• Here Today

    Here Today

    ★★

    A downbeat but aggressively heartwarming dramedy about the unusual friendship that forms between a widowed Jewish writer (Billy Crystal) and the newly single Black woman whose ex-boyfriend was his biggest fan (Tiffany Haddish), “Here Today” is the kind of movie that people don’t really make anymore. And by the time it’s over, there’s a good chance that even the most old-fashioned audiences will have made their peace with that.

    Which isn’t to say that Crystal’s first directorial outing in the…

  • Wrath of Man

    Wrath of Man

    ★★

    The weirdest thing about Guy Ritchie’s “Wrath of Man” isn’t that his new meathead heist movie tries to combine the tricksy plotting of “Snatch” (which he made) with the ice-cold steeliness of “Heat” (which he most definitely did not), or that the entire story hinges on the protagonist buying two burritos from the wrong food truck. It’s not that one of the major action set pieces is set to an industrial dubstep remix of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” nor…

  • The Paper Tigers

    The Paper Tigers

    ★★★

    The first thing you should know about Tran Quoc Bao’s “The Paper Tigers” is that his low-budget kung fu comedy — the heartfelt tale of three arthritic middle-aged Seattle men reuniting to avenge the murdered sifu who mentored them as teenagers — is often just as winning and delightful as you would hope from its premise. Unfolding like a silly-sweet cross between a Shaw Brothers classic and the kind of dad movie that USA Network might air between golf tournaments…

  • Mainstream

    Mainstream

    ★★★

    (this isn't a review of MAINSTREAM, it's a profile i did on the movie's fascinatingly weird star Andrew Garfield and his performance as "one of the most obnoxious characters in cinema history." but when you think about it, isn't *everything* kind of a review in some way? whoa. anyway here read this if you want Garfield is a fun trip)

    The big dildo was Andrew Garfield’s idea. It was a sunny afternoon in the summer of 2019 when the actor…

  • Cliff Walkers

    Cliff Walkers

    ★★½

    You never really know what you’re going to get with a Zhang Yimou movie these days. Then again, perhaps that was always the case to a certain degree. Once a leading light of the so-called Fifth Generation of Chinese Filmmakers, Zhang graduated from the Beijing Film Academy with the vision and confidence of a well-established auteur; his debut feature “Red Sorghum” won the Golden Bear at the 1987 Berlinale, paving the way for an unimpeachable string of contemporary social dramas…

  • Things Heard & Seen

    Things Heard & Seen

    ★★½

    It’s safe to assume any movie that opens with a quote from 17th century pluralistic-Christian theologian (and big time spiritualist) Emanuel Swedenborg has a lot on its mind, and so it’s no surprise that Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s “Things Heard & Seen” isn’t the straightforward horror story that’s suggested by its ominous flash-forward of an opening scene. Indeed, Swedenborg’s insistence that “things that are in heaven are more real than things that are in the world” hovers over the…

  • Tom Clancy's Without Remorse

    Tom Clancy's Without Remorse

    ★★

    Jack Ryan might fit right in to Amazon Prime’s streaming plans (Step one: be the content appendage for a dystopian-sized everything company. Step two: do whatever), but Tom Clancy’s entire brand of cloak-and-dagger “make your dad feel young again” spy stories has felt out of step with the film world ever since they nuked Ben Affleck at the Super Bowl in a desperate attempt to keep pace with the effects-driven spectacle of contemporary summer blockbusters. It’s too grounded, too small,…

  • Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train

    Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train

    ★★

    Despite arriving on American shores after unseating “Spirited Away” as the highest-grossing Japanese film in the history of its domestic box office (where it earned the lion’s share of its $415 million in ticket sales and remained atop the charts from the middle of October to the last week of January), the elaborately titled “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train” isn’t the kind of ultra-accessible multiplex fare that might be suggested by its blockbuster success. It’s more…

  • Mortal Kombat

    Mortal Kombat

    ★½

    It’s hard to imagine a more succinct illustration of how Hollywood’s relationship to “nerd shit” (for lack of a better umbrella term to describe comic book and video game-based intellectual property) has evolved over the last 25 years than a comparison between the opening scene of 1995’s “Mortal Kombat” and that of Warner Bros.’ inevitable new re-imagining of the gory arcade brawler.

    The original starts with the sound of a man yelling “MORTAL KOMMBBATTTT!!!” at the top of his lungs…

  • The Mitchells vs. The Machines

    The Mitchells vs. The Machines

    ★★★½

    One minute your kid is born, and the next — almost literally, for some of us — you start to panic about that inevitable moment somewhere down the line when this helpless little blob creature isn’t going to need you anymore. As soon as they start to crawl you’re confronted with the cold reality that you’re teaching them how to get away from you. Independence is both the goal and the curse.

    But while a certain amount of post-adolescent drift…

  • We Broke Up

    We Broke Up

    ★★½

    A wise and well-acted indie rom-com that’s almost mummified inside a mess of overly familiar sitcom tropes, Jeff Rosenberg’s “We Broke Up” eventually gets around to some pressing questions about the all-or-nothing framework of monogamous relationships — questions that it’s mighty refreshing to see asked in such good faith — but after 70 minutes of contrived plotting and broad caricature, there isn’t much time left for the movie to provide any meaningful answers for itself.

    The good news is that…

  • Memories of Murder

    Memories of Murder

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    ***this is an essay that revisits the ending of MEMORIES OF MURDER. it's all spoiler***

    Each film about (or even loosely inspired by) a real unsolved crime is shrouded in its own mysteries, but all of them leave behind the same lingering question: Would they retain their full power if their respective crimes were eventually solved? Would “Zodiac” still be such a haunting police sketch of pathological obsession in a world where viewers could Google the killer’s identity in less…