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      Rating Title | Year Author Quote
      Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. (2023) Eileen G'Sell It’s a soulful account of a story whose classic status is made all the more real by its resonance today. No matter your background, it’s a sweet, honest, moving movie. Period.
      Posted May 03, 2023
      The Runner (1984) George Elkind Without veering into romanticism or glossing over struggle, Naderi shoots his film in a way that accounts carefully for the medium’s formal interplay of performance, pacing, and light.
      Posted Mar 23, 2023
      Drylongso (1998) George Elkind Funny, frank, and wide-ranging in where it looks, Drylongso easily sells the work of portraiture as a lush variety of performance on its own, accomplishing, too, the elusive trick of making it look organic -- almost as though her images were simply found.
      Posted Mar 23, 2023
      A Couple (2022) George Elkind Achieving a sense of potency few filmmakers could manage if given anything close to the same, Wiseman attends as beautifully here to what his characters have as he does to what they’ve lost.
      Posted Mar 16, 2023
      Close (2022) George Elkind Dhont struggles when working both metaphorically and literally to capture the sense of specificity or emotional weight the story rightly deserves.
      Posted Mar 08, 2023
      Certain Women (2016) George Elkind Dealing with desire and its array of repercussions, the segment makes space for the role of class and aspiration in shaping or halting possible connection, without being so bold as to make any declarations of their definite effect.
      Posted Mar 03, 2023
      Meek's Cutoff (2010) George Elkind Reichardt finds cracks in foundational American imagery by calling attention to its roots in shaky ground.
      Posted Mar 03, 2023
      First Cow (2019) George Elkind Framing the opportunities available on First Cow's frontier as anything but equal, the film provides through touching, comic observation a portrait of America writ small.
      Posted Mar 03, 2023
      Titanic (1997) George Elkind Intimate and personal in a manner belying its scale, James Cameron’s work on Titanic holds up as well as ever.
      Posted Feb 24, 2023
      Magic Mike's Last Dance (2023) George Elkind For its abundance of spectacle, sly technique, and various distractions, Last Dance never loses sight of the fact that money, power, and desire work in similarly ambiguous, hard-to-track ways, and seem to move in surprising cycles.
      Posted Feb 15, 2023
      Infinity Pool (2023) George Elkind Verging on camp in a way that recalls Harmony Korine’s own satire of entitlement Spring Breakers, her [Goth's] commitment both transcends and accentuates the film’s fine rote style, making it just barely worth the time.
      Posted Feb 08, 2023
      Skinamarink (2022) Konstantina Buhalis Inspired by childhood fright, experimental horror film Skinamarink reminds us why we fear the dark.
      Posted Feb 08, 2023
      Knock at the Cabin (2023) George Elkind Whether engaging with Bautista’s empathetic, firm, but oddly tender delivery or the family’s shared defense of one another, Knock contains the most touching, emotionally credible work Shyamalan’s brought to screen for quite some time.
      Posted Feb 08, 2023
      Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody (2022) Maurice Tracy As good as Ackie was, the final moments of the film for anyone who has seen the 1994 American Music Awards love medley only highlights the distance between her and Whitney...
      Posted Jan 30, 2023
      Saint Omer (2022) George Elkind Diop allows the film to contend from start to finish with its own compromises and ambiguities, allowing for humane treatment of a subject to whom few would devote such attention, deference, or time.
      Posted Jan 27, 2023
      The Menu (2022) Konstantina Buhalis This is a brilliant and intricate understanding of how art is the root of culture, and when there is no other purpose left for it, the artist resorts to self-immolation for the survival of creation.
      Posted Jan 12, 2023
      The Whale (2022) Eileen G'Sell To say this movie is heavy-handed is an understatement: Aronofsky and Hunter overtly spell out the terms of Charlie’s tragic decline and assign unambiguous moral virtues to virtually all the characters onscreen.
      Posted Dec 28, 2022
      Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) George Elkind he case for film as an experience (Cameron’s first priority) depends almost always on its form. On that front, he delivers -- and while it may not always feel revelatory, it’s fine to do an old thing one’s own way, and better still to do it well.
      Posted Dec 21, 2022
      Aftersun (2022) George Elkind Leaving much to speculation, Aftersun doesn’t promise any more than it can really offer, keeping its proceedings at a watchful distance even at the points where it seems most obliged to share and give.
      Posted Dec 16, 2022
      The Eternal Daughter (2022) George Elkind It’s a miracle Hogg’s film achieves such weight while managing still to breathe so well. Beneath each film’s vacation in air of coziness lies a sense of discontent: a stirring force in both.
      Posted Dec 16, 2022
      The Fabelmans (2022) George Elkind The Fabelmans manages to prove so buoyant, fluid, and wide-ranging in its concerns that it retains a liveliness one wouldn’t expect from its premise.
      Posted Dec 02, 2022
      The Banshees of Inisherin (2022) George Elkind While dreaming of being Samuel Beckett and Flannery O’Connor both at once, [McDonagh] lacks the skill, balance, and basic command of craft in his own medium to nip at the heels of either.
      Posted Nov 25, 2022
      Armageddon Time (2022) George Elkind Paul’s experience of this reality -- and the pressures imposed by the adults and peers around him -- is mediated in vivid, viscerally convincing terms, with Darius Khondji’s camerawork feeling almost firsthand in its grip on Paul’s perceptions.
      Posted Nov 12, 2022
      Flesh and the Devil (1926) George Elkind With Flesh and the Devil benefiting from an easy meshing of its cast’s palpable subjective feelings with its own form, the film’s depiction of its characters’ romantic desires refuses to allow for the kind of containment the story attempts.
      Posted Nov 04, 2022
      Decision to Leave (2022) George Elkind [Park Chan-Wook has] done wonders with a story many many peers have made far less of, enlivening familiar tropes with a restless devotion to variety, atmosphere, and a certain wry circumspection that could hardly feel more natural.
      Posted Oct 27, 2022
      Triangle of Sadness (2022) George Elkind By its finish, Triangle of Sadness’s bluntness transforms itself into an avenue to more compelling, less facile questions than it asked closer to its start, more reliable throughout as a fount of commentary than of social comment.
      Posted Oct 20, 2022
      Stars at Noon (2022) George Elkind The would-be escape of romantic entanglement blends with political power plays throughout here, with characters guarding and sharing information in the same pressed manner that early, tentative intimate partners so often do.
      Posted Oct 13, 2022
      Lust for Life (1956) George Elkind it feels more than right to leave that work to Douglas. And it's precisely that kind of measure and reserve that makes Minnelli a realist artist himself — albeit a realist of a different kind.
      Posted Oct 07, 2022
      Don't Worry Darling (2022) Eileen G'Sell It is an uneven, but visually compelling, film whose emotional resonance rests on the square shoulders of Pugh, her generation’s answer Kate Winslet.
      Posted Sep 30, 2022
      Blonde (2022) George Elkind While its too-scattered emotional highs and luminous, constantly experimental photography lend it qualities worth recommending, the film remains deeply off-balance in a way that might be deemed fitting, but still feels psychologically thin.
      Posted Sep 30, 2022
      Three Thousand Years of Longing (2022) George Elkind In both its sincerity and its flashes of communicative inattention, the film proves evocative, angular, and ultimately winning even as it knowingly plies old tropes.
      Posted Sep 01, 2022
      Emily the Criminal (2022) Eileen G'Sell As much as the film crackles as a Millennial revenge tale, Emily the Criminal simmers as both a character study and a trenchant indictment of the U.S. carceral system and structural poverty it abets.
      Posted Aug 18, 2022
      Prey (2022) George Elkind Prey basks in a visual style that’s attractive but rarely expressive: a capable sort of commercial work.
      Posted Aug 11, 2022
      Nope (2022) George Elkind For all that’s here, so much in Nope feels lost or undermined in the stew of many things Peele as an artist seems hungry and eager to do. But we’re lucky to have him, even when the fact stands as a liability: Peele really wants to do it all.
      Posted Jul 28, 2022
      Beba (2021) George Elkind These sorts of adroit pivots, complicating the film’s emotional trajectory throughout, lend Beba at its peak moments an air of serpentine complication, joining bits of information to create meanings that wouldn’t exist otherwise.
      Posted Jul 21, 2022
      Elvis (2022) George Elkind Elvis manifests all its action as inevitable, a remembered history that seems to have never breathed as living present: a most unquestioning sort of remembrance.
      Posted Jul 21, 2022
      Apples (2020) Eileen G'Sell One of the most original, if understated, movies of the year, Nikou’s directorial debut relies upon the potency of the image above ponderous dialogue or showy close-ups.
      Posted Jul 14, 2022
      Neptune Frost (2021) George Elkind Whether taken for its aesthetic virtues or grappled with on any other terms, Frost manages to feel intellectually agile, holistically considered, and emotionally full.
      Posted Jul 01, 2022
      The Black Phone (2021) George Elkind Its best moments far outstrip its worst ones, though, resulting in a work that feels at once fussily prepared and a bit undercooked, with artistic attention and running time too often feeling misspent.
      Posted Jul 01, 2022
      Mississippi Masala (1991) George Elkind The result, surely buttressed by the film’s new restoration, is a persistent sense of atmosphere -- but one whose source, meanings, and embedded sentiments seem at times impossible to pin down.
      Posted Jun 23, 2022
      Cane Fire (2020) George Elkind With Cane Fire, Anthony Banua-Simon explores both the outcomes and precursors of this long-running tendency, examining the pull of media narratives on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i for viewers both there and outside.
      Posted Jun 23, 2022
      Cha Cha Real Smooth (2022) Eileen G'Sell One gains little, however, from watching [this film] that you could not easily get from the trailer.
      Posted Jun 23, 2022
      Crimes of the Future (2022) George Elkind As the unmistakable product of an old man’s hand, Crimes of the Future offers a cavalier, musing look at the grim stuff that’s just ahead: a testament less to emotional disinvestment than to some measured, stoic strain of hope.
      Posted Jun 09, 2022
      Benediction (2021) George Elkind Davies cuts to the quick of not only Sassoon’s but a much broader array of experience, allowing longing, reflection, and change wrought by time to be chief subjects.
      Posted Jun 03, 2022
      Top Gun: Maverick (2022) George Elkind In the end, Maverick succeeds more often than it fails, proving absorbing enough for most of its length.
      Posted May 26, 2022
      Lux Æterna (2019) George Elkind Addressing various forms of voyeurism, exploitation, and rampant, stratified forms of inequality, in part by suggesting they may well be eternal, the film’s ensuing flight into abstraction could well be construed as a kind of aesthetic cowardice.
      Posted May 19, 2022
      Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) George Elkind The multiverse setup has the effect of sapping the film (and series) of stakes, allowing for endless retooling beneath a thin veneer of narrative consequence.
      Posted May 11, 2022
      Father Stu (2022) Eileen G'Sell Witnessing Stu’s sputtering spiritual awakening can be very entertaining -- not least for the heathens among us.
      Posted Apr 25, 2022
      You Won't Be Alone (2022) Eileen G'Sell Like the best folktales -- and the best horror movies -- the real stakes aren't with the witch in the woods but in the blood on our hands as very flawed humans.
      Posted Apr 21, 2022
      Ambulance (2022) George Elkind What Bay’s managed here is spotted by the elements he’s left undercooked or a bit haphazard, for they’re largely placed, at least, in ways that feel narratively right.
      Posted Apr 14, 2022
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