Neither right- nor left-wing, First Man plants its flag in a troubling ambivalence

It’s kind of hard to believe that First Man has been in theaters for less than a week. Hasn’t the controversy surrounding this movie been raging for a small eternity? Damien Chazelle’s biodrama about Neil Armstrong, the late astronaut and American icon, has already inspired an entire awards season’s worth of hot-take…

Aubrey Plaza leads a parade of bad taste and noir misfits in An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn

B-

To the extent that Jim Hosking’s cartoonishly grotesque characters can be called human, they paint an unflattering portrait of the species. They are dopes and bullies, middle-aged virgins and horndogs with bad hair, disgusting habits, ugly thrift-store clothes. The Greasy Strangler, his debut feature, pitched itself…

See Nicole Kidman as you've never seen her before in the Destroyer trailer

We were fans of Destroyer, director Karyn Kusama’s followup to her 2015 thriller The Invitation, when it made its North American debut at this year’s Fantastic Fest. At the time, we said that what made this particular variation on the rogue-cop movie special was the “collaboration between actress and director that…

The Price Of Everything puts the complexities of the art world on breathtaking display

A-

“I think there’s three kinds of people in this world,” says Amy Cappellazzo, chairman of the Fine Art division of Sotheby’s. “Those who see, those who see when they are shown, and those who will never see.” Seeing is the business of art, in the most sublime sense of the word. It asks the beholders to open their eyes…

Can You Ever Forgive Me? finally gives Melissa McCarthy the dramatic vehicle she deserves

A-

Yes, Melissa McCarthy was great in Bridesmaids. But ever since, she’s been stuck in a uniquely Hollywood purgatory: She’s a well-paid movie star who regularly top-lines films that open in the top 10 at the domestic box office. But she’s not the highest-paid movie star either, and her films rarely receive accolades.…

Michael Shannon is refreshingly ordinary in What They Had, a family drama with focus issues

C+

Michael Shannon is so great at playing over-the-top villains that it’s easy to forget how great he is at playing normal people, too. Writer-director Elizabeth Chomko’s debut feature, What They Had, takes great advantage of Shannon’s everyman likability, casting him as a gruff Chicago bar owner…

Mélanie Laurent makes an uneven but urgent crime drama from Nic Pizzolatto’s Galveston

B-

In the decade (nearly) since Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino has directed two films—three, if you want to count his Manson Family picture, due next summer. Mélanie Laurent, who played the vengeful Shosanna in Basterds, has since directed five features, maintaining a steady acting career all the while. It’s an…

The new Halloween isn’t just a pale imitation of the original—it’s an inferior H20

C

It should come as no surprise that Michael Myers goes back to Haddonfield in the new Halloween movie. When the escaped lunatic can, he always makes it home for the holiday. He’s a creature of habit, and so, too, is the apparently immortal Halloween series, which returns repeatedly—like a mindless, unstoppable force of…

This is Halloween: 31 more streaming options to set your October right 

As the horror genre becomes ever more mainstream, we here at The A.V. Club imagine that there are more of you than ever looking for something creepy to watch this Halloween season. And with streaming services on a similar upward cultural trajectory, we’re guessing that many, if not most, of you won’t be watching that…

Paul Dano steps behind the camera with the bland coming-of-age drama Wildlife

C+

The obvious motif that recurs throughout Wildlife, Paul Dano’s directorial debut, is that of fire. Adapted by Dano and his partner, Zoe Kazan, from Richard Ford’s 1990 novel of the same name, the film follows a teenager, Joe Brinson (Ed Oxenbould), as he grows up during the 1960s in Great Falls, Montana—prime wildfire…

Jonah Hill makes his auspicious if uneven filmmaking debut with a Mid90s nostalgia trip

B

Nostalgia will radiate off the screen for audience members of a certain age almost immediately in Mid90s, when the camera pans across a bedroom, catching sight of Ninja Turtles sheets and a Hulk Hogan pillow before settling on a kid around 13 years old. Stevie (Sunny Suljic) is in front of a mirror, nursing bruises…

The cast of Sadie is here to teach you how to sabotage your relationships

Director Megan Griffiths’ new film Sadie tells the story of a girl (Sophia Mitri Schloss) who is struggling with the fact that her mother (Castle Rock’s Melanie Lynskey) is developing feelings for another man while her father is deployed overseas, and attempts to sabotage their relationship. In part two of our…

The directors behind After Everything on exploring the unseen side of cancer

This weekend, directing duo Hannah Marks and Joey Power make their feature debut with a film from a cinematic genre with a surprisingly long history—the cancer drama. After Everything follows the 23-year-old Elliot (Shameless’ Jeremy Allen White), who receives a damning diagnosis and meets love interest Mia (It Follows

The director of The Raid doesn't tone things down one bit for the gory folk-horror of Apostle 

B-

Gareth Evans’ The Raid: Redemption is frequently—and rightfully—cited as a watershed moment, leading the way for a new wave of action cinema that emphasizes intensely violent, visceral set pieces over all. It’s a film that asks: Who needs a complicated plot when you’ve got neck-snapping, bone-crunching violence? Of…

Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet anchor the father-son addiction drama Beautiful Boy

B

“Relapse is a part of recovery.” That’s what the specialist at the clinic tells David Sheff (Steve Carell) the first time his teenage son, Nic (Timothée Chalamet), runs out on rehab. To this distraught parent, it sounds like a canned platitude—and maybe it is, at least in the sense that they dust it off every time…

Tony Hale, Melanie Lynskey, and Megan Griffiths talk about working together on their new film

Director Megan Griffiths’ new film Sadie tells the story of a girl (Sophia Mitri Schloss) who is struggling with the fact that her mother (Castle Rock’s Melanie Lynskey) is developing feelings for another man while her father is deployed overseas. At the premiere of the film, we spoke with the director and cast about …