4Columns

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
The Story of a Three-Day Pass (1967) A.S. Hamrah It has a special place among 1960s movies-it is neither American nor French, but a unique example of filmmaking from the Black diaspora, with a particular, even fragile viewpoint and artistry. It stands on its merits as an excellent film. EDIT
Posted May 7, 2021
The Leather Boys (1963) Sukhdev Sandhu What the film gets spot on is milieu. Its London streets are monotonous brick barracks. The houses reek of boiled potatoes, unwashed curtains, endless resentment. What hungry soul wouldn't want to flee? Or hear the engines of motorbikes as siren calls? EDIT
Posted Apr 30, 2021
Gunda (2020) Melissa Anderson While Gunda exhibits tremendous empathy, it does not indulge in anthropomorphism or court sentimental responses. To further preempt such mawkishness, Kossakovsky shot it in b/w. The pink body of a piglet is thus less likely to elicit awwww than awe. EDIT
Posted Apr 26, 2021
Clockwatchers (1997) Melissa Anderson A downbeat yet pungent comedy about the indignities of temp life, the film keenly dissects the tenuousness of camaraderie forged among those deemed disposable, and quietly but unequivocally diagnoses the ills of end-of-millennium corporate culture. EDIT
Posted Apr 16, 2021
A Tale of Springtime (1989) Michelle Orange The film's aesthetic is one of private interiors, the spaces that serve as vessels for our lives, if not for time itself...Rohmer extracts from what amounts to chronic human dithering a story of transience and possibility. EDIT
Posted Apr 2, 2021
Rosebud (1975) Melissa Anderson I am drawn not to the heights of Preminger's oeuvre but to the oddities and misfires that clot his late-period output...his penultimate movie, Rosebud, offers some thrills, especially for those who cherish incongruities. EDIT
Posted Mar 26, 2021
The Intruder (2004) Erika Balsom An expansive reflection on the pleasures and dangers of boundary violation...Human and animal, past and present, life and death, dreams and waking life: in L'intrus, every threshold is there to be crossed. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2021
Center Stage (1992) Andrew Chan Few biopics have so eloquently interrogated the very foundations of the genre: our desire for intimacy with the stars and our sense of being entitled to knowledge of their personal lives. EDIT
Posted Mar 5, 2021
Minari (2020) Melissa Anderson Compassionate, composed, and largely scraped of sentimentality, Chung's warm act of recollection seeks not to exalt or vilify but to empathize. EDIT
Posted Feb 26, 2021
Nationtime (1972) Melissa Anderson Although Nationtime hews closely to the conventions of nonfiction filmmaking-a fly-on-the-wall perspective dominates-the documentary showcases Greaves's gifts for capturing the ways that energy shifts and ricochets among groups of people. EDIT
Posted Feb 19, 2021
Demonlover (2002) Nick Pinkerton The movie carries you along with a queasy momentum and a corybantic, flitting multitasker's eye for offhand detail. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2021
Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993) Andrew Chan A singer's movie for the ages, one with virtually no contemporary rivals. It feels like a film that could have been made only by people who understand on an intuitive level why we sing in the first place. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2021
Just Don't Think I'll Scream (2019) Melissa Anderson While the visual component of Just Don't Think I'll Scream is characterized by the unrecognizable, the arcane, the audio element coheres as a stream of facts, dates, events, lucid thoughts and connections. EDIT
Posted Jan 29, 2021
Ammonite (2020) Melissa Anderson A tale of corsets and cunnilingus, this sapphic drama illustrates the problems that arise when the message becomes the medium...its outrage over injustice is as blunt as its sex scenes, which have the estranging effect of being both explicit and opaque. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
Stardust (2020) Melissa Anderson Stardust reaches a nadir in the already debased genre of rock-star docudramas. Low-budget LARPing, the film may be most memorable for the number of wigs that seem to have been scraped out of the bottom of a Party City remainder bin. EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2020
Room at the Top (1959) Melissa Anderson One of the bleakest movies I know, Room at the Top also ranks among the sultriest: a wildfire smoldering in a desolate landscape. Director Jack Clayton deftly showcases the lust-drunk faces and entangled bodies of protagonists Joe and Alice. EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2020
