Justin Chang

Justin Chang
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
52% Coming 2 America (2021) Thirty-three years later, that restraint feels more like inertia with Akeem more stranded than ever between his lost idealism and his father's authoritarianism. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2021
46% Boogie (2021) It's a familiar setup approached from a less-than-familiar angle, and "Boogie," ambitious and clumsy by turns, cycles rapidly through the conventions of the teen sports melodrama, with an eye toward fulfilling some and subverting others. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 3, 2021
95% Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) The pleasing range of faces, skin tones and body types on display helps offset the anonymous quality that plagues even the most sophisticated three-dimensional character design. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2021
99% Night of the Kings (La Nuit des Rois) (2020) In capturing and preserving a long-standing oral tradition, he has arrived at both a persuasive vision of the past and a hopeful glimpse of the future. Like all good storytellers, he leaves you wanting more. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2021
99% The Father (2021) The film's final embrace is a quietly astounding vision of grace in solitude, and it harks back to that opening aria, with its invocation of eternal winter and the unheard rejoinder that follows: " 'Tis Love, 'tis Love, 'tis Love that has warm'd us." - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 25, 2021
89% The Nest (2020) What makes Durkin's vision so powerfully unsettling is its ease with ambiguity, its ability to make cruelty and tenderness seem like flip sides of the same human coin. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2021
88% Supernova (2021) Its particular effectiveness depends not only on Firth and Tucci's believability as a couple but also on the complementarity of their respective personas... - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 18, 2021
80% I Care a Lot (2021) It belatedly tries to grow a heart in its closing scenes, tossing off its snarky, self-satisfied cynicism and making a half-hearted lurch toward catharsis. It wants you to care, more than it cares to admit. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 18, 2021
72% The Mauritanian (2021) "The Mauritanian" is a moral muddle as well as a narrative one, and it leaves you wondering why our empathy for Slahi has to be so mediated, negotiated and rationalized in the first place. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2021
69% Land (2021) The film's beauty is undeniable, but it remains a pictorial, surface-level kind of beauty, one that glosses over the muck and sweat of its protagonist's various second-act breakthroughs... - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2021
96% Dear Comrades! (2021) [T]hese crisp, high-contrast images speak to another impulse as well: to look into a past shrouded in the fog of delusion and doublespeak, and to see through it with a clarity that burns and even heals. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 10, 2021
96% Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) Memorialized for his tragic death, [Fred Hampton] is reclaimed here as a figure of boisterous, defiantly big-hearted life. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2021
91% Beginning (Dasatskisi) (2020) [T]here is an intensely ritualistic quality to "Beginning," a remarkable - and remarkably bleak - debut feature... that unfolds with spare, mock-ceremonial deliberation, pausing every so often for an exquisite twist of the knife. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2021
47% The Little Things (2021) It induces the strange sensation of encountering clichés before they were clichés, of opening an unusually well-preserved time capsule or taking a trip down a corpse-strewn memory lane. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 28, 2021
85% Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time (2021) As its delightfully loquacious title suggests, "Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time" is both methodical and enigmatic. It's a movie that sees no real contradiction between the rational and irrational, only degrees of difference. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2021
92% The White Tiger (2020) The movie naturally pulses with life and energy, invigorated by its narrative sweep, its nimble camerawork and propulsive musical score composed by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2021
58% Malcolm & Marie (2020) Words turn out to be the undoing of "Malcolm & Marie," not just because there are so many of them, but because they feel like the building blocks of a meta-movie parlor trick... - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2021
99% MLK/FBI (2021) By suggesting the enormous strain King endured while he was being taunted and blackmailed by his own government, "MLK/FBI" provides another lens through which to appreciate his commitment. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2021
46% Locked Down (2021) Can a movie about the everyday realities of our crushing new normal also be a breezy piece of Hollywood escapism? At its infrequent best, "Locked Down" suggests that it can. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 13, 2021
76% Pieces of a Woman (2020) Kirby's authority is commanding, even unassailable... - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2021
98% One Night in Miami (2020) It moves, with light-fingered assurance, through sequences that transform from soulful arias into sustained duets, built around performances that are collaborative rather than imitative in nature. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2021
90% Promising Young Woman (2020) It doesn't all come together, though there's an undeniable thrill in seeing it come apart. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 23, 2020
95% Soul (2020) Like an ethereal cousin to his triumphant "Inside Out," "Soul" is another playful exercise in metaphysical world building, a door-slamming farce staged between the portals of consciousness. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 22, 2020
95% To the Ends of the Earth (Tabi no Owari Sekai no Hajimari) (2020) It's a history lesson, yes, but it's also a lesson in basic humanity. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2020
59% Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) [D]irector Patty Jenkins and her star, Gal Gadot, have mastered the art of cornball conviction. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 15, 2020
88% News of the World (2020) "News of the World" finds its maker navigating the conventions of the western and the road movie with relative ease. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2020
98% Farewell Amor (2020) Even with its share of conventional elements, Farewell Amor never plays out quite as you might expect. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2020
81% I'm Your Woman (2020) Rather than immersing us in the sordid details of Eddie's racket, the story leaves us stranded on the outside with Jean, a character who might have been quickly sidelined in a different movie... - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2020
92% Another Round (Druk) (2020) The filmmaking, for all its tipsiness, retains a striking lucidity... - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 3, 2020
82% Happiest Season (2020) The average holiday-themed romantic comedy is such a synthetic box of delights... "Happiest Season," a new comedy directed by Clea DuVall, is a clever, affecting, endearingly imperfect example. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2020
68% The Christmas Chronicles 2 (2020) [A]n unremarkable if far from unpleasant sequel arriving just in time to brighten your locked-down holiday festivities. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2020
98% Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Every formal choice, from the exquisitely caressed lighting of Tobias A. Schlieeser's images to the unifying orchestrations of Branford Marsalis' score, ultimately feels in service of a story that barrels ahead with terrific urgency. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2020
96% Sound of Metal (2020) It's conventional, but it also breaks ground: Angsty addiction dramas may be overrepresented in the movies, but sensitive, lived-in portraits of Deaf culture and community have always been in short supply. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
25% Hillbilly Elegy (2020) Directed by Ron Howard and denuded of any meaningful politics to speak of, "Hillbilly Elegy" is an extended Oscar-clip montage in search of a larger purpose, an unwieldy slop bucket of door-smashing, child-slapping, husband-immolating histrionics. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 10, 2020
83% Proxima (2019) Winocour shows us smart, sometimes insensitive and fundamentally decent people navigating an extraordinary situation and the sacrifices that are made in service of a grand collective undertaking. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2020
83% Mank (2020) This is rich, fascinating and inevitably painful material to contemplate in our era of conservative media moguls, anti-socialist rhetoric and, just in case you'd forgotten, electoral chaos. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2020
100% His House (2020) The script's cleverest gambit is to blur our sense of what kind of movie we might be watching - a thriller about a haunted house or a portrait of the dehumanization of the refugee experience? - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2020
100% City Hall (2020) With "City Hall," his 45th feature, he has composed another epic from a series of intricate, carefully arranged miniatures, a four-and-a-half-hour sprawl of a movie that will leave you admiring its agility and concision. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 28, 2020
85% Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) Borat's satirical jabs don't land with quite the same cringe-making force this time; the setups are too convoluted, the anonymous targets too genial, the payoffs too meager. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2020
49% The Witches (2020) "The Witches" is pretty thin brew by comparison, concocted from mostly secondhand ingredients. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2020
85% Martin Eden (2020) [H]opefulness and rawness, much like society and the self, are ultimately inextricable in "Martin Eden," a work of art that abounds in its own beautiful contradictions. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2020
39% Rebecca (2020) The filmmakers seem curiously at sea over the purpose of their assignment, possessing neither the patience to plunge headlong into the story's familiar depths nor the radicalism to reinvent it entirely. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 15, 2020
81% Over the Moon (2020) The problem with "Over the Moon" isn't that it doesn't make enough sense; if anything, it makes far too much. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2020
98% Time (2020) A prismatic story of crime and punishment, a critical portrait of the prison system's many casualties and an 81-minute, two-decades-spanning epic of love, devotion and perseverance. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2020
81% Charm City Kings (2020) A slick, appealing blend of summertime coming-of-ager and cautionary crime thriller. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2020
99% Totally Under Control (2020) There are no cheap shots or in-person ambushes here; the polemics are sober, restrained and all the more authoritative for it. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 7, 2020
98% The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020) The sly achievement of "The Forty-Year-Old Version" is to turn a critical eye on the very idea of success (by whose standards?), and to ponder exactly what level of compromise is acceptable to secure it. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2020
100% Dick Johnson Is Dead (2020) This is a funny film about death, which is to say it's a wrenching film about life. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2020
98% The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020) Blank clearly delights in skewering the tone-deaf condescension of white men who fancy themselves cultural gatekeepers. But one of the reasons The Forty-Year-Old Version is so disarming is that Blank saves the toughest criticism for herself. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2020
89% Kajillionaire (2020) Bit by bit, line by line, [July] nudges you onto her characters' wavelength, navigating their world with matter-of-fact drollery and tethering even her weirdest flights of fancy to clear, accessible emotions. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2020