Film Comment Magazine

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Serenity (2019) Michael Sragow A crackpot suspense film about a fishing boat captain who veers into perilous existential waters, Serenity tries to pull off a "bait-and-switch" times two. But will anyone take the bait either time? EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Miss Bala (2019) Michael Sragow Miss Bala provides the first feasible argument for our southern neighbor to pay for building a wall: to keep Hollywood hacks out of the country. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
The Lincoln Cycle (1917) Michael Sragow Its combination of popular myth-making and eccentric innovation held me rapt for 215 minutes straight. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Alita: Battle Angel (2019) Michael Sragow As spectacle, the film is aces. It welds Rodriguez's eccentric touch with action and special effects to Cameron's mastery of world-building. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
The Wedding Guest (2018) Michael Sragow Winterbottom's confident technique holds us for only half the running time of The Wedding Guest, a flimsy thriller about a tight-lipped lone wolf possibly named Jay. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Captain Marvel (2019) Michael Sragow Lacking a unifying vision and a charismatic star performance, this film is less a big-screen comic than a patchwork quilt. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
The Mustang (2019) Michael Sragow Schoenaerts's passion and the horse's grace make their dance-of-life-or-death indelible. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Glass (2019) Jonathan Romney You have to admire the nerve of Shyamalan for attempting something like this-and indeed, for choosing Glass as the title for a film so unashamedly non-transparent. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Jessica Forever (2018) Jonathan Romney Jessica Forever isn't primarily about effects or action-it's largely about feelings, and surprisingly delicate feelings at that. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Los Reyes (2018) Jonathan Romney Like the best films about the everyday, Los Reyes makes us reassess our ideas of what is and isn't interesting in the world. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Between the Lines (1977) Jonathan Romney Between the Lines is barely about a newspaper at all, more about a bunch of youngish people whose energies are running out, as American counterculture itself had run their course, with the '80s and its hard-nosed principles about to kick in. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Transit (2018) Jonathan Romney Ironically, a film with this title is about people locked in stasis: people are always too early or too late for the boats that would transport them. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Da xiang xi di er zuo (2018) Jonathan Romney One thing that you shouldn't expect from An Elephant Sitting Still is some artless, ragged cry of rage: despite its bleakness and its visual and tonal austerity, this is a film of extraordinary beauty, invention, and grace. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Climax (2018) Michael Koresky In the latest goofy provocation from a director who never saw a space-dank dungeon or sunny bedroom-upon which he couldn't unleash a swirly-twirly camera, Noé puts a pansexual, multicultural dance troupe through its paces before sending them to hell. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Lords of Chaos (2018) Christina Newland As this gang of asshole teenagers thrash and headbang their way into a litany of gruesome behavior, Åkerlund regards them with both mild detachment and fully fleshed-out detail. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Sophia Antipolis (2018) Naomi Keenan O'Shea In the face of mounting violence, environmental degradation, and insurmountable, private loneliness, Vernier examines the search for cohesion-political, social, spiritual, and corporeal-as a deeply human endeavor. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Ash Is Purest White (2018) Abby Sun Despite its sprawling, two-decade timeline and big budget, Ash Is Purest White is far more than a greatest hits compilation for Jia as he thankfully returns to his strengths after the transcontinental excess of Mountains May Depart. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Combat Obscura (2018) Jonathan Romney This remarkable film comes across as war's backstage story-it's about the stuff they leave out of the official coverage. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Girl (2018) Nick Davis Unfortunately, despite strenuous pretenses of compassion, Girl's escalating obsessions reprise long histories of cruel, transphobic storytelling. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
High Flying Bird (2019) Mark Asch A film abuzz with topicality, balancing perspectives on black identity and its link to entrepreneurship, personal branding, and "storytelling." EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Ahlat Agaci (2018) Yonca Talu Recalling the metaphorical lyricism of Ceylan's early films, this is a rare moment where the director trusts ambience over prose. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Everybody Knows (2018) Steven Mears The distractingly oft-repeated title seems to herald an unfortunate new approach to imparting information for Farhadi: everybody will know everything, even if it means clumsy exposition, heavy-handed foreshadowing, and redundancy. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Sorry Angel (2018) Matthew Connolly Honoré largely adheres to a restrained visual palette, mirroring his evenhanded vision of queer kinship. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Hotel by the River (2018) Andrew Chan For all its solemn beauty, Hotel by the River is lax and under-imagined compared to Hong's masterpieces. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Greta (2018) Amy Taubin A contemporary gothic fairy tale, slight and scary, Greta is unmistakably a Neil Jordan film, if not quite on the level of The Crying Game and The End of the Affair, or as idiosyncratic as The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Gloria Bell (2018) Molly Haskell There is a kind of daring in the film's very modesty, in Lelio's decision to forego the thrills of melodrama and the lure of glamour to follow an unexceptional woman through the peaks and valleys of her days. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Black Mother (2018) José Teodoro With its almost palpable earnestness and its reverence for the community it's depicting, Black Mother can't help but generate goodwill. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
