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      Rating Title | Year Author Quote
      Chris Rock: Selective Outrage (2023) Ben Schwartz Both more and less than comedy, funny but also the occasion for a lot of clapter from Rock’s fans. Rock delivered on all the expectations swirling through social media over the past year, but it’s also OK if we never hear about that slap again.
      Posted Mar 16, 2023
      Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (2022) Ilan Stavans Disjointed and divisive, Bardo challenges its viewers to make sense of it.
      Posted Mar 09, 2023
      Till (2022) Robin D.G. Kelley Till is an unflinching critique of the assertion to always “believe women.”
      Posted Feb 24, 2023
      Women Talking (2022) Larissa Pham Where do the women think they’re going? What do they think they’ll find? Perhaps it’s possible, in the world the film has made, that what they depart for isn’t the world we know, but a better one, one created according to the contract Ona describes.
      Posted Feb 15, 2023
      Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) Erin Schwartz Avatar is like some rare mineral, produced by one man's ill-conceived aesthetic taste placed under the immense heat and pressure of the blockbuster industry. The product is scintillating, beautiful, and feels fairly useless.
      Posted Feb 10, 2023
      Diabolique (1955) Robert Hatch Clouzot is a man of intelligence and skill who shows himself to be excited by only two sensations -- cruelty and disgust. His appeal is as degenerate as the horror comics, and more offensive because it is more cultivated.
      Posted Jan 31, 2023
      Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022) Ethan Iverson Every step in the mechanism is designed to make an obvious point about abuse of power and self-involved excess. Yet, after all has been revealed, we realize that there was absolutely no reason for the whole contraption to get started in the first place.
      Posted Jan 03, 2023
      EO (2022) J. Hoberman The beasts give EO an authenticity beyond human acting, without the trappings of rational meaning. Behind the veil of Skolimowski’s bravura technique, life simply is.
      Posted Jan 03, 2023
      The Lady Eve (1941) Anthony Bower One of the most amusing and delightful films seen on the screen for a long time. The almost Rabelaisian gusto with which Mr. Sturges works... should be studied by every director in the industry.
      Posted Dec 29, 2022
      Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Mark Van Doren I can remember no finer moment in any film than this one when at sunrise in the forest the banks of eyes which have looked so sinister all night turn out to belong to rabbits, fawns, chipmunks, bluebirds, and turtles.
      Posted Dec 21, 2022
      Tár (2022) Phoebe Chen By withholding memory and any substantive evocation of Tár's childhood, Field avoids the rationale of a backstory. Her abhorrent behavior is never given a legible motivation and therefore partial absolution.
      Posted Dec 15, 2022
      Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) Stephen Kearse After the death of Chadwick Boseman, the makers of the superhero movie had to reimagine the series. The result makes for a sobering and affecting sequel.
      Posted Dec 13, 2022
      Jihad Rehab (2022) Moustafa Bayoumi Ultimately less about these lives of these four men and more about the power of "Meg," something, in retrospect, I should have seen coming from the very first word of the film.
      Posted Nov 14, 2022
      The Shop Around the Corner (1940) Franz Hoellering In The Shop Around the Corner one finds genuine entertainment. Here is Ernst Lubitsch at his best, exploiting the good hearts and little peculiarities of nice average people.
      Posted Nov 08, 2022
      The President's Mystery (1936) Mark Van Doren The President's Mystery... generates authentic excitement out of a story concerning, of all things, cooperative canneries.
      Posted Oct 25, 2022
      Shanghai Express (1932) Margaret Marshall The device of numberless swift kaleidoscopic shots is, of course, not new. But the vibrancy and freshness of treatment must be credited to the direction of Josef von Sternberg.
      Posted Oct 21, 2022
      Riotsville, USA (2022) Yasmina Price Pettengil’s documentary offers an entry point into thinking about how this footage of the past...operates as a set of power relations—vehicles of indoctrination that are yet open to being contested.
      Posted Oct 07, 2022
      Metropolis (1927) David Bromwich The movie is a period piece, with roots in dystopian novels like H.G. Wells's When the Sleeper Wakes and The Time Machine; yet the stark and garish black-and-white staging here engenders an emotion oddly stronger than words.
      Posted Oct 07, 2022
      The Rehearsal (2016) Vikram Murthi The twist with The Rehearsal is that, despite the preponderance of Fielder’s deadpan jokes, it resembles a psychological drama more than it does a comedy...
      Posted Oct 03, 2022
      La Strada (1954) Robert Hatch Quinn's rough mastery of his crude little show, his bull rage in the face of perplexity or new circumstances, and Basehart's inhuman agility and asexual glee are pantomime creatures of a high order.
      Posted Sep 14, 2022
      Nope (2022) Stephen Kearse Nope’s staging is more naturalistic. Peele trusts his overwhelmed characters to forge a path through the story’s obstacles and frights without obvious metacommentary.
      Posted Sep 08, 2022
      The Life of Emile Zola (1937) Mark Van Doren The Life of Emile Zola is, considering the many good things in it, a worthy film. But it is not among the best, and in the nature of things it could not be. Zola's characteristic deeds were his books, and a series of books is not a story.
      Posted Aug 03, 2022
      Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) Mark Van Doren Frank Lloyd's direction has amplitude and clarity... It is Mr. Laughton, however, whom we watch; and I cannot believe that this is to be accounted for on any other theory than that he has resources beyond the power of even the most brilliant direction.
      Posted Jul 28, 2022
      Crimes of the Future (2022) Beatrice Loayza It’s a startlingly romantic film—the first the director has made after the death of his wife—and its concluding shocks are softened with a sense of resignation.
