Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
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)
Heart of a Dog (2015)
"The movie is at its most irresistible when it embraces the glorious fun of words. (The chief spouter is one-man Greek chorus Samuel L. Jackson as the pimped-out 'Dolmedes,' named in Hellenistic homage to Dolemite.)"
The Letters (2015)
"'The Letters' was rated PG for its 'images of human suffering.' But if you really want to see human suffering, take a picture of whatever hapless humans happen to be inside an auditorium while this movie is onscreen. "
Victor Frankenstein (2015)
"Director Paul McGuigan says Mary Shelley's 1818 novel is 'dull as dishwater,' so he's jettisoned it for something dumb as dog dirt: an action bromance apparently inspired by Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes films."
The Good Dinosaur (2015)
"The title itself -- with 'Creed' replacing 'Rocky' -- is significant: It's a recognition of America's changing demography, and a rebuke to the movie industry's flimsy excuses for its diversity problem."
"Affirms Katniss Everdeen's status as the most significant of the reluctant teen heroes who have battled adult tyranny in the fantasy movie series of the past few decades (and no, I'm not forgetting Luke Skywalker or Harry Potter)."
"Ronan emerges here as the quietest spellbinder in movies. She is in every scene, and she is so appealing that Eilis becomes every viewer's ideal: an ideal daughter, sister, employee, girlfriend and confidante."
"Its 'Saturday Night Live'-esque parade of improbable celebrity impersonations kept me entertained: You'd probably have to attend a Halloween party hosted by Turner Classic Movies to find a less convincing John Wayne, Kirk Douglas or Edward G. Robinson."
"If acting awards are given not for mastery of craft or career achievement but for the impact of a performance on an audience, then go ahead and give 'em all this year to Jacob Tremblay, who was only 7 years old when he acted in 'Room.'"
The Night Before (2015)
"I liked the movie's conception of an inclusive holiday season in which Tracy Morgan can be Santa, in which a mushroom-tripping man can chant in Hebrew during midnight mass and be instantly forgiven... What I didn't like was almost everything else."
Secret in Their Eyes (2015)