A.S. Hamrah

A.S. Hamrah
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
A. S. Hamrah is the film critic for The Baffler. He also currently writes for Harper's Magazine, Bookforum, 4Columns, and Cineaste. He previously wrote for n+1, The Boston Phoenix, Suck.com, and In These Times.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
100% The Story of a Three-Day Pass (1968) It has a special place among 1960s movies-it is neither American nor French, but a unique example of filmmaking from the Black diaspora, with a particular, even fragile viewpoint and artistry. It stands on its merits as an excellent film. - 4Columns EDIT
Read More | Posted May 7, 2021
90% Promising Young Woman (2020) A major feminist statement in the form of a pop movie. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2021
89% The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) The Trial of the Chicago 7 is the worst film of the twenty-first century so far. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2021
75% Pieces of a Woman (2020) For me, the highlight of this overbearing mess was an awkward scene in which LaBeouf and Safdie had to improvise a lengthy conversation about the White Stripes. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2021
56% The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021) Day's Billie Holiday is intensely studied by Daniels and by cinematographer Andrew Dunn. Day meets the challenge of their scrutiny, with a debilitating intensity and glamour, and a sweet gravelly voice that is her own and the original's. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2021
82% Mank (2020) Yes, these flubs and inventions are an insult to Orson Welles, but that seems so minor to Fincher, who is doing the important work of demonstrating how images can be manipulated for political gain. Which is what Citizen Kane did in 12 fewer minutes. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2021
98% Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Boseman's last performance is a marvel of enthusiasm and detailed invention, with Levee's final outburst the polar opposite of this actor's generosity. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2021
98% One Night in Miami (2020) As Cooke, Ali, and Brown, Leslie Odom Jr., Eli Goree, and Aldis Hodge are all in the pocket. It's Hodge, though, who brings the most to his character while still recognizably playing Jim Brown. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2021
96% Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) Kaluuya is rousing as Hampton, for sure...Stanfield, though, is subtle, in control, doesn't veer from his usual brilliance, and still creates an accurate portrayal of William O'Neal... - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2021
98% Minari (2020) The elemental qualities of the film are the whole story. Earth, water, and fire equate to various states of strength and weakness in Minari, which unfolds in what Monica calls "this hillbilly place" and is able to take life there seriously... - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2021
94% Nomadland (2021) ...a valentine to Amazon's CamperForce and the warehouses in which the 'Force works.... - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2021
25% Hillbilly Elegy (2020) Hillbilly Elegy is whiny and teary... - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2021
91% The White Tiger (2020) Finally, after years of austere, punishing neorealism in New York and the American South, Balram has found his voice as a pop maximalist man of the people on the other side of the world. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2021
97% Sound of Metal (2020) Raci's performance, along with the deaf actress Lauren Ridloff's, makes Sound of Metal work, placing it beyond Ruben's individual condition and his harsh reactions to it with Lou... - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2021
98% The Father (2021) The Father has a very precise Resnais quality. But it excises all humanity from a story that is at the same time aiming for the ultra-human, the sickly relatable, and the tragic-but-ordinary. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2021
85% Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) Agitprop that doesn't convince, comedy that isn't very funny. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2021
92% Another Round (Druk) (2020) If you can accept Mads Mikkelsen as a depressed high school history teacher in the suburbs, maybe you will also believe that his beautiful doctor wife (Maria Bonnevie) would take him back after he makes drinking on the job the guiding principle... - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2021
No Score Yet American Job (1996) Non-professional actors make up the rest of the cast, picked because they had experience as hourlies or managers in the film's workplace settings. Uniformly excellent, they help Smith blur the line between shambling indie and vérité documentary... - n+1 EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2021
97% The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) Leone's penchant for contrasting two kinds of shots, close-ups and long shots, finds its corollary in the gray or blue...Leone turns gray soldiers blue in the simplest way possible. Movies were invented for ideas like that. - n+1 EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
93% Contempt (1964) This veiled criticism of dubbed sound in Italian movies, along with Lang's explanation of unity in Homer, mirrors the couple's break. - n+1 EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
89% Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) Edwards doesn't cut it into pieces. It's all easy, loping group shots following people from place to place. - n+1 EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
88% The Woman in the Window (1944) The dream ending is a negation that moves the film out the door and back into real life. - n+1 EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
93% It's a Gift (1934) There isn't a better illustration of unsparing W. C. Fields comedy than this portrait of Mr. Muckle, a hostile, uncontrollable blind man. - n+1 EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
