The winning Coco sends Pixar to the great beyond

B+

The afterlife imagined by Pixar’s new animated film Coco is a labyrinthine, luminous necropolis crisscrossed by string lights and papeles picados, a place both strange and all too familiar. Its currency is memory; its exit visas are family photos, without which the skeletal dead can’t cross the orange marigold-petal…

John Wick solidified Keanu Reeves as one of the greatest action stars of all time

In the entire history of American action cinema, there are very, very few movies that take their fight scenes as seriously as John Wick does. Some of the action set pieces in John Wick—the home invasion, the one-man nightclub siege—are straight-up masterpieces, and the movie never lingers long between these…

Our critics debate the merits of DC's Justice League

It’s been more than a year and a half since A.V. Club’s A.A. Dowd and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky last sat down to debate the merits (or lack thereof) of a Zack Snyder superhero movie. But now, duty calls them to return to the bombastic Snyder-verse with a look at Justice League, an intentional course-correction for the DC…

The animated trifle The Star passes the Nativity through its ass

C-

It’s a cute idea, making an animated film about the animals of the Nativity—Mary and Joseph’s donkey, the wise men’s camels, the shepherds’ sheep, and so on. Never mind that most of these are later inventions; the texts of the gospels and the Old Testament teem with animals and animal metaphors (not to mention all…

Here’s what you need to know going into Justice League

First, the good news: This is DC, so there’s a lot less ground to cover than with Marvel’s overstuffed superhero crossovers. There aren’t a bunch of standalone entries leading up to DC’s equivalent of The Avengers. Even so, do you really want to re-watch Batman V Superman before the weekend?

We went to the Cinepocalypse genre film festival, and lived to tell about it

Last year, The A.V. Club covered a little festival in Chicago called Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Festival. This year, that same festival re-appeared in greatly expanded form as Cinepocalypse, and we partnered with the organizers as one of the festival’s media sponsors. We were on the scene for the entire week—as much…

New York's Plaza Hotel is offering a pricey Home Alone 2 anniversary package

Home Alone 2: Lost In New York isn’t as good as the first movie, but at least it has some fun nonsense with Kevin McCallister hanging around New York’s Plaza Hotel, coming up with schemes to freak out Tim Curry and watching violent mobster movies. Apparently pleased with its major role in a movie that some people kind…

Jim & Andy’s long-lost Jim Carrey footage reveals the madness in the Method

B

There’s acting, and then there’s Method acting, and then, way out on the fringes of what’s considered acceptable and professional, there’s what we might call Xtreme Method Acting. Basically, the word “cut” ceases to have much meaning for the duration of the shoot. The actor is always in character, must always be…

Wonder is just sweet enough not to give you a toothache

B-

From the opening monologue of Wonder, the new drama based on R.J. Palacio’s novel about a 10-year-old boy with facial anomalies, things seem to be off to a bad start. “I know I’m not an ordinary kid,” adorable child actor Jacob Tremblay says in that adorable, quivering voice of his, jumping on his bed while wearing a…

Denzel Washington delivers a rare bad performance in the shapeless Roman J. Israel, Esq.

C

Roman J. Israel, Esq., the new film written and directed by Dan Gilroy, does something rather remarkable, maybe even unprecedented, albeit not in a way anyone involved might prefer: It gets a bad performance out of Denzel Washington. To be fair to Denzel, who tends to be reliably commanding even when slumming it in…

The superheroes of Justice League deserve better than another misbegotten blockbuster

C-

A blockbuster with more studio notes than script (underlined: “Be more Marvel”), Justice League attempts to inject some levity and rock ’n’ roll into Zack Snyder’s dinosaurian version of the DC Comics-verse; in many cases, it ends up with the worst of multiple worlds. Gone are the artistic pretensions and doofy…

It’s one against the bigoted world for the trans heroine of the engaging A Fantastic Woman

B

An engaging, class-conscious Tantalus myth in which the condemned’s only crime is her existence, the Chilean drama A Fantastic Woman subjects its twentysomething trans heroine, Marina Vidal (Daniela Vega), to a battery of indignities as grief and closure remain out of her reach, the frustration underscored by…

On The Beach At Night Alone mixes the painfully personal with the thrillingly unexplained

B

Because most of his films involve characters who are renowned or aspiring film directors, Hong Sang-soo has long been assumed to be working in a largely autobiographical mode. Lately, however, there’s really no way to avoid reading Hong’s personal life into his work, provided that one knows about the scandal—a major…

Ben Affleck trying to find a "cool way" to get out of playing Batman

In a lengthy USA Today story about the making of Justice League, Ben Affleck has once again resurrected the idea that he wants to stop playing Batman as soon as possible. It came in response to a question about Matt Reeves’ The Batman, with Affleck saying that the film was a project he’s “contemplating” rather than a…

The ambitious Mudbound gives a prestige literary epic the soul of a character study

B+

Drawn from the pages of Hillary Jordan’s 2008 international bestseller, Mudbound has the heft—the narrative and thematic meatiness, the thicket of characters and subplots and years-spanning incident—of a book you can’t put down. But if the film is novelistic in its sprawl, maybe sometimes to a fault, it’s written in…

Tom Sizemore was once removed from a film set for allegedly "violating" a young girl

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tom Sizemore was “told to leave” the set of Born Killers in 2003 after he allegedly touched an 11-year-old actress inappropriately. The crew was taking photos with Sizemore for a plot element that involved pictures of a wife and daughter that his character abandoned, with the…

Sony developing a Spider-Man spin-off about Morbius, The Living Vampire

Of all the supporting characters in Spider-Man stories, Morbius, The Living Vampire is certainly one of them. He’s not as iconic or memorable as Venom, he’s not a core cast member like Mary Jane or even J. Jonah Jameson, and he’s not even a regular guest star like Silver Sable or Black Cat. Those characters are…

The beautiful but uneven Porto will make you miss Anton Yelchin all the more

C+

Whatever its other moments of beauty or weakness, Porto contains one bittersweet, potentially unnerving image that few other films can claim: the sight of Anton Yelchin growing old. The talented actor died tragically and far too soon last year at the age of 27, and while Porto is not the last film Yelchin shot or the…

Weekend Box Office: Thor rules again, but a smaller movie feels like the bigger winner

Let’s bury the lede for a moment, put the blockbusters on the back burner, and talk about what The A.V. Club considers very exciting news: Lady Bird has broken into America’s box-office top 10, grossing more than a million dollars on just 37 screens. That’s an average of about $33,000 per screen, which basically means…

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