Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
The Jungle Book (2016)
"The movie is at its best when it reproduces the formal speech and respectful intent of the original stories; it's less gripping when director Jon Favreau allows the fantasy to succumb to Disney shtick..."
Green Room (2016)
Elvis & Nixon (2016)
Miles Ahead (2016)
"The movie's mix of historical touchstones and antic fantasy suggests the influence of the Coens, whose films -- 'Llewyn Davis,' 'Hail, Caesar!' -- similarly suggest that fiction and nonfiction are as permeable and connectable as the skins of soap bubbles."
Union Bound (2016)
"Apparently motivated by a desire to promote a message of racial cooperation, the film is quite handsome, given its meager resources, but it has the misplaced priorities of a civil rights parable that is more interested in Miss Daisy than in her driver."
Hardcore Henry (2016)
Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016)
"Directed with unfussy efficiency by Malcolm D. Lee, cousin of Spike Lee, the movie arrives as very much a companion piece to Spike's 'Chi-Raq,' also crafted as a response to the alarming murder rate among young people in Chicago's inner city."
"An essential difference between this and previous similar movies is that the central point of view is not that of a European or North American interloper but that of an occupant of the forest -- in this case, a feather-bedecked Amazonian shaman."
Midnight Special (2016)
"A problem for me is that the movie (marred by a nudging reverential score) never presents Alton as anything but a benign, even angelic force. The implications of Alton's power is terrifying, but the movie from the start treats the boy as a gift."
Knight of Cups (2016)
I Saw the Light (2016)
London Has Fallen (2016)
" Less jingoistic but no less morally specious than its predecessor. (The film dismisses the vengeance-inciting incident of its opening sequence -- the U.S. drone-killing of innocent Pakistanis -- as excusable collateral damage in the War on Terror.)"
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
"This ingenious and claustrophobic thriller is compact enough to be almost the movie equivalent of a black box theater production: For most of its length, it needs only three characters and a single location to keep audiences on edge. "
Hello, My Name is Doris (2016)
Only Yesterday (2016)
The Bronze (2016)
"The timing is impeccable: It hardly seems a coincidence that Deadpool's startling popularity has occurred in parallel to the establishment-gigging rise of another rude, self-confident outlier, Donald Trump."
Gods Of Egypt (2016)
Daddy's Home (2015)
The Witch (2016)
"This story about a 17th-century Puritan family struggling to survive at the edge of the wilderness becomes a dark American origin story: a beautiful promise, corrupted by fear and hypocrisy. The fruit is rotten; the milk bloody."
Son of Saul (2015)
Hail, Caesar! (2016)
"Constructed from spoofy vignettes that recreate vanished genres, indelible star turns and 'dialectical' dialogues, the movie is simultaneously amused, awed and appalled by the power of what might be America's most influential industry."
Jafar Panahi's Taxi (2015)
Where to Invade Next (2016)
The Lady In The Van (2015)
Ip Man 3 (2016)
"Tyson is onscreen for only a few minutes, but that's long enough for a fists-vs.-feet battle with the title character that recalls, in its celebrity sports gimmickry, Bruce Lee's bout with basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 'Game of Death.'"
The Boy (2016)
The Forest (2016)
45 Years (2015)
"From her behavior -- from Rampling's acting, in other words -- we become aware that Kate has begun to question the very meaning of her marriage (which is to say, her life). Was it an illusion? A compromise? A deception? A settling? A mistake?"
The Hateful Eight (2015)
"The incessant use of the N-word seems less a narrative or thematic necessity than a function of ego -- of Tarantino's insistence on his artist's exemption and his privileged status as a white man who is 'down.'"
The Revenant (2015)
"Like 'The Hateful Eight,' 'The Revenant' identifies racism as the white man's mortal sin, but here this poison subverts not just the legitimacy of the United States but the entire enterprise of European expansion into the New World."
The Danish Girl (2015)
"At times, it's hard not to remember poor Z-budget auteur Ed Wood, pleading to caress his girlfriend's angora sweater in 'Glen or Glenda,' an equally earnest yet bolder and in fact artier plea for liberation..."
"Saint Will Smith (see also: 'The Pursuit of Happyness ,' 'Seven Pounds') returns to suffer stoically, forgive those who know not what they do and otherwise ennoble the world with his sensitivity and acuity."
The Big Short (2015)