98% Scarface (1932) Among other things, Ben Hecht was a Chicago newspaperman, a playwright, author of maybe the funniest American novel...Hecht defines the writer-producer relationship... - n+1 EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2021
100% Santiago, Italia (2018) Guzmán makes an appearance before Moretti's camera, but most of the screen time is dedicated to the refugees who escaped to Italy-the film is somehow the opposite of Desert One... - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2021
67% Spree (2020) Spree is a giddy adventure in screen maximalism, random violence, and cultural bitterness. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2021
76% Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful (2020) ...this movie presents Helmut Newton as a well-adjusted, happily married artist who found his calling early... - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2021
56% Love Express: The Disappearance of Walerian Borowczyk (2020) ...it had the unfortunate effect of leaving me wanting less Borowczyk, even though the film doesn't use enough clips from his work. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2021
81% Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story (2020) Ren & Stimpy's gestalt-a kind of tender boldness of form, something "churning like lava inside you," as Kricfalusi puts it-was endearing and magnetic. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2021
95% Feels Good Man (2020) This comprehensive, intelligent film goes to unexpected places and, because of its subject, uses comics and animation in an organic, creative way. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2021
91% The Cordillera of Dreams (La cordillera de los sueños) (2020) The Cordillera of Dreams is the last in Guzmán's latest documentary trilogy on his home country. Despite the utopia of the Allende years, when he returns to Santiago he does not find the beach under the paving stones... - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2021
95% Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President (2020) Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President showcases Carter's deft touch with soft power, in the form of the American music - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2021
88% Desert One (2020) Desert One has no real point of view. It doesn't offer much, beyond honoring the men who tried to rescue the hostages, and is by default but not by conviction militaristic. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2021
100% Coup 53 (2020) It's an exhaustive, riveting exegesis... - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2021
94% Boys State (2020) Jesse Moss makes finely observed, patient documentaries about self-deluded American conmen and dreamers. Naturally this leads him into politics. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2021
No Score Yet Du Cote de la cote (The Riveria: Today's Eden) (1958) A brightly colored miniature like Agnès Varda's Du côté de la côte is paradoxically best seen on a big screen in the dark. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2021
89% The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (2011) The best documentaries go beyond all that and exist in the realms of the visionary or the minutely detailed and exhaustive, where both intense concentration and a kind of dream state are necessary and rewarded. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2021
100% Heimat Is a Space in Time (Heimat ist ein Raum aus Zeit) (2020) ...original and accomplished. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2020
93% Bacurau (Nighthawk) (2020) Secrecy pervades this Brazilian acid western...co-writer/directors Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles mix styles here... - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
82% Lumumba (2001) Lumumba is framed by long, menacing scenes, lit by fire, of its main character's 1961 arrest and disappearance. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
77% La Captive (2003) While it exposes Simon as unnecessary and annoying, the film does not quite propose an all-female Proust. Instead, it lets Ariane slip away and disappear into the sea, a resonant and familiar exit in Akerman's films. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
66% World War Z (2013) ...the most expensive zombie movie ever made...an odious movie... - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2020
94% Dawn of the Dead (1979) It runs like crazy through American life, through American movies, and now TV, like a faucet left on. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2020
76% Dawn of the Dead (2004) The film totally sanitizes Romero's use of a shopping mall as a site of consumerist critique. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2020
97% Night of the Living Dead (1968) This was an American horror movie, so it needed no English accents or familiar character actors. It was grim and unflinching... - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2020
82% Audition (Ôdishon) (1999) A prolific director known for his willingness to try anything as long as it's weird, violent, or evil, Takashi Miike outdid himself with Audition... - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2020
89% The Two Popes (2019) ...the pair's dynamic lacks spark... - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2020
80% Jojo Rabbit (2019) Jojo Rabbit combines Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson in the worst, cop-out ways. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2020
89% 1917 (2020) At this current level of Hollywood production, expressionistic British militarism is all the same to me and it's worn me out... - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2020
68% Joker (2019) Joker is a one-man show...the riot scenes near the end of Joker reflect something true in society, and they brought the film out of its shell. - The Baffler EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2020