The New York Review of Books

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Pulp Fiction (1994) Sarah Kerr These days a genuine movie surprise is so rare that it feels like a gift. EDIT
Posted Apr 8, 2019
Ex Libris: The New York Public Library (2017) Sue Halpern A picaresque tour of the grandest people's palace of all: the New York Public Library system. EDIT
Posted Apr 1, 2019
Napszállta (2018) J. Hoberman Sunset is suspenseful and absorbing, if also repetitive and, at 140 minutes, a bit overlong. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2019
Boyhood (2014) Dan Chiasson Only a sliver of every frame of this film is "fiction," and sometimes it seems the least important part. EDIT
Posted Mar 20, 2019
Ikiru (1952) Pico Iyer Somehow it still touches on a world that grows deeper within me every autumn, even as its themes and props encircle me. EDIT
Posted Mar 20, 2019
The Missing Picture (2013) Richard Bernstein To make up for the pictures we don't have, Panh uses small clay figurines, hundreds of them, painted, clothed, with individual expressions on their faces, and placed in meticulously detailed dioramas that he seems to have reconstructed from memories... EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
Broken Embraces (2009) Sarah Kerr Broken Embraces moves us with flashes of real beauty. But somehow, instead of setting up house in our memory it departs quickly and lightly when it is done. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) Luc Sante The Coen brothers are nonpareil pastiche artists, capable of burrowing deeply enough into the cultural gestalt of particular moments of twentieth-century America to render a facsimile that feels right without being slavish. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
Churchill (2017) Geoffrey Wheatcroft These movies tend to have a tenuous basis in fact. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
Darkest Hour (2017) Geoffrey Wheatcroft Although Darkest Hour has already garnered critical praise and may prove a greater success, it is in some ways a more dangerous warping of the truth. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
Ivory Tower (2014) David Bromwich ...an elusive value that Ivory Tower conveys through other words and images: Universities exist not to answer the question but to register and reiterate its force. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
At Berkeley (2013) Stephen Greenblatt The feeling evoked by this fantastic swarm of activity, constructed around the life of the mind, has sustained me now for more than a half-century. Wiseman's documentary captures at least something of its wonder and also-alas-of its fragility. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
Something in the Air (2012) Luc Sante Something in the Air is an alluring picture, lithe and flowing, wonderful to look at, endlessly sensual in its evocations of youth and pleasure. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
Caesar Must Die (2012) Geoffrey O'Brien The determination-at times it seems close to anguish-with which they seize that opportunity reenacts what must have been the astonishing force and challenge launched by the actors who first played Julius Caesar. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
Dunkirk (2017) Max Hastings It possesses many of the virtues and vices of Steven Spielberg's epics, wrapped in a Union flag instead of the Stars and Stripes. It looks terrific, though it is noisier than any battle I have ever attended. It contains some adequate acting... EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
Before Midnight (2013) Dan Chiasson I was equally drawn to and repelled by the characters on the screen and the real people, mewling and squirming, in the seats of the theater. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
Before Sunset (2004) Dan Chiasson Before Sunset is a great film, great for the ways it transforms and enlarges the conceit of the single night together to allow for years of elapsed time. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
Before Sunrise (1995) Dan Chiasson The films have always been about the marvels and limitations of impersonation, since behind Jesse and Céline we see Hawke and Delpy, celebrities whose stars were bright already in the first film and have intensified, owing partly to this series... EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
Wonder Woman (2017) Zoe Heller The imperative to eradicate any hint of bossiness or anger from her character weighs heavily on the film, threatening to turn it into one long, dispiriting exercise in allaying male fears about powerful women. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
A Separation (2011) Anonymous The grim irony at the heart of Farhadi's film is that the angst and perplexity are the fruit of a "sacred" republic of ideals. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
Muscle Shoals (2013) Andrew Martin There is an over-reliance on commentary by platitude-spouting rock stars...but the film's great virtue is that it will introduce and remind viewers of the wonderfully varied trove of music that came out of these studios. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
My Night at Maud's (1969) Geoffrey O'Brien Rohmer's work will be around to contemplate for a long time-to contemplate with endless curiosity and pleasure-or so one would like to think. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
Wuthering Heights (2011) Francine Prose I found myself wondering how anyone could have been convinced that what the culture needed was yet another cinematic treatment of Emily Brontë's novel. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
The Great Beauty (2013) Alexander Stille A self-conscious twenty-first century version of the Fellini classic, La Grande Bellezza is a visual feast, one of the relatively few films that takes full advantage of the extraordinary, almost hallucinatory beauty of Rome. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
Pickup on South Street (1953) J. Hoberman Insanely slangy, deliriously hard-boiled noir... EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
Spring Breakers (2012) J. Hoberman Spring Breakers is a crowd-pleaser, although given its confounding creepiness, the crowd it pleases most is surely the forty-year-old filmmaker's intellectual fan base. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
A Quiet Passion (2016) Christopher Benfey In A Quiet Passion, [Davies] has elicited a remarkable performance from Cynthia Nixon. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
eXistenZ (1999) J. Hoberman It's striking that eXistenZ, a send-up of computer games that parodied The Matrix avant la lettre, and one of the great underappreciated movies of the late 1990s, yields the richest trove of relics. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
Silence (2016) Ian Buruma The struggle to reconcile spirit with the flesh, to find deeper meaning in the lives of sinners, is a more powerful one. It inspired Endō to write a great novel, and Scorsese to make a great film. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) Christian Caryl It's hard to maintain that sense of adventure when you're ticking off points on a checklist. It's fashionable to badmouth the prequels, but at least you could see Lucas working to develop the story, teasing out the implications of his created cosmos. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
Shoah (1985) Timothy Snyder When we identify with victims, we believe we see ourselves, but perhaps we are simply looking away. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
Embrace of the Serpent (2015) Nathaniel Rich It is a glorious excursion, full of beauty and wonder, but it leaves its viewers more unsettled than before. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
La La Land (2016) Geoffrey O'Brien I left the theater, if not enchanted or swept away then at the very least diverted and perked up. I had been irrationally touched near the beginning by a shot of Stone standing alone on a hilly street in Los Angeles at night. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
Leviathan (2014) Masha Gessen The film is riveting, visually and dramatically. It is also precise about Russia... EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
Mr. Turner (2014) Jenny Uglow What a fine film it is: rich, enjoyable, imaginative, faithful to Turner's spirit. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
The Imitation Game (2014) Christian Caryl To be honest, I'm a bit surprised that there hasn't been more pushback against The Imitation Game by intelligence professionals, historians, and survivors of Turing's circle. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
American Sniper (2014) J. Hoberman For many, I suspect, American Sniper may be weirdly liberating-gratifying a perhaps hitherto unsuspected desire to see their pessimism, hopeless and unchanging, projected on the screen. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
Il capitale umano (2013) Alexander Stille Human Capital is a taut, cleverly tailored piece of filmmaking. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
Arabian Nights: Volume 3 -- The Enchanted One (2015) Adam Thirlwell Viewed through the haze of Gomes's film, the book emerges as a sumptuous, hyper version of the filmmaker's previous works-above all, in the way that it offers lessons in stories that require the presence of another story. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
Cemetery of Splendor (2015) Gabriel Winslow-Yost By far the most nakedly political film of Weerasethakul's career, it is a gentle, open-hearted story of human connection, and it is underlain at every moment by rage and dread. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
Eye in the Sky (2015) David Cole Eye in the Sky provides an illuminating and provocative exploration of the moral challenges this new form of warfare has created. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
Love & Friendship (2016) Adam Thirlwell It's a novel transformed into cinema, but it's also a film that has allowed itself to be contaminated by literature. And that is the rarer, and greater, achievement. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
Phantom Thread (2017) J. Hoberman Anderson makes movies that may refuse to explain themselves but nevertheless manage to engage the viewer, in part because he tends to cut from confined spaces to open ones as if inviting us to enter them. EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2019
The Long Day Closes (1992) J. Hoberman The Long Day Closes is essentially Davies's distilled recollection of himself at 11, a seemingly friendless child in a dismal working-class Liverpool, transfixed by his experience of the cinema. EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2019
The Connection (1961) J. Hoberman The Connection is not a great movie but it is a singular and multi-faceted historical artifact. EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2019
Much Ado About Nothing (2012) Stephen Greenblatt In a curious way, the central figure in the splendid new film of Much Ado About Nothing is the house in which the events unfold. EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2019
Tomorrow Night (1998) Adam Thirlwell If Tomorrow Night creates such double vision and disturbance, it's just another proof that the discontinuity and strangeness that marks Louis CK's comic, casual art is-like the best art-not just virtuosic, but gruesomely (and brilliantly) true. EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2019
Menashe (2017) Ruth Margalit For a film that focuses on parent-child relations in the wake of a tragic death, Menashe remarkably eschews sentimentality or lazy conjecture. EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2019
2016: Obama's America (2012) J. Hoberman D'Souza is loath to give offense to what he seemingly regards as America's dominant culture. Indeed, one might just as easily interpret the entirety of 2016 as evidence of D'Souza over-compensation with regards to his feeling of post-colonial... EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2019
Nebraska (2013) Geoffrey O'Brien An authentic pathos is extracted with great skill from in between the constant jabbing notation of gesture and attitude and manners; which is to say that Payne seems a true comic artist of the oldest and most deadly serious kind. EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2019