A new screen version of "The Call of the Wild" is calling to us; it's the Jack London story of a California dog named buck who goes native in the Yukon of the Gold Rush days. This time the dog is digital, which lends the film at least one distinction.
"Beanpole" is a new Russian drama directed by the prodigiously gifted Kantemir Balogov. The setting is Leningrad during the first autumn after World War II, and it's a profound--and profoundly beautiful--tale of two women who've been traumatized by the war.
The Harley Quinn of "Suicide Squad" is back in "Birds of Prey," though with a difference, even though she's still played, with skill and zest, by Margot Robbie. In the earlier film, a torture chamber for actors and audiences alike, Harley was a flamboyantly brutal criminal, rather than an entertaining one. She's flamboyant in "Birds of Prey," but joyously so.
Kitty Green's "The Assistant" is audacious in a deadpan way, a #MeToo drama that comes on like an HR video illustrating the responsibilities of an entry-level job. The heroine, Jane (Julia Garner), is a junior assistant to the chairman of the company. His name is not Harvey Weinstein. In fact he's never named, or seen. This is a story of sexual abuse in which the predatory behavior, like the abuser, remains behind closed doors, but increasingly obvious to the decreasingly innocent assistant.
Guy Ritchie is back, mostly for the better, in crime-caper mode with "The Gentlemen," a tale of criminal toughs and toffs in London trying to take down Matthew McConaughey's Mickey Pearson, an ex-pat American who's made a king's ransom growing marijuana in subterranean, tech-intensive farms under some of England's statelier homes.
“Dolittle” is the latest in a long, undistinguished line of movies about the veterinarian who can talk to animals. It doesn’t speak well for the film that one of its only affecting moments involves a stick insect that doesn't seem to listen and has nothing to say.
Log line. The Star Wars party is over, or at least a significant part of it. Forty-two years after George Lucas put the saga in motion, the Skywalker trilogy has come to an end with "The Rise of Skywalker."
Energy flows from anxiety in "Uncut Gems." You may be exhausted but you'll never be bored by Adam Sandler's astonishing performance.
"The Aeronauts" is in the Jules Verne vein of "Around the World In 80 Days," but on a slightly more modest scale. It's around and above London during a few hours with an intrepid pilot played by Felicity Jones and her scientist companion, who's played by Eddie Redmayne. Without giving away too much, I can tell you that the higher they go the colder they get.
It's tempting to say that "Knives Out" is the sort of movie they don't make any more, but they didn't make all that many way back when, because it's really hard to pull off a production of such startling quality. If there's a false note in it I must have been laughing or gasping when it sounded.
Tom Hanks is Fred Rogers, the children's TV host in "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood." The movie was made for grownups, of course, so sticky sweetness threatens at every turn. But the movie bets on goodness, and wins.
Movies about car racing sound like operas scored entirely for bassos. "Ford v Ferrari" fills that bill, but it also has significant things to say on a variety of worthy subjects. It's a great spectacle with a resonant soul to go with its smarts.
Every divorce story is a marriage story, but every movie about divorce is not on the level of Noah Baumbach's "Marriage Story." Marvelous performances, steel-trap writing that also manages to be heartfelt--it's a deeply affecting classic.
Here's an all-points bulletin about Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman." It's a huge movie, made to be seen on big screens, but it's a Netflix production that will be playing in theaters, and not all that many of them, only for three weeks. See it if you can before this genuine epic shrinks down to the size of a streaming attraction.
“Synonyms” is an Israeli film, set in Paris, with a hero obsessed with words. One word for it is astonishing, but other words apply. They include fascinating, infuriating, frightening, lyrical and befuddling. Plus deadpan funny and frequently stunning as a bittersweet ode to contemporary France, one that’s suffused with New Wave verve.
Three years ago Robert Eggers made his dark mark with a remarkable debut feature called "The Witch." Now he's back with "The Lighthouse," a horror fantasy in a dramatic and aesthetic class by itself.
Think about "Parasite" as a home-invasion story unlike any other. This funny, smart and genuinely profound social satire from Korea was directed by Bong Joon Ho, and it's one of the most original films in memory.
If you’re feeling insufficiently anxious in your life, “Joker” could be just the ticket. If not, look elsewhere to be entertained.
Renée Zellwegger plays Judy Garland with heart-stopping brilliance in "Judy." It's a performance that no one could have predicted, not even on the basis of her bedazzling portrayal of Roxie Hart in "Chicago." She sets the film on fire every time she sings a Garland classic in her own voice.
In the past few years there's been a very real invasion from Mexico--by remarkably gifted filmmakers. Now a woman named Issa López joins their ranks with an interesting horror film called "Tigers Are Not Afraid."
A remarkable documentary called "Aquarela" is about water--really and truly about water and its effect on the planet. The film makes the stuff almost palpable, as no motion picture I've ever seen before.
The Peanut Butter Falcon is a certified feelgood film that has no use for naked tenderness, disability sentimentality or full-frontal sweetness. Go in expecting the best and you'll come out smiling.
An interesting independent film called "Luce" is framed as a psychological mystery. It labors under more layers of significance than it can handle without falling into contrivance. Yet the dramatic core is strong: an exceptional young man—played by an exceptional actor named Kelvin Harrison Jr.--struggling to become whoever he really is.
Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood" seduces you, in the spirit of its once-upon-a-time title. Come along, it seems to say, you may have guessed where we're going but we'll have fun and some surprises along the way.
Disney's remake of "The Lion King" looks like the real thing--animation that simulates real life in astonishing detail. Whether we want animation to simulate real life is another question, but it's the crucial one.