Salon.com

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Rating Title/Year Author
The White Tiger (2021) Gary M. Kramer A terrifically cynical yet sanguine tale of bootstrapping.... What makes this contemptuous tale glorious is that Bahrani's stinging social commentary has exuberance even during its darker moments. EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2021
One Night in Miami (2020) Melanie McFarland Here King lets narrative ingenuity permeate each frame as she remains behind the camera, drawing us inside this circle of legends, each of whom represents distinct aspects of Black identity and struggle. EDIT
Posted Jan 16, 2021
The Dig (2021) Gary M. Kramer "The Dig" is not a film for armchair archaeologists. It is more of a diversion for viewers looking for handsomely mounted period British melodrama. EDIT
Posted Jan 14, 2021
Pieces of a Woman (2020) Gary M. Kramer Mundruczó creates a mesmerizing early sequence, but the rest of his film never quite matches that intensity. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2021
Elizabeth is Missing (2019) Ashlie D. Stevens With equal parts sensitivity and suspense, Elizabeth is Missing displays an emotional range that is sometimes uncommon in crime by interweaving it with an intensely personal drama. The result is mesmerizing. EDIT
Posted Jan 6, 2021
Promising Young Woman (2020) Gary M. Kramer Fennell's film is a wish fulfillment revenge fantasy, and viewers who go along for the ride will be entertained. There is an undeniable pleasure in seeing Cassie get the best of men. EDIT
Posted Dec 24, 2020
The Midnight Sky (2020) Gary M. Kramer Clooney, who directs here, generates neither pulse nor point. His film has some visual flair, but too few emotionally engaging moments. "The Midnight Sky" is mostly a dull affair. EDIT
Posted Dec 23, 2020
News of the World (2020) Gary M. Kramer News of the World is ultimately unsatisfying. It favors earnestness and sentiment at the expense of real knowledge or feeling. The story here is nothing new, and only moderately interesting. EDIT
Posted Dec 23, 2020
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Melanie McFarland Like Ma demanded in her time, Davis claims every scene in which she's centered without dimming the performances of her co-stars. As if that were possible. EDIT
Posted Dec 21, 2020
Baby God (2020) Ashlie D. Stevens Baby God treats its subjects with dignity and empathy and, unlike Almost Family, doesn't shy away from the wreckage his legacy left behind. EDIT
Posted Dec 16, 2020
A Recipe for Seduction (2020) Ashlie D. Stevens It's simply another example of how corporate advertising continues to overtly commandeer everyday spaces like film and social media. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2020
Wander Darkly (2020) Gary M. Kramer "Wander Darkly" does allow for multiple readings, which is good, but at some point, viewers may become exhausted trying to delineate reality, and let the film just play out. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
Alabama Snake (2020) Ashlie D. Stevens Unfortunately, the film is so tightly coiled around atmospheric re-enactments -- which are undeniably evocative, but stagnating -- and an undulating "he said, she said" narrative, that it fails to deliver much of a bite. EDIT
Posted Dec 10, 2020
Stardust (2020) Gary M. Kramer As Bowie takes everything in - the dingy motel rooms, the unappreciative audience - his expressions convey the obvious: he wishes this was better. It is hard not to have the same reaction to "Stardust." EDIT
Posted Nov 25, 2020
Between the World and Me (2020) Melanie McFarland Coates' writing packs clarity into its lyricism, and at just shy of an hour and 20 minutes Forbes' film honors the book's relative economy while enriching every frame with poignance, augmented by Bradford Young's arresting cinematography. EDIT
Posted Nov 23, 2020
Belushi (2020) Melanie McFarland His fatal flaw was that he could never be completely satisfied. Fortunately anyone watching this documentary is bound to be precisely that. EDIT
Posted Nov 23, 2020
Crazy, Not Insane (2020) Melanie McFarland It's the names of the murderers that draw us as opposed to the doctor who spoke with them... But filmmaker Alex Gibney is careful to centralize Lewis and her work, creating a fascinating portrait in personality contrasts. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2020
