George Clooney clumsily grafts a social-issues drama onto an old Coen brothers caper

There’s a certain bizarro-world fascination to seeing one filmmaker dust off another’s ancient, un-filmed project. Think Steven Spielberg trying his hand at a Stanley Kubrick movie, or Sylvain Chomet bringing to life an old Jacques Tati script through the wonders of animation. In theory, George Clooney, that full-time…

Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon electrify in first trailer for The Current War 

Either because he’s become a hero of the internet or because he was played by David Bowie in The Prestige, Nikola Tesla has become the superstar of the quest to bring electricity to the world, and while this trailer for The Current War emphasizes Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, Tesla’s brief appearance does set…

Shia LaBeouf harnesses his assholery to play the most hated man in tennis on opening night of TIFF

The Toronto International Film Festival has always been known as much for its quantity as its quality. Hundreds of movies from around the world screen here every September, crammed tight like sardines into an 11-day schedule, some yanked from the major fests that fall before it on the calendar. But in 2017, TIFF seems…

Drew Goddard to write and direct Deadpool spin-off X-Force 

X-Force, the team-based spin-off of the Deadpool movies, is starting to take shape. We previously learned that it would feature Josh Brolin’s Cable and Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool, and that it would be a separate thing from the many other Deadpool and X-Men sequels that are in the works. Now, Deadline is reporting that…

You can’t go Home Again (and should probably stay away the first time)

C-

Yes, there’s something to be said for escapism. Not every movie has to engage with the big issues of the day. Sometimes you’re more in the mood for a cinematic soufflé than a dry-rubbed onscreen steak. All that being said, however, if your idea of conflict is that three young filmmakers’ agents are getting them too…

Frederick Wiseman heads to the New York Public Library for another overstuffed nonfiction epic

B

Some artists lose their drive with age. Not Frederick Wiseman. If anything, the octogenarian documentarian has only grown more ambitious as he’s grown older. Half a century after Titicut Follies, his films now regularly stretch past the three-hour mark, in part because he’s increasingly selected hugely expansive…

Matt Damon shrinks in Alexander Payne's Downsizing, but it's the film's vision that's too small

In Alexander Payne’s toothless science-fiction comedy Downsizing (Grade: C), living large means living small. Ten years after the invention of a miracle technology, designed to solve the planet’s intensifying overpopulation problem, people begin shrinking themselves down to around five inches tall—though not, mind…

From Grindhouse to The Deuce: A decade of disrepute

Ten years ago, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez released Grindhouse, a double feature of the kind of exploitation insanity so often promised on bold, in-your-face ’70s poster art, but so rarely realized in actual ’70s films. (Perhaps the most egregious example of this bait-and-switch is 1971’s Werewolves On…

Jonathan Pryce goes from Game Of Thrones to the Vatican for Netflix's The Pope

It’s been a while since Jonathan Pryce’s High Sparrow got blown up on Game Of Thrones, but now he’s once again returning to the high-stakes world of religious intrigue with a new Netflix original movie called The Pope. That comes from Deadline, which says Pryce will play Pope Francis, the current guy in the big hat…

Big-game documentary Trophy hunts for answers but comes back empty-handed

B-

Which sounds more painful to watch, for those sensitive to animal suffering: a deer being shot for sport, or a rhinoceros being forcibly held down and having its horn sawed off? Trophy, a documentary about the uneasy, seemingly oxymoronic junction of big-game hunting and conservation efforts, kicks off by showing both…

The normally infallible Dardennes trip over The Unknown Girl’s murder mystery

B-

They find her down by the banks of the Meuse: a teenager, dead from a blow to the head, no identification on her. She is the unknown girl of The Unknown Girl, and though we really only see her twice, in a photograph and in a quick flash of surveillance footage, she casts a long shadow over this latest drama from…

School Life documents the school you wish you’d attended

B+

The documentary School Life originally had a much more provocative title, In Loco Parentis, which is a legal term that means “in the place of parents.” It implies, however vaguely, something lacking in a child’s mother and/or father—and School Life doesn’t spend much time on parents at all. Instead, the focus of this…

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Apple and Amazon join the war for James Bond's distribution rights 

Back in April, we reported that pretty much every major studio in Hollywood—and a few smaller ones—were fighting over the distribution rights to the next James Bond movie, despite the fact that we knew literally nothing about the film at the time. The impetus for the bidding war had nothing to do with hope for the…

Peter Dinklage elevates a dour murder-mystery with a sci-fi conceit and a terrible title

B-

It’s often hard to see the moment where aspirations of seriousness cross the line into pretension. Part of the problem with Rememory, an entertaining film bearing a title so awful it deserves some sort of special recognition in the Portmanteau Hall Of Shame, is that it often misses the enjoyably preposterous pulp of…

Nightmarish imagery helps It float above a clunky script

B

Watching the big-screen version of It only emphasizes how strange Stephen King’s novel really is. Adapting a more than 1,000 page book into a feature film—or half of it, as director Andrés Muschietti has done here—is a daunting task in and of itself, let alone a novel that features a cosmic turtle and an immortal…