Justin Chang

Justin Chang
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
99% Booksmart (2019) "Booksmart" leaves you feeling unaccountably hopeful for the state of humanity - and the state of American screen comedy too. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
94% The Wild Goose Lake (Nan Fang Che Zhan De Ju Hui) (2019) "The Wild Goose Lake" is unapologetically down-and-dirty B-movie filmmaking, but with its stealth social commentary and matter-of-fact bleakness, you would never call it escapist entertainment. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
86% Atlantique (2019) Suffice to say that, shortly after a mysterious fire breaks out in Ada's ridiculously lavish marriage bed, the story becomes both a detective thriller and a ghost story rooted in elements of local folklore, and pulled off with a light, shivery touch. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
95% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) As an escalating freak show of tension, surprise and class rage, "Parasite" would make a terrific double bill with Jordan Peele's "Us," which it matches and perhaps even surpasses in pact. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
59% Aladdin (2019) The upgrades here are primarily cosmetic, which is no reason to discount their pleasures. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
94% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) [A] richly evocative, conceptually jaw-dropping, excessively foot-fetishizing, inescapably terrifying and unexpectedly poignant movie. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 21, 2019
74% A Hidden Life (Une vie cachée) (2019) It's at once a linear, almost classically structured drama and an exploratory, intensely romantic work of art. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2019
71% Little Joe (2019) Something about Hausner's picture held me, with its narcotic pacing, its smiling, zombified performances and its intensely, almost radioactively bright digital sheen. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2019
76% Sorry We Missed You (2019) As a stripped-down, minutely detailed portrait of the daily grind as back-breaking Sisyphean ordeal, "Sorry We Missed You" is engrossing and bluntly persuasive. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2019
87% Pain and Glory (Dolor y Gloria) (2019) However loosely "Pain and Glory" may play with the facts, it never feels less than truthful. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2019
88% Rocketman (2019) As with its beloved subject and his enormous catalog of multiplatinum earworms, the movie's familiarity turns out to be crucial to its charm. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
81% Deerskin (Le Daim) (2019) Dupieux has made, among other things, a deceptively light comedy about the compulsive pleasures of image making and the horrors that said compulsion can yield. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
78% Les Misérables (2019) [A] crackling police thriller partly inspired by the civil unrest that swept through Paris in 2005. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
88% Nighthawk (Bacurau) (2019) It's quite a brew, rich and extremely filling, but also chunky and uneven; it leaves your stomach in knots and your head in a very strange place. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
52% The Dead Don't Die (2019) You can share Jarmusch's despair - I certainly do - and still find its expression here too tired, bloodless and self-satisfied by half. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2019
93% Rafiki (2019) But to merely describe what happens in "Rafiki" would be to overlook its transporting sense of place, its striking visual pleasures and its credible and moving performances. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
69% Wine Country (2019) "Wine Country" is quaffable enough. If pressed to supply my own tasting notes, I might describe the blend as unwieldy but not unpleasant, sometimes acid to the point of bitterness (the tartest lines go to Amy Poehler, who also directed). - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
50% Tolkien (2019) But that imagination is what is most conspicuously lacking in "Tolkien," which too often falls back into a pose of intellectual and aesthetic timidity. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 6, 2019
94% Ask Dr. Ruth (2019) The director Ryan White ("The Keepers") has fun exploring all that gimmicky pop-cultural detritus, and he also drops in a few greatest-hits montages covering Westheimer's rise to fame. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
81% Long Shot (2019) As it happens, "Long Shot," directed by Jonathan Levine from a script by Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah, is the most likable Hollywood romantic comedy I've seen in ages and, not coincidentally, the most ambitious. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 1, 2019
89% Sauvage / Wild (2019) Vidal-Naquet's film knows that every wound and balm to the flesh is also one to the spirit. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
95% Avengers: Endgame (2019) To these faintly moistened eyes, "Avengers: Endgame" achieves and earns its climactic surge of feeling, even as it falls just short of real catharsis. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2019
95% Grass (2019) "Grass," true to its title, is small, sharp and bladelike. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2019
92% Long Day's Journey Into Night (Di qiu zui hou de ye wan) (2019) In one sublime feat of cinematic prestidigitation, Bi forges new possibilities by which movies can defy the constraints of logic and represent the unrepresentable. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
56% Under the Silver Lake (2019) Whether you will find anything of lasting meaning is less certain. "Under the Silver Lake" is rarely uninteresting, but it smells a little staler than it should. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