Sarah Cooper: Everything's Fine (2020) Melanie McFarland Happily for everyone involved and the audience, it works. This is in no small part due to Cooper knowing her audience's expectations and limitations. EDIT
Posted Oct 28, 2020
Roald Dahl's The Witches (2020) Ashlie D. Stevens While Dahl's books and Zemeckis' adaptation may feel a touch too dark for some, consider that it's actually shining a light into the shadows. EDIT
Posted Oct 26, 2020
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) Melanie McFarland It is enormously entertaining and for the reasons listed above a healthy treatment to whatever anxieties plaguing us a little more than a week leading up to the election. Whatever faults it has aren't deadly. EDIT
Posted Oct 26, 2020
American Selfie: One Nation Shoots Itself (2020) Melanie McFarland The terrifying part about this documentary is that it's highly likely that any American who watches will recognize a version of themselves in here -- and Pelosi doesn't put a pretty filter on any of what her camera captures. EDIT
Posted Oct 26, 2020
Cuties (2020) Bernadette Barton We need more feminist stories like Cuties that illuminate the constraints girls and women face and help us chart a path to full gender equality. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2020
537 Votes (2020) Ashlie D. Stevens While imperfect, 537 Votes succeeds in making the tumult and social upheaval of 2000 feel fresh again, while also delivering additional nuance to the story that may have been lost over the last two decades. EDIT
Posted Oct 22, 2020
What the Constitution Means to Me (2020) Melanie McFarland Between Schreck, Ciprian, and Williams What the Constitution Means to Me becomes a hopeful vision and reminder that the Constitution a living document, but one that needs to be brought alive constantly by successive generations. EDIT
Posted Oct 19, 2020
David Byrne's American Utopia (2020) Gary M. Kramer Lee's documentary does the music and energy of the stage performance justice. The powerhouse sound of the drumming and joyful force of the songs - as well as the few political messages - come through loud and clear. EDIT
Posted Oct 17, 2020
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) Melanie McFarland It may be messy, but it's fleet-footed and it means well, and in the way of any good caper flick it extols the virtue of breaking the law for all the right reasons, come what may. EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2020
French Exit (2020) Gary M. Kramer Pfeiffer delivers a sly, elegant performance as Frances, which provides the chief pleasure of Azazel Jacobs' film, a melancholy farce adapted by Patrick DeWitt from his novel of the same name. EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2020
Totally Under Control (2020) Melanie McFarland It reconstructs recent history to remind us of how recently and quickly this pandemic changed life as we know it. Simultaneously, it calls attention to the many missed opportunities officials could have seized that may have altered the course we're on. EDIT
Posted Oct 14, 2020
Kingdom of Silence (2020) Melanie McFarland In examining Khashoggi's professional life from its beginning... to its untimely end, Rowley draws a map of how journalistic censorship can extinguish a nation's democratic ambitions almost overnight. EDIT
Posted Oct 5, 2020
On the Rocks (2020) Gary M. Kramer The father/daughter bond is why the film is so enchanting. Watching Felix and Laura eat caviar in a convertible sportscar while on a stakeout is sweet, especially when the moment segues into a comic chase scene. EDIT
Posted Oct 2, 2020
The human voice (2020) Gary M. Kramer [Almodóvar] gravitates to stories of "women on the verge," and Swinton has this ethereal quality to her that makes her fragile and headstrong simultaneously. Both are working at the height of their powers here. EDIT
Posted Sep 25, 2020
Enola Holmes (2020) Hanh Nguyen As smart as Enola is, what's more impressive is how Brown has been able to pull off such a film. Not only has she found the perfect vehicle to advance her clever and progressive image, but she's also drawn hefty talent around her. EDIT
Posted Sep 25, 2020
Nuevo Orden (2020) Gary M. Kramer Director Michel Franco's film, New Order, a stinging indictment on economic inequality, is electrifying - like a cattle prod to the nether regions. That vivid image is actually seen in one of the many disturbing sequences in this mesmerizing drama. EDIT
Posted Sep 17, 2020