Smooth Talk (1985) Michelle Orange With its unlikely note of resolution, the coda in particular belies the adaptation's larger insistence on nuance, ambiguity, what even a young girl knows, without knowing, to be irresolvable. EDIT
Posted Nov 6, 2020
Time (2020) Lauren Michele Jackson The highly collaborative nature of the filmmaking is made plain, inviting the audience to appreciate the final product as a collectively assembled work. Fox, no one's specimen, has been constructing the proper frame for her family's story for decades. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2020
Martin Eden (2019) Melissa Anderson In his brash, vivid adaptation, Pietro Marcello has unmoored the text from its original country and era, boldly reimagining Jack London's alter ego as a Neapolitan seafarer in a deliberately imprecise time, roughly post-World War I to the 1970s. EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2020
Irma Vep (1996) Melissa Anderson An exhilarating film that happens to be about moviemaking itself, Olivier Assayas's sinuous, kinetic, waggish Irma Vep is an oblique, supremely enjoyable course in movie history. EDIT
Posted Oct 9, 2020
You've Got Mail (1998) Hanif Abdurraqib The most worthwhile tension in You've Got Mail lies in the simple but pure ecstasy of receiving an email from a person you are excited about. Long live the parts of the film that refurbish the excitement of our sometimes-misguided yearnings. EDIT
Posted Oct 2, 2020
Losing Ground (1982) Melissa Anderson Defined by a nimble élan and piercing wit, Collins's movie ranks as one of the best about a marriage between two ambitious members of the creative class. EDIT
Posted Sep 25, 2020
Town Bloody Hall (1980) Johanna Fateman We witness a debate on a topic as big as the world in Town Bloody Hall, one with no fixed terms or single proposition. The tension is ambient, abstract, roaming; the camera seems to scan the room wildly in hopes of catching it flare. EDIT
Posted Sep 21, 2020
Cabaret (1972) Michelle Orange I was an instant convert to Fosse's Cabaret: it was and is nothing but the movie for me. It concentrates Fosse's interest in stories about style-its power to define and transform, to dominate and subdue. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2020
Sibyl (2019) Melissa Anderson A film filled with quick-witted observations about vanity and delusion (self- and otherwise), Sibyl bracingly concludes with no moral to impart, no character truly redeemed. EDIT
Posted Sep 14, 2020
My Man Godfrey (1936) Sarah Resnick Arguably the best of these reliably eat-the-rich films...the film's satirical edge emerges from its pillorying of the propertied classes and the empty promise of economic recovery. EDIT
Posted Jun 19, 2020
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (1982) Melissa Anderson Corinne's inconsistencies play out in a film that abounds with them, tensions and discrepancies that likely reflect the conflicting visions of its makers but that take nothing away from the movie's feral vigor. EDIT
Posted Jun 19, 2020
Fourteen (2019) Melissa Anderson The rare movie that intelligently and compassionately honors the push-pull dynamic between two young women, a pair of Brooklynites whose tight bond began when they were children but is starting to fray. EDIT
Posted May 22, 2020
Luis Bunuel's Robinson Crusoe (1954) Nick Pinkerton Observing the figure of Crusoe in the round, Buñuel finds the prismatic reflections of all manner of hermits, cranks, and holy fools. EDIT
Posted May 8, 2020
My Favorite Season (1993) Melissa Anderson My Favorite Season-Deneuve's third film with director André Téchiné, and which he cowrote expressly for her-gives the actress one of the richest, most equitable relationships she's ever shared with a male co-lead. EDIT
Posted Apr 24, 2020
The Clock (1945) Andrew Chan Like all the best melodramas, it shows us how society is set up to keep our hopelessly ambiguous interior worlds in check. But all you have to do is look at Garland to feel that racing pulse beneath the skin...she knew that love is anxiety. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2020
The Conversation (1974) A.S. Hamrah The coldest, most alienated Hollywood film from an era of suspicion and anxiety, a time in American life when we realized that ordinary discourse had to be decoded, that the unseen forces controlling our lives were sinister, and knowledge was fragmentary. EDIT
