The 2022 Oscars are almost upon us, and critic Joshua Ray has emerged from his binge-watching with his annual rankings of the Best Picture nominees:
Review: 'Lingui, The Sacred Bonds'
Chadian writer-director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's new feature, Lingui, The Sacred Bonds, follows a single mother's efforts to help her 15-year-old daughter obtain an illegal abortion. Critic Andrew Wyatt has a review of the film, which is now available to stream from MUBI:
Review: 'The Batman'
The Batman, director Matt Reeves' dark, stylish take on the Caped Crusader, is now playing in theaters. Critic Collin Preciado has a review:
Review: 'Lucy and Desi'
Comedian Amy Poehler has a new documentary premiering on Amazon Prime tomorrow, Lucy and Desi. Critic Kayla McCulloch has a review of this portrait of entertainment icons Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz:
The latest horror feature from DIY filmmakers the Adams family -- Toby Poser, John Adams, Lulu Adams, and Zelda Adams -- arrives on Shudder on Thursday. Critic Andrew Wyatt has a review:
Review: 'Marry Me'
Director Cat Koiro's new rom-com Marry Me, starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson, is now playing in theaters and streaming on Peacock Premium. Critic Kayla McCulloch has a review:
Review: 'A Banquet'
Ruth Paxton's debut feature, the psychological horror film A Banquet, premieres on VOD tomorrow. Critic Andrew Wyatt has a review:
Review: 'I Want You Back'
Jason Orley's new romantic comedy I Want You Back is now available on Amazon Prime. Critic Kayla McCulloch has a review, just in time for Valentine's Day:
Review: 'Catch the Fair One'
Josef Kubota Wladyka's brutal indie thriller Catch the Fair One premieres on VOD on Friday. Critic Andrew Wyatt has a review:
Review: 'The Fallout'
Writer-director Megan Park's debut feature The Fallout is now streaming on HBO Max. Critic Collin Preciado has a review:
Review: 'Charli XCX: Alone Together'
The new documentary Charlie XCX: Alone Together chronicles the creation of the singer-songwriter's LP How I’m Feeling Now in just six weeks during California's 2020 pandemic lockdown. Critic Kayla McCulloch has a review of the film, which is now streaming on Hulu and available to rent on other platforms:
Review: 'We Need to Talk About Cosby'
We Need to Talk About Cosby, W. Kamau Bell's four-part documentary on the legacy and crimes of "America's Dad", premiered on Showtime on Sunday. Critic Andrew Wyatt has a review:
Dispatch from the 2022 Sundance Film Festival
Critic Kayla McCulloch checks in from Sundance with reviews of three new features, After Yang, TikTok, Boom., and Summering:
The Lens Recommends: 'Yellowjackets'
Showtime's twisty new horror-thriller Yellowjackets just concluded its first season. Critic Andrew Wyatt looks at how the show smartly builds on two decades of hard-won Prestige TV lessons:
Review: 'Parallel Mothers'
The new drama from acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, Parallel Mothers, is now playing in select local theaters. Critic Joshua Ray has a review:
Review: 'Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes'
Junta Yamaguchi's one-take micro-budget sci-fi comedy Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes -- which was a crowd-pleaser at last year's Fantastic Fest -- arrives on VOD on Tuesday. Critic Andrew Wyatt has a review:
Review: 'The Whaler Boy'
Russian writer-director Philipp Yuryev's coming-of-age feature, The Whaler Boy, is available for rental tomorrow via virtual cinemas and other VOD platforms. Critic Andrew Wyatt has a review:
The Best Films of 2021
Our regular contributors at The Lens -- Kayla McCulloch, Joshua Ray, and Andrew Wyatt -- have assembled a list of their favorite films of 2021. No rankings here: Just a curated list of 30 excellent films that made 2021 a standout year for cinema. Adjust your Watchlists accordingly.