Concrete Cowboy (2020) Gary M. Kramer Concrete Cowboy works best as a vehicle into the little-known and -seen world of the riders, and it is most enjoyable when it is in that world. EDIT
Posted Sep 16, 2020
() Ashlie D. Stevens That willingness to be vulnerable displayed in "Nine Lives" makes it an essential watch for fans of the musician, also serves to illuminate Ozzy and Sharon's shift in the early 2000s to television. EDIT
Posted Sep 16, 2020
This Is Paris (2020) Melanie McFarland This Is Paris isn't apt to change the minds of any Paris Hilton detractors. But as a whole, it stands as a fascinating study of what happens when a human being's personality is entirely subsumed by the construct she creates. EDIT
Posted Sep 15, 2020
Coastal Elites (2020) Melanie McFarland It's about as direct in its play to the anti-Trump crowd as it can possibly be. Nevertheless, I can't help but wonder who actually has the stomach for Rudnick's Trump-enraged quarantine view into the left-leaning electorate psyche. EDIT
Posted Sep 14, 2020
Nomadland (2020) Gary M. Kramer McDormand, who is in every scene, makes Fern as tough at the plant she named for in that she adapts and survives. The actress gives a committed performance that will likely garner her an Oscar nomination. EDIT
Posted Sep 13, 2020
Unpregnant (2020) Melanie McFarland The insouciant spirit fueling Unpregnant is admirable, in fact, and amply pumped up by Ferreira and Richardson's ebullient performances. EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2020
Mulan (2020) Nicole Clark It might have been an excellent reinterpretation, were it not so heavy-handed and, well, Disney-fied. But what remains bears minimal discernible relationship to the original, while reading too much like a basic Marvel film. EDIT
Posted Sep 4, 2020
I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020) Gary M. Kramer "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" is as provocative as it is exasperating. It may require repeated viewings to understand everything Kaufman is trying to achieve...but the prospect of sitting through this film twice just feels excruciating. EDIT
Posted Sep 3, 2020
Critical Thinking (2020) Gary M. Kramer This may be a textbook case of an inspirational teacher/underdog sports drama, but it surehandedly delivers the feels. EDIT
Posted Sep 2, 2020
#Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump (2020) Melanie McFarland Hopefully we care about these violations. Those who don't aren't going to be moved by this movie. However, #Unfit successfully makes its case concerning why Trump's psychological instability should be of concern to the public. EDIT
Posted Aug 31, 2020
Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020) Gary M. Kramer [T]o its credit, "Bill & Ted Face the Music" delivers the sweet message that music has the power to unite the world in its special-effect laden mash-up finale. EDIT
Posted Aug 28, 2020
The One and Only Ivan (2020) Melanie McFarland Whether you think of yourself as a marshmallow or believe you have a heart of steel, there's a strong probability that The One and Only Ivan is going to make you cry... or well up, at least. EDIT
Posted Aug 24, 2020
Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (2020) Hanh Nguyen Peninsula couldn't possibly have lived up to Train to Busan... Nevertheless, even with lowered expectations, Yeon's follow-up is a disappointment, from the pointless story to the zombies, who somehow have less character development than before. EDIT
Posted Aug 24, 2020
Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story (2020) Gary M. Kramer The clues, tidily packaged, explain away Kricfalusi's pathology. "Happy Happy Joy Joy" is a cautionary tale not a hagiography EDIT
Posted Aug 13, 2020
Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn (2020) Melanie McFarland Voices past and present give Storm Over Brooklyn a piercing relevance in the here and now, whether by what they're saying or what they represent. EDIT
Posted Aug 13, 2020
An American Pickle (2020) Ashlie D. Stevens Rogen's acting alongside himself is the film's most potent ingredient. In Herschel and Ben, he creates two very distinct characters with two sets of unique mannerisms. EDIT
Posted Aug 7, 2020
On the Trail: Inside the 2020 Primaries (2020) Melanie McFarland On the Trail opens the door to important conversations regarding objectivity and bias, and the deeply flawed tendency to perpetuate false equivalency in the effort to appear objective and unbiased. EDIT
Posted Aug 7, 2020