing throughout, and I still couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. I think we’re starting to lose the Spielberg who was a risk-taker. The guy did exist, you know. After he won his last Oscar for directing Saving Private Ryan in 1998—a movie…

Child War Is Hell In The Gripping, Important, Only Slightly Disappointing Beasts Of No Nation

Beasts of No Nation is such a worthy, timely, thoughtful drama that the worst you can say about it is that it’s a shame it’s only good and not amazing. Adapted, shot, and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (who previously directed 2009’s Sin Nombre and the first season of True Detective), this immersive look at the life…