Review: 'A Hero'
Acclaimed director Asghar Farhadi's new drama A Hero screened this past November at SLIFF, and tomorrow it opens in select local theaters. Critic Kayla McCulloch has a review of the master Iranian filmmaker's latest:
Review: 'The Matrix Resurrections'
After 18 years, it's time to re-enter the Matrix. Critic Andrew Wyatt has a review of Lana Wachowski's The Matrix Resurrections, opening in theaters tomorrow and simultaneously available to steam from HBO Max.
Review: 'Nightmare Alley'
Director Guillermo del Toro's remake / re-adaptation of the classic noir Nightmare Alley opens in theaters on Friday. Critic Andrew Wyatt has a review:
Review: 'Being the Ricardos'
Aaron Sorkin's Being the Ricardos is now playing in select theaters, and will be available to stream from Amazon Prime on December 21. At The Lens, critic Kayla McCulloch has a review:
Review: 'West Side Story'
Steven Spielberg's long-awaited adaptation of West Side Story finally opens in theaters today. At the Lens, critic Joshua Ray has a review:
Benedetta, Paul Verhoeven's long-awaited period drama about lesbian nuns in Renaissance Italy, finally opens in theaters tomorrow. Critic Andrew Wyatt has a review:
Review: 'El Planeta'
Amalia Ulman's debut feature El Planeta screens at the Webster University Film Series tomorrow. (One night only!) Critic Kayla McCulloch has a review of this tongue-in-cheek comedy about two women navigating life in a Spain that's still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis:
Why 'Deathloop' Is the Game of the Year
Critic Andrew Wyatt takes a timeout from SLIFF to praise his favorite game of 2021, Arkane Studios' puzzle-box shooter, Deathloop. He calls it the "perfectly shaken whiskey sour" of AAA video games, and attempts to unpack why its design feels so fantastic:
SLIFF Spotlight: 'Skies of Lebanon'
As the final week of SLIFF rolls on, critic Kayla McCulloch spotlights another recommendation from this year's festival lineup: Chloé Mazlo's tone-, style-, and genre-hopping romantic drama, The Skies of Lebanon. Screening Thursday night!
SLIFF Spotlight: 'Eyimofe (This Is My Desire)'
Critic Andrew Wyatt spotlights an under-the-radar gem from this year's SLIFF lineup: Arie and Chuko Esiri's unconventional immigrant story, Eyimofe (This Is My Desire). Screening this Saturday at 12:30 p.m.!
SLIFF Spotlight: 'The Woman Who Ran'
Critic Andrew Wyatt spotlights another recommendation from this year's SLIFF lineup: Hong sang-soo's lean but deceptively rich drama, The Woman Who Ran. Screening Friday night!
SLIFF Spotlight: '18 ½'
Critic Kayla McCulloch spotlights another narrative feature at this year's St. Louis International Film Festival: Dan Mirvish's alternate-history screwball comedy, 18 ½. The film will be screening this Wednesday night at the Tivoli Theatre.
SLIFF Spotlight: 'Perfumes'
Critic Kayla McCulloch has an appreciation for one of the highlights of this year's St. Louis International Film Festival: Grégory Magne's sensual romantic drama, Perfumes.
Director Scott Cooper's first foray into horror, Antlers, opens everywhere tomorrow. Critic Andrew Wyatt has a review:
Review: 'The Velvet Underground'
Director Todd Haynes' documentary The Velvet Underground is now playing in select theaters and is also streaming on AppleTV+. Critic Joshua Ray has a review:
Director Denis Villeneuve's long-awaited adaptation of Dune finally opens in theaters everywhere this Friday, and will also be available to stream from HBO Max. Critic Andrew Wyatt has a review:
Review: 'Bergman Island'
Director Mia Hansen-Løve's new drama, Bergman Island, opens locally today. Critic Kayla McCulloch has a review:
Review: 'Faya Dayi'
Director Jessica Beshir's debut feature Faya Dayi opened in select cities last month, and it will be screening nightly this weekend (Oct 15-17) at the Webster University Film Series. Critic Andrew Wyatt has a review: