C+

Abacus: Small Enough To Jail is inessential enough to skip

It’s not uncommon nowadays to see a pleasant, very professional, mildly engaging documentary that could just as easily have been a 5,000- to 10,000-word magazine article, saving all involved the trouble of financing and making a movie. Abacus: Small Enough To Jail, which relates the interesting enough story of the…

Meet the adorable, persecuted Super Pig in the trailer for Netflix’s Okja

The new trailer for Bong Joon-Ho’s Okja actually introduces us to Okja—a “Super Pig” created to leave a minimal environmental footprint and taste “fucking good,” as Tilda Swinton’s evil CEO Lucy Mirando puts it. Okja is also really gosh darn adorable and has a sweet friendship with a girl named Mija (Seo-Hyun Ahn),…

C-

The Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series makes it to number four, but it’s a Long Haul

Here is the one and possibly only way that the middle school comedy Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul keeps the faith for hardcore cineastes: It is a theatrical release. This may not seem like a major plus; to parents tasked with escorting a group of tweens to a theater to watch this particular movie, it may seem…

We’re giving away this box of Pirates Of The Caribbean-themed goodies

Welcome back to Mailbag, a series about the sometimes weird, sometimes fun stuff we get in the mail. Today social media coordinator Julia Nelson received a box full of pirate goodies in preparation for the new film Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. We’re doing something a bit different with today’s…

Celebrate Logan on Blu-ray by winning screen-used props from the film

Logan, the latest and reportedly final chapter of the cinematic adventures of Wolverine, is out on Digital HD now, and hits Blu-ray and DVD next week. And to celebrate what our film editor A.A. Dowd calls “close to the Unforgiven of superhero cinema” and “a terrific movie, no ’comic-book’ qualifier required,” we’re…

B

The marathon-length The Woman Who Left rewards those who wait

To get the obvious out of the way: The Woman Who Left, the newest film by the independent-minded Filipino writer-director Lav Diaz, is black-and-white and 228 minutes long, with every scene directed as a static master shot, and during much of its running time (which is short by Diaz’s standards), the average viewer…

B

The Survivalist is post-apocalyptic action at its most minimalist

As wonderful as the spectacle in George Miller’s vision of the post-apocalypse may be, in reality, the end of the world would probably look less like Mad Max: Fury Road and more like The Survivalist. Set in the near future, when overpopulation has led to widespread starvation and the breakdown of society, director…

C+

The Commune is just a midlife crisis with more characters

On paper, The Commune sounds like a potentially great idea. Director Thomas Vinterberg’s career can charitably be described as erratic—anyone still dimly recall It’s All About Love, a sci-fi romance starring Joaquin Phoenix, Claire Danes, and Sean Penn?—but his one undisputed triumph, 1998’s The Celebration, deftly…

C+

The hammy Bryan Cranston performance is coming from the attic in Wakefield

“Ghosting” is the popular term for when a person simply vanishes from a relationship, leaving no word for the other party. In Robin Swicord’s Wakefield, her protagonist takes “ghosting” to the extreme. One day Howard Wakefield returns to his suburban home during a blackout, chases a raccoon into an attic, and decides…

Emma Stone and Steve Carell hold court in first Battle Of The Sexes trailer

Although our rights remain under constant attack from primarily male legislators, women can take solace in the knowledge that once upon a time, one of the top women’s tennis player was goaded into playing against a washed-up, albeit formidable pro for lots of money. Okay, that’s cold comfort, but there are only so…

C+

Andrzej Wajda’s final film, Afterimage, paints a dour portrait of a colorful artist

With his protean stylistic range and sharp nose for national and political myth, the late Andrzej Wajda was almost single-handedly responsible for bringing Polish film to international attention. But his final work, Afterimage, which he completed before his death last year at the age of 90, is only a minor effort: a…

B+

Covenant returns Alien to its horror roots

There are gross and eerie stretches in Ridley Scott’s new film, Alien: Covenant, that come closer to straight horror than any movie in this widely imitated sci-fi series has gotten since Scott’s original Alien—though maybe not the kind of horror that any devotee of all things Alien would expect. It is barely a monster…

A soundtrack, a cinematic board game, and a guide to big- and small-screen landmarks

A candidate for a future installment of Soundtracks Of Our Lives, the album spawned from the so-so Cameron Crowe film Singles is one of those records whose impact was so much more significant than its source material that it became more a commentary on the state of American music culture at the time of its release…

Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur is only fun when it’s acting like a Guy Ritchie movie

Having already put his caffeinated spin on Sherlock Holmes and the mismatched secret agents of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., director Guy Ritchie adds some cockney attitude and time-jumping comic flair to the oft-told legend of King Arthur. Trouble is, it also has to be the lavish, franchise-launching fantasy epic Warner…

Todd Haynes gets in touch with his inner child in this first look at Wonderstruck

“Family film” isn’t the first genre that leaps to mind when talking about Todd Haynes. The director of Safe, Carol, and I’m Not There tends to specialize in specifically adult preoccupations, like forbidden romance, musical legacy, drugs, sex, repression, and the toxicity of modern living. He does not, as a rule, make…

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