Capital Times (Madison, WI)
20th Century Women (2017)
"The film provides that rush of pleasure and sadness that can come from pulling a favorite album out of the basement and putting it on the turntable. The moment in your life the music connects to is long gone. But it still makes you dance."
The Founder (2017)
""It rather unsettlingly makes us wonder if, in an age where America consumes a lot and doesn't make all that much, Kroc is right when he calls McDonald's "the new American church. And it ain't just open on Sunday, boys."""
Live By Night (2017)
Hidden Figures (2017)
Why Him? (2016)
"All I want for Christmas is a good mainstream Hollywood comedy, but I guess I'll have to be gracious and accept "Why Him?" It's passable - not a lump of coal in the stocking, but a pair of cheap socks that don't quite fit."
Assassin's Creed (2016)
"For a while, the balance between the lean, even elegant action and laborious backstory is pretty fun; the fact that the film takes itself so seriously, having these great actors earnestly sell such nonsense, is paradoxically kind of hilarious."
"Overall, I prefer "Southside with You," which seemed smarter and subtler about the complexities of race and class that Obama has had to navigate. "Barry" is less graceful dealing with those same themes."
La La Land (2016)
"The musical romance from writer-director Damien Chazelle is packed with "movie magic," big, un-self-conscious moments where the characters burst off the screen in song and dance. This is a movie in love with movies."
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Nocturnal Animals (2016)
Miss Sloane (2016)
""Miss Sloane" is basically the "I'm the motherf---er who found this place" scene from "ZD30" stretched to two hours. That is not a bad thing. Sloane is in love with the game and her mastery of it, and there's a ferocious joy to Chastain's performance."
Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Rules Don't Apply (2016)
"A movie about an erratic billionaire might not be everybody's idea of escapism these days. But Warren Beatty's "Rules Don't Apply," in which Beatty plays the legendary eccentric Howard Hughes, is a real kick."
Gimme Danger (2016)
The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
"In a genre that too often runs on formula, "The Edge of Seventeen" harkens back to the affecting films of John Hughes. And in a genre that too often focuses on boys, Craig insightfully shows us the same angst from a 21st-century girl's perspective."
The Handmaiden (Ah-ga-ssi) (2016)
Oasis: Supersonic (2016)
"The brothers are unabashedly cocky and often very funny. They may be jerks, but they certainly are entertaining jerks. And the most enduring testament to Oasis is that its success, however short-lived, seems to humble even them."
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)
"Ove is a human Volvo. You wouldn't think such an ordinary man could carry his own movie, but the Swedish comedy-drama "A Man Called Ove" is a delight, balancing flinty Scandinavian wit with dry-your-eyes sentimentality."
The Dressmaker (2016)
"The oddball characters, the black humor, the sudden bursts of violence - it all seems to be going well, until the film veers into gooey melodrama. It's like a perfectly-tailored suit that unexpectedly starts fraying at the seams."
Girl Asleep (2016)
"If Napoleon Dynamite was cast as the lead in "Where the Wild Things Are" - and if he was a 14-year-old Australian girl, the result might be something like the inventive coming-of-age comedy "Girl Asleep.""
The Accountant (2016)
The Hollars (2016)
"Maybe there's a longer, more graceful earlier version out there. Maybe there's an earlier version of the screenplay that emphasizes authenticity over punchlines. But what's on screen feels like an overly cautious, watered-down final draft."
Sand Storm (Sufat Chol) (2016)
""Storks" doesn't talk down to its younger audience, but more importantly it doesn't "joke down" either - the film is packed with rapid-fire dialogue, well-developed goofy comic ideas and terrific voice casting."
Starving The Beast (2016)
Other People (2016)
Miss Sharon Jones! (2016)
Hands of Stone (2016)
Life, Animated (2016)
"The poignancy of "Life, Animated" comes from the quieter victories Owen achieves - getting that job at the movie theater, baking cookies in his apartment, learning to live with heartbreak. It turns out ordinary life can be a Magic Kingdom too."
Don't Think Twice (2016)
""Don't Think Twice" is one of the best of the year, an Altman-esque ensemble comedy-drama that blends loose and funny comedy with painfully true insights about the strain that success and failure can put on friendships."
Southside With You (2016)
"One of the surprising strengths of writer-director Richard Tanne's delightful film is that it doesn't rely on our knowledge that, someday, these two twenty-somethings we're watching will become president and first lady. "
"I'm sure Weiner is mortified that his behavior is causing his wife ongoing humiliation to this day. But, after watching "Weiner," I'm not sure he's not secretly happy to see his name in the headlines again."
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)
"There are layers in what seems initially like a broad, hooting comic performance from Streep. We get glimpses of the real Florence, who seems too smart with her money not to be able to read the people who ask her for it."
Captain Fantastic (2016)
Jason Bourne (2016)
"As a three-dimensional character, it's hard to say that it's good to see him again. But as an action hero driving a Dodge Charger off a ramp and onto a speeding SWAT truck? Welcome back, old friend."