Movie Reviews

The best isn’t Silence

New year, new movie releases: Hidden Figures, Train to Busan, and more

Hmph. Happy New Year, indeed. All y’all out there in movie-pass land had a chance to win tickets via the Reader to see an advance screening of Underworld: Blood Wars. But not us critics. Like ...


Scorsese’s painful piety

Silence isn’t golden. He may not be the hardest working man in show business — not with just one theatrical release every two years — but at 74, and with almost 60 features, shorts, and ...

The Middlebrow Monk's best films of 2016

Critical listicle!

Matthew Lickona here. One of the painful things about looking back over the year in reviews is you get an eyeful of your unfortunate overuses. I’m going to try to excise “riveting,” “gripping,” and “fascinating” ...

Must-see movies of 2016

Top ten of the last year

10) Hirokazu Koreeda’s Our Little Sister At their estranged father’s funeral, the oldest of three sisters takes it upon herself to ask her little-known teenage half-sister — the product of an adulterous relationship that “crushed ...

Not with a roar, but a whimper

A fizzling end to a bang-up year of movies, including Passengers, Lion, and more

This is it, folks. Unless you know something I don’t, there will be no new releases next Friday, December 30. (Scott and I will take the occasion to post our two Top Ten Lists, which ...

Lion doesn’t roar

But Nicole Kidman delivers one of her finest performances

“‘Based on a True Story” has replaced “The Adventure Continues” as Hollywood’s most cringeworthy coming attraction tagline. Just because a narrative is rooted in reality doesn’t mean that its chronicler isn’t going to lie, cheat, ...

A welcome break from opera — super, space, or otherwise

A good week of new movie releases, including Jackie and Rogue One

The Wikipedia entry for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story calls it “a 2016 American epic space opera film.” There’s lots more after that, but let me pause for a moment. “Space opera?” As in ...

The emotional wallop of Jackie

Natalie Portman takes us through a cauterized grieving process

Individuals who have history thrust upon them frequently make the best movie subjects. Lawrence of Arabia, Melvin and Howard, The Last Emperor, Vera Drake, and many other cinematic profiles have done wonders with a passive ...

Jump into a bag of humor and death

Eyes of My Mother is unnerving

First-time writer-director Nicolas Pesce’s The Eyes of My Mother feels unnervingly like a Diane Arbus photo that’s been stretched into a film. Which is to say, it’s unnerving, a shadowy black-and-white (well, black-and-gray) image of ...

Warren Beatty’s latest film in ten years is not totally void of charm

Rules Don’t Apply to this guy

The trailer for Rules Don’t Apply, with its promise of one notorious playboy starring as another equally profligate real-life womanizer, set the bar high. You see, rules don’t apply to Warren Beatty. They never have. ...

Light is a kind of noise

A tale of Marks in the dark, plus new releases including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Curmudgeonly grouch Scott Marks has, like some kind of critical Sam Jackson, had it with these blankety-blank cell phones in the blankety-blank theater! Read all about it here, and then scooch over to his rapturous ...

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