The Juniper Tree (1991) Mark Asch Keene is doing the right kind of critical revisionism-reframing the uncanny, contorted alien logic of folktales within a politically updated dynamic, offering her own interpretation of an old story while honoring its lingering richness. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
One (2000) Gavin Smith One's stubborn resistance to dramatic artifice, its deliberate pacing and unexpressive-or rather, unemphatic-naturalism, leave it teetering on the brink of vapidity. EDIT
Posted Feb 26, 2019
Cold War (2018) Ela Bittencourt Poland has seen more than its share of war, and of the art and cinema of exile. Pawel Pawlikowski's latest feature, Cold War, is a spirited albeit flawed entry in this category. EDIT
Posted Jan 18, 2019
Welcome to Marwen (2018) Michael Sragow The partnership between Zemeckis and Carell is ... what keeps Welcome to Marwen from falling off its own high wire-and finally brings the movie home. EDIT
Posted Jan 11, 2019
Buffalo Boys (2018) Michael Sragow Set in 1860, it's ... a good-looking, erratic, cartoonish, and ultimately rousing ultraviolent Indonesian Western. EDIT
Posted Jan 11, 2019
Las herederas (2018) Jonathan Romney [A] psychologically acute portrait of a relationship that is solid and tender but that has been in a rut for too long... EDIT
Posted Jan 11, 2019
Nico, 1988 (2017) Jonathan Romney Overall, this kind of compassionate dismantling of Nico the myth is done with insight, tenderness, and clear-eyed realism. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2018
Sicilian Ghost Story (2017) Michael Sragow It is by far the best trip the recent cinema has taken 'into the woods.' EDIT
Posted Nov 30, 2018
Happy as Lazzaro (2018) Jonathan Romney It's so traditional that it feels decades old, at the very least, yet it's one of the freshest films of the year. EDIT
Posted Nov 30, 2018
Outlaw King (2018) Michael Sragow For all its melodramatic tension and visceral force, the movie lacks the sturdy vision or conviction that would connect the audience to it emotionally. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2018
A Private War (2018) Michael Sragow Colvin once summarized the ultimate challenge of her missions this way: "The real difficulty is having enough faith in humanity that someone will care." A Private War is such a testament of faith. EDIT
Posted Nov 9, 2018
Colette (2018) Lauren Kaminsky Colette is a not a film about a writer; it's about a marriage. EDIT
Posted Oct 31, 2018
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) Teo Bugbee As Lee, McCarthy offers a committed, slightly corny case for the dramatic viability of her post-Bridesmaids superstardom. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2018
Bisbee '17 (2018) Mark Asch Bisbee '17 speaks to the stakes of local history and amateur genealogy for places and people that are twinkling out of living memory. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2018
I Am Not a Witch (2017) Kelley Dong Nyoni teases our assumptions of culpability. She paints portraits of implied mysticism with elegance and precision, slowing time and framing the girl as the center of the film's universe-not a witch, but a force to be reckoned with nevertheless. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2018
High Life (2018) Jonathan Romney For now, I'll settle for saying that the shock and richness of High Life are wonderfully enchanting and perplexing. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2018
Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) Jonathan Romney It's a best-of-the-'60s jukebox, but it has a few hit tunes among the duds, and some enjoyable surprise B-sides that you really don't expect Goddard to spin. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2018
First Man (2018) Michael Sragow Chazelle and Singer have created a grueling, prosaic, state-of-the-art docudrama (no imagination allowed) with the heart of a male weepie. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2018
Classical Period (2018) Jonathan Romney A film shot and edited this sparely, this focused on word and idea, this comprehensively filleted of narrative, always comes across as at the very least a palate cleanser. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2018
They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) Jonathan Romney On one level a sincere memorial in images and sound. On another, like all his work, it is first and foremost a special effects movie...The color makes certain images indisputably tangible... EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2018
Border (2018) Devika Girish Border is less invested in glib symbolism or political commentary than in the specific, felt experience of being adrift between social boundaries and categories. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2018
Shirkers (2018) Jonathan Romney On one level, Shirkers is a memoir - a fond, self-deprecating mulling-over of Tan's crazy, inspired, partly embarrassing but furiously creative youth. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2018
Mid90s (2018) Michael Sragow The film has a sketchbook quality, but Hill does something very difficult: he sustains the alternation of intense claustrophobia and release. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2018