Sundance Review: “After Yang”

“After Yang” doesn’t look or feel the way most science fiction films do when we think about the hallmarks of that genre. Its environments are warm and organic, not sleek and cold. Visible futuristic technology is replaced by natural touches like plants, and the film’s main character, Jake (Colin Farrell) runs a tea shop. And […]

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Sundance Review: “Fresh”

Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) is around halfway through her first date with Steve (Sebastian Stan) when she tells him that she hates “this”—“this” meaning dating. “FRESH” opens with a portrait of just how Noa’s love life is going, and it isn’t going well. She aimlessly swipes through dating apps, and a date she goes on with […]

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Review: “Parallel Mothers”

In the maternity ward of a Madrid hospital, two women are about to give birth. Janis Martinez (Penélope Cruz) is an acclaimed photographer approaching 40. She had an affair with Arturo (Israel Elejalde), the archaeologist assisting her with the excavation of a mass grave in her home town, where her great-grandfather and many other residents […]

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Review: ”Scream” (2022)

The new “Scream” movie opens with a scene that feels as familiar as the title it shares with the 1996 film that kickstarted the slasher franchise. A teenager, Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega), is home alone, in her kitchen, texting with her friend Amber (Mikey Madison) on her cell phone. But the Carpenters turn out to […]

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Review: “A Hero”

Nothing and no one are as they seem in Asghar Farhadi’s “A Hero,” a drama that examines its characters’ ethics with all the tension of a thriller. The writer and director’s latest film, Iran’s entry to this year’s Academy Awards, kicks off with a deceptively simple premise. Rahim Soltani (Amir Jadidi) has been imprisoned for […]

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Streaming Movie Reviews

Happy new year! I’m wrapping up some lingering reviews from 2021 releases this week with a batch of mini reviews of films that debuted on streaming services in December, from Adam McKay’s controversial satire “Don’t Look Up” to Maggie Gyllenhaal’s stellar directorial debut “The Lost Daughter” to a pair of intriguing sci-fi films. You can […]

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Review: “The Tragedy of Macbeth”

White so bright you can’t stare at it without blinking. Suddenly, figures emerge, walking straight toward the camera as if out of a dream. In fact, this dream-like state pervades the entirety of Joel Coen’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy “Macbeth,” his first solo outing as a director without brother Ethan. But he brings every skill […]

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Best Movies of 2021

2021 was a big year for movies. We returned to theaters (at least I did, after a full 14 month absence), and a number of films held over from 2020 finally saw the light of day. That’s not to say that things are back to what we used to know as normal, but as they’ve […]

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Review: “Licorice Pizza”

I don’t think I realized just how much I enjoyed “Licorice Pizza” until the final frame of the end credits dissolved, and I remembered that I had spent the last two hours or so sitting in a movie theater in 2021, not running carelessly around the San Fernando Valley in the early 1970s. Writer/director Paul […]

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