      Posted Jul 25, 2022
      The Northman (2022) Erin Schwartz The Northman is a brutal and violent film, felt in both its protagonist’s appetite for revenge and a world that seems to require suffering to continue turning.
      Posted Jun 30, 2022
      The Rogue Song (1930) Alexander Bakshy The appearance of a singer of the Metropolitan Opera in a full-length motion picture may be a portent of the times... but Mr. Lawrence Tibbett’s vocalizing in The Rogue Song fails to make this musical travesty a notable achievement in any other respect.
      Posted Jun 28, 2022
      Ahed's Knee (2021) Kaleem Hawa Lapid’s objective here is obvious, and boring...
      Posted Apr 01, 2022
      Gigi (1958) Robert Hatch Alan Lerner and Frederick Loewe will probably never repeat the hysterical success of [My Fair Lady], and yet they have made a very nice show out out of Colette's durable comedy.
      Posted Mar 24, 2022
      The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021) Erin Schwartz The sparseness and symbolism of Coen’s film brings the illusory nature of power into even sharper focus.
      Posted Mar 05, 2022
      Ivan (1932) William Troy The picture is ineffective even as an example of explicit propaganda.
      Posted Mar 01, 2022
      Earth (1930) Alexander Bakshy There is no denying, of course, the extraordinary power of Dovzhenko’s imagination, but it seems rather late in the day to bring out of the symbolist bag such ancient devices as the masklike face and the stylized movement.
      Posted Mar 01, 2022
      Arsenal (1929) Alexander Bakshy The picture as a whole is an amazing performance, no less rich in its technical resourcefulness than in its dramatic sense of human character; and it is splendidly acted.
      Posted Mar 01, 2022
      The Matrix Resurrections (2021) Stephen Kearse Awash in empty familiarity, stilted action, and half-hearted agitation...
      Posted Feb 12, 2022
      The Wedding March (1928) Alexander Bakshy [The Wedding March] is interesting only for its insistence on realistic detail -- an insistence so shrieking and sometimes so incongruous that it loses even the little virtue that one might be willing to concede it.
      Posted Jan 20, 2022
      Porgy and Bess (1959) Robert Hatch The cast had the talent for Porgy and Bess, but Mr. Goldwyn and Mr. Preminger have made them little more than supernumeraries to sensation.
      Posted Jan 20, 2022
      Licorice Pizza (2021) Vikram Murthi With Licorice Pizza, Anderson mines the space between fiction and reality to unearth an ineffable authenticity, one that's more concerned with lived experience than literal truth.
      Posted Dec 30, 2021
      West Side Story (2021) Ed Morales The results of this effort are for the most part welcome and satisfying, giving new life to a narrative that once felt awkward and superficial.
      Posted Dec 29, 2021
      Nightmare Alley (1947) James Agee This kind of wit and meanness is so rare in movies today that I had the added pleasure of thinking "Oh, no; they won't have the guts to do that." But they do; as long as they have any nerve at all, they have quite a lot.
      Posted Dec 03, 2021
      The Great Ziegfeld (1936) Mark Van Doren Few films have been more lavish than this one... but since it can be doubted that Ziegfeld was either the Shakespeare or the Leonardo he is represented to have been, it can also be doubted that the money was well spent.
      Posted Dec 03, 2021
      Dune (2021) Erin Schwartz For all its futuristic technology and sandworms, Dune is deeply humanistic, which does not mean it necessarily celebrates humanity, but rather in the sense that Greek tragedies of hubris and self-annihilation are humanistic.
      Posted Dec 02, 2021
      The Many Saints of Newark (2021) Erin Schwartz All of the things that worked in The Sopranos make its prequel a remarkable slog of a film.
      Posted Nov 19, 2021
      Dave Chappelle: The Closer (2021) Stephen Kearse The false inversion distorts the lopsided power dynamics between comics and their critics and denies detractors the license Chappelle demands for comedians. In the same breaths, he preaches freedom and dismisses feedback.
      Posted Nov 16, 2021
      The Souvenir Part II (2021) Devika Girish Hogg's remarkable two-part film The Souvenir examines how an artist turns the fragments of their personal history into an enduring story.
      Posted Nov 16, 2021
      Passing (2021) Elias Rodriques A film adaptation of Nella Larsen's novel dramatizes the mercurial and sometimes dangerous consequences of a person's performance of self in the public.
      Posted Nov 05, 2021
      Marty (1955) Robert Hatch Marty is a modest film, not very important and not very memorable, but I wish it well. For one thing, it is a timely rebuttal of Hollywood's repeated insinuation that sex is the prerogative of the spectacularly sexy.
      Posted Oct 18, 2021
      His Girl Friday (1940) Franz Hoellering Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant give such entertaining performances that nobody in the roaring audience seems to notice the tastelessness, to say the least, of playing hide-and-seek with a man condemned to death.
      Posted Oct 14, 2021
      Sunset Blvd. (1950) Manny Farber An uncompromising study of American decadence displaying a sad, worn, methodical beauty few films have had since the late twenties.
      Posted Oct 11, 2021
      Titane (2021) Phoebe Chen Julia Ducournau's surreal horror film is a harrowing exploration of the body and technology.
      Posted Oct 08, 2021
      The Thing (1951) Manny Farber The Thing (from Another World) is a slick item thriftily combining a heavy science story with a pure adventure yarn for better than ordinary entertainment.
      Posted Sep 21, 2021
      The Little Fugitive (1953) Manny Farber The film pleased me for about five minutes, even though the plot seemed manufactured to permit yet another documentarist to shoot his favorite run-down American environment; then it disintegrated into a compromise with the truth.
      Posted Sep 16, 2021
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