Two of the year's best performances are being pushed for the wrong Oscar categories 

When Debra Granik’s touching and truthful Leave No Trace premiered at the Sundance Film Festival one year ago today, a few writers and media outlets began loudly asking a leading question: Was Thomasin McKenzie, the film’s largely unknown 17-year-old star, “the next Jennifer Lawrence?” It was a reductive and imperfect…

Claire Foy and Damien Chazelle on the joys of working together for First Man

The unsung hero of First Man—one of our favorite films of 2018—is Claire Foy’s Janet Armstrong, one of the most public faces of NASA families during the Apollo program and the long suffering wife of Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling). Ahead of the film’s Blu-ray release next Tuesday, we sat down with Foy and director…

If the Oscars valued smart comic acting, Rachel McAdams would be a shoo-in for Game Night

It’s been nearly two years now since Marisa Tomei was finally released from prison. Not an actual prison, obviously (though taking a role in Wild Hogs arguably constituted a federal offense), but a ludicrous penalty box of our collective imagination. After deservedly being named Best Supporting Actress at the 1993…

Here's how A Quiet Place was brought to life with sound design

It’s safe to say that A Quiet Place wouldn’t work without the excellent sound design from supervising sound editors, Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn. The two have been working together for over a decade, sharing a pair of Oscar nominations for their sound editing work on Argo and Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and…

The Standoff At Sparrow Creek is a lean, efficient, and disturbingly timely crime thriller

B+

It’s impossible to make a movie about a militia without at least a faint aroma of the political. It’s not even an “...in the age of Trump” issue; heavily armed right-wing paramilitary organizations of the type depicted in The Standoff At Sparrow Creek have been hovering in the background of the American cultural…

There’s room for a little originality in the Oscar race for Best Adapted Screenplay

For much of the past 25 years, the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay has functioned as a consolation prize given to movies too personal, unusual, or inventive—which is to say, too good—to win (or in some cases even get nominated for) the big Best Picture prize. Pulp Fiction, Fargo, Almost Famous, Lost In…

The A.V. Club’s 25 most anticipated movies of 2019

Hope springs eternal at The A.V. Club, at least when it comes to pop culture. The environment may be screwed, democracy may be endangered, the world itself may be forever inching toward fiery self-destruction, but we approach every new year with the same optimism that Calvin and Hobbes expressed in their final…

The director of Attack The Block gets family-friendly with the uneven The Kid Who Would Be King

C+

The Kid Who Would Be King, the English writer-director Joe Cornish’s family-friendly take on the King Arthur legend, might be smarter that the average live-action kids’ movie, but it’s hamstrung by a lack of visual imagination and a generic script. It starts promisingly enough. After an animated prologue about the…

An award-winning lead performance can’t steer The Heiresses into insightful drama

C

How much sympathy should one feel for the formerly wealthy? That’s one of many questions barely explored by The Heiresses, Paraguay’s submission to the foreign-language competition at this year’s Oscars. (It didn’t make the shortlist.) The film begins with its protagonist’s decline already in progress, as Chela (Ana…

The Keanu Reeves sci-fi movie Replicas is so terrible it could give you an existential crisis

D-

Replicas, the astonishingly inept new Keanu Reeves vehicle, plays less like a science-fiction thriller than some malfunctioning computer’s unconvincing approximation of one. If you woke up in a glitching simulation, this janky garbage would be projected on every screen, possibly under the title Human Movie. One could…

Years before the Infinity War, the Avengers assembled for Marvel’s first crossover blockbuster blast

In the past decade, Hollywood has attempted to transform the franchise into something else: the cinematic universe. It’s a lofty and slightly absurd goal. Movies, we are now to understand, never exist as stand-alone stories, unless they’re arthouse flicks or Oscar bait (and even then, maybe not). They don’t exist as…

Justin Theroux talks On The Basis Of Sex and the politics of the Supreme Court

The new biographical drama On The Basis Of Sex follows the Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s early career as a lawyer, from teaching at Rutgers Law School to founding the Women’s Rights Project. In the film, Justin Theroux co-stars as Mel Wulf, the legal director of the ACLU and an early colleague of…

Kevin Hart helps Bryan Cranston loosen up in the pandering remake The Upside

C-

The Intouchables, Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano’s monster hit about the friendship between a quadriplegic white millionaire and a black ex-con, was such a formulaic crowd-pleaser that the idea of a Hollywood remake seems redundant. Yet here we are with Neil Burger’s The Upside, an adaptation that moves the story…

A Dog's Way Home is a sweet, simple family film with a bizarre morbid streak

C

Dogs, and animals in general, are one of life’s simplest pleasures. There’s a reason we turn to our pets for comfort when we’re sad, or de-stress by watching videos of happy cats and silly dogs doing their thing on social media. Animals lead their lives blissfully unaware of the existential fears that weigh on their…

Felicity Jones talks On The Basis Of Sex and meeting Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Felicity Jones stars as Ruth Bader Ginsburg in On The Basis Of Sex, a new biographical drama from screenwriter Daniel Stiepleman (who is Ginsburg’s nephew) that follows the Supreme Court Justice’s early career as a lawyer. In honor of the film’s release, we spoke with Jones about the film, and meeting the Justice for…

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