85% Her Smell (2019) You can quibble with this movie's title, but it gives redemption stories a good name. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2019
45% Mary Magdalene (2019) [A]n imperfect but affecting vision of New Testament times. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
45% Little (2019) [A]n alternately clumsy and inspired comedy of supernatural comeuppance. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
16% Hellboy (2019) The movie seems to spring from a curious awareness of how unnecessary it is, and it responds in the manner of an uninvited guest, with no interest in behaving or ingratiating itself. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2019
90% Shazam! (2019) "Shazam!" is hardly a solution. But at its best, it's just deft and clever enough to not feel like part of the problem. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2019
93% Diane (2019) What looks at first like a solid, well-carpentered exercise in downbeat indie realism ends up, by dint of its unexpected tonal and temporal leaps and sudden formal ruptures, in less easily definable territory. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
54% The Beach Bum (2019) There's something haunting, and quietly lacerating, about McConaughey's portrait of a man who has effectively anesthetized himself to pain, who has made the pleasure principle an all-consuming philosophy. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
95% An Elephant Sitting Still (Da xiang xi di er zuo) (2019) [Hu] has given us a triumph of bold sociopolitical critique and intimate human portraiture, and a reminder that you rarely encounter the one without the other. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
59% Sunset (Napszállta) (2019) "Sunset" is maddening and mesmerizing. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
73% Dragged Across Concrete (2019) Zahler only really grips you, alas, with his trademark ferocious displays of violence, which felt like a logical endgame in "Bone Tomahawk" and "Brawl in Cell Block 99," but too often smack here of pointless sadism. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
77% The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019) Like a lot of Gibney documentaries, it compresses a juicy, complicated story into a smooth, coherent retelling that occasionally glances at that story's deeper implications. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
94% Us (2019) [B]eyond the jittery mechanics of attack and pursuit, what lingers is the unnerving intimacy of the whole situation, the terrible and mysterious sense of kinship that binds the Wilsons to their malevolent alter egos. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2019
97% The Heiresses (Las Herederas) (2019) But if some questions remain unanswered, Brun's performance provides much of the clarity we need. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2019
92% Police Story (Ging chaat goo si) (Police Force) (1985) It's the joy of watching Chan, a Buster Keaton of kickboxing, hurling himself into every stunt with total commitment, astounding athleticism and oddly unflappable, shaggy-haired grace. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2019
95% Transit (2019) "Transit" touchingly illuminates the close bonds that can form within migrant communities, even as it refuses to harbor any illusions about how easily those bonds can be broken. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2019
71% Climax (2019) These characters will keep dancing until and perhaps even beyond the bitter end, but their altered state never threatens to become your own. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
59% Greta (2019) Unfortunately, despite the odd hallucinatory freakout and one deliciously nasty Grand Guignol moment, neither the story nor the telling has the requisite juice to fulfill, let alone transcend, the audience's expectations of this well-worn material. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2019
91% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) The elegiac ending is simplicity itself, a perfect close to a wondrously imperfect story. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2019
92% Fighting with My Family (2019) Within the context of a sport that thrives on artifice, writer-director Stephen Merchant spins a story whose emotions feel entirely genuine. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2019
88% The Image Book (Le livre d'image) (2019) "The Image Book" is an 85-minute cinematic brainstorm, a swirling, dazzling, maddening frenzy of disconnected sights and sounds that have been compiled and arranged according to a rhythmic and rhetorical logic that only its maker can fully divine. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2019
94% The Wild Pear Tree (Ahlat agaci) (2019) Cemcir's performance, suffused with a kind of wily, defiant grace, has an emotional depth that makes this movie's spirit not just heavy and somber, but also curiously forgiving. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
85% The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) "The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part" becomes an amusingly derivative space opera, where the hallways and stairwells of an American suburban home become portals to so much intergalactic mayhem. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2019
100% The Farewell (2019) "The Farewell" is a remarkably cohesive ensemble movie. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
100% Clemency (2019) With quiet power and austere visuals, "Clemency" captures the unbearable atmosphere of offices and corridors suffused with the stench of death. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
95% The Souvenir (2019) One of the pleasures of Hogg's movie is how sneakily it takes shape, and how carefully it avoids the obvious beats to which storytellers often resort for the sake of dramatic expedience. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019