Posted Mar 23, 2020
Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) Melissa Anderson Refusing to grandstand, Hittman has made a vital film about the perils of female adolescence in a country rank with hypocrisy, hysteria, and worse about sexually active young women. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2020
Vitalina Varela (2019) Andrew Chan Vitalina Varela, for all the psychic and economic devastation it depicts, is beautiful to the point of being ravishing. EDIT
Posted Feb 21, 2020
I Was at Home, But (2019) Melissa Anderson Schanelec creates a subdued, cryptic domestic drama-one denuded of the histrionics typically associated with the genre but one that nevertheless gives a real sense, if only in glimpses, of the burdens and joys of this Schöneberg household. EDIT
Posted Feb 14, 2020
Cane River (1982) Nick Pinkerton What Jenkins is after in his 1982 film is a granular, micro regionalism, one that's measured in acres, surnames, and property lines...the film is filled with the pleasures of specificity. EDIT
Posted Feb 7, 2020
New York, New York (1977) Melissa Anderson The look and sound of 'New York, New York' may rapturously bring to mind any number of postwar MGM marvels. But its mood suggests outtakes from a scorching psychodrama, rushes from a documentary of a couple imploding. EDIT
Posted Jan 31, 2020
Beanpole (2019) Melissa Anderson Balagov, in thrall to the debased visual motifs of depicting agony, ends up banalizing the women and the era he wishes to honor. EDIT
Posted Jan 24, 2020
Little Women (2019) Michelle Orange Vital, bodied performances further the sense of characters who will exercise their will not on the hidden hills to which "independent" women are typically consigned but in the world, who will pass into womanhood not just still living but alive. EDIT
Posted Jan 13, 2020
Little Joe (2019) Melissa Anderson Just as the formal and technical aspects of Little Joe ensure its consistent mystery and surprise, so too does the film's genre fluidity guarantee that no one theme is overinvested with meaning. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2019
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) Melissa Anderson If the film lurches at times with schematic dudgeon-devolving into a checklist of coolly outraged points to be made-it also gloriously blooms as a tale of lesbian ardor. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2019
Duet for Cannibals (1969) Wayne Koestenbaum Susan Sontag's first film begins with the sound of repeated knocking or hammering...Sontag knocks on cinema's door: she wants to spank cinema but also to be granted admission to its fecundating chamber. EDIT
Posted Nov 22, 2019
Atlantics (2019) Melissa Anderson Diop's film, her first feature, isn't only one thing or beholden to a sole genre. Nested within this tale of the reanimated dead is a mythic romance and a coldly furious allegory about the migrant crisis. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2019
The Irishman (2019) Melissa Anderson This opera seria about decay is handled with utmost brio, vivified by the signature élan of one of American cinema's most enduring big-canvas filmmakers. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2019
Marriage Story (2019) Sarah Resnick I felt that I was watching "acting"- since his protagonists are show people, Baumbach has allowed them more theatricality, thus risking the naturalism he wanted to portray. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2019
Synonymes (2018) Melissa Anderson Mercier, who appears in nearly every scene, is a consistently galvanic presence. EDIT
Posted Oct 25, 2019
Downtown 81 (2000) Melissa Anderson Viewers of 'Downtown 81' become de facto archaeologists. We peer into long-since-shuttered clubs, and gaze at rubble-filled lower Manhattan blocks where a Whole Foods or Capital One bank may now stand. EDIT
Posted Oct 18, 2019
Joker (2019) Nick Pinkerton A film that takes on the nigh-impossible task of smuggling transgressive underground danger into a contemporary, risk-averse multiplex tentpole package. EDIT
Posted Oct 11, 2019
Parasite (2019) Andrew Chan At the core of this film is an us-vs-them solidarity that makes even its most contrived narrative payoffs reverberate with emotional authenticity. EDIT
Posted Oct 4, 2019
Pain and Glory (2019) Melissa Anderson The profound melancholy that suffuses the film results from two artists contending with their senescence, with their prolific careers and their attendant triumphs and misfires. EDIT
Posted Sep 27, 2019