The New York Review of Books

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Cane River (1982) Tiana Reid Cane River offers a prescient perspective on how history lingers, and how blackness is not simply diverse in a neoliberal multiculturalist sense, but also contradictory and in conflict politically... EDIT
Posted Jun 25, 2020
Ghosts of Sugar Land (2019) Yasmin Adele Majeed Ghosts of Sugar Land is a look at the jump from boyhood to adulthood-that inevitable journey of loss. EDIT
Posted Jun 22, 2020
The Edge of Democracy (2019) Larry Rohter The Edge of Democracy is visually powerful and also benefits from behind-the-scenes access to Lula, Dilma, and their advisers that would be the envy of any filmmaker or journalist. EDIT
Posted May 29, 2020
The Wild Goose Lake (2019) Jiwei Xiao The Wild Goose Lake is not by any means the first Chinese film to be set in Wuhan, but it's rare to hear an entire cast speak the Wuhan dialect and see the city's real locations-especially its lake and "urban villages"-feature in a high-profile film. EDIT
Posted Mar 19, 2020
Burning Cane (2019) Casey Gerald If every great story ends by starting a new story, then Phillip Youmans has succeeded on two levels with Burning Cane: we want to know what Helen has done. Even more, we want to know what Mr. Youmans will do next. EDIT
Posted Mar 12, 2020
Vitalina Varela (2019) Will Noah Costa's earlier films have shown how his country's history has left Cabo Verdeans wounded in ways that even he still struggles to understand. Vitalina Varela emphasizes that, even among the people connected by this collective experience... EDIT
Posted Mar 5, 2020
() Zadie Smith The Clock is so monumental in intention and design that even the simplest things you can say about it need qualification. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2020
For Sama (2019) Robert F. Worth A remarkable documentary and important contribution to a collective portrait of the Syrian tragedy... EDIT
Posted Feb 6, 2020
The Cave (2019) Robert F. Worth ...raw and painful to watch, contain scenes of arresting intimacy... EDIT
Posted Feb 6, 2020
Three Christs (2017) Rick Moody When Avnet's film takes the same approach, and just lets them talk, it is painful, noble, and beautiful, not least because of the great performances of the three schizophrenic characters. EDIT
Posted Jan 16, 2020
Transit (2018) J. Hoberman Inhabiting a realm between the past and present, Europe and America, and also cinema and literature, [Petzold's characters] are, in Hannah Arendt's phrase, "living ghosts among the ruins of our times." EDIT
Posted Dec 19, 2019
Atlantics (2019) Tiana Reid Diop's imaginative feature exemplifies a labor politics fiercely concerned with gender and sexuality. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2019
() Adam Hochschild Byars's camera work gives you a sense of these determined true believers stalking about in pistol belts and leather vests in their snowbound citadel. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2019
Synonyms (2018) J. Hoberman ...at once an ambivalent love letter to Paris and a startling act of cinematic aggression. The camera moves are brusque. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2019
The Great Hack (2019) Tamsin Shaw The Great Hack is an important film, one that people need to see, but its account of the Cambridge Analytica operation scarcely touches the shady world of the billionaire oligarchs who are the real financial and political forces behind the scenes. EDIT
Posted Aug 30, 2019
Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood (2019) J. Hoberman [Tarantino's] most personal film, it is also the one he has hinted may be his last. If so, he will have quit while he's ahead. EDIT
Posted Aug 23, 2019
Capernaum (2018) Yasmine El Rashidi Capernaum gives a human face to conditions that exist outside the geographical purview of the wealthy. EDIT
Posted May 16, 2019
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