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  • Matchstick Men

    Matchstick Men

    ★★★★

    For a deeply satisfying movie that hinges on a career-defining performance from one of modern cinema’s most fascinating stars, Ridley Scott’s “Matchstick Men” has a strange way of falling through the cracks. Released to a tepid response in September 2003, this slippery tale of a con artist with a guilty conscience was too much of a tweener to find the audience it deserved, and — much like its twitchy protagonist — was also conflicted about swindling people out of their…

  • Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable

    Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable

    ★★★

    Garry Winogrand hated being called “a street photographer,” even if he was regarded as the most essential of them all. The great success of Sasha Waters Freyer’s straightforward but evocative documentary “Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable,” is how well it explains why someone could have such a strong aversion to a term that was practically invented to describe them.

    Winogrand, for better or worse, was allergic to bullshit. A hyper-masculine Bronx Jew who many of Freyer’s interviewees graciously refer…

  • Mandy

    Mandy

    ★★★★

    if this film were any more metal* they'd have to mine it out of the Earth before each screening.**

    *yes it's me, the ultimate authority on what is and isn't metal / the kid who bought Metallica's "Reload" in 7th grade, listened to the first song a few times, and moved on to the dark recesses of emo without ever looking back.

    **but seriously MANDY is super metal. delighted it exists. Andrea Riseborough and Nicolas Cage both give performances as good as any i've seen this year.

  • The House with a Clock in Its Walls

    The House with a Clock in Its Walls

    ★★

    John Bellairs’ 1973 novel “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” was the first of the author’s six YA books to be illustrated by the late Edward Gorey, whose pen-and-ink drawings were sinister and delightful in equal measure; they invited children to embrace the darkness of growing up without surrendering the sense of wonder that kept them young. Universal’s soulless 2018 film adaptation of the same name, on the other hand, is directed by “Hostel” auteur Eli Roth, whose…

  • Green Book

    Green Book

    ★★½

    it's virtually impossible to watch this hokey charmer (based on a true friendship!!) without thinking about what an utter shitshow its eventual release is going to be on the internet, but Mahershala Ali is just so dang good and Viggo Mortensen somehow manages to make his character SUCH an Italian stereotype that it bends all the way back around into some kind of uncanny truth.

  • Freaks

    Freaks

    ★★

    A chintzy yet well-intentioned slab of socially conscious science-fiction, Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein’s “Freaks” is a familiar tale of super-powered outcasts who are forced to hide their gifts from the rest of humanity, but the appeal of this derivative slop is all in the telling. The fun here — and there is some decent fun to be had — has nothing to do with the story, and everything to do with how patiently the filmmakers let us in…

  • Gloria Bell

    Gloria Bell

    ★★★

    a very nice little movie about national treasures Julianne Moore and John Turturro having divorcee sex. and then… it's a little more than that. haven't seen Lelio's original, so i can't really engage with this as a scene-for-scene cover, but i can imagine how a breezy character study like this might benefit from the contrast. also, i have questions about the Sean Astin scene, but i guess those can wait.

  • If Beale Street Could Talk

    If Beale Street Could Talk

    ★★★★

    i love James Baldwin's book, but it's a testament to Barry Jenkins' talent that many of the most beautiful parts of this adaptation are of his own invention (Dave Franco's scene being a clear and particularly moving example). what an extraordinary, generous, perseverant film this is.

    as with ROMA and BURNING i feel the need to see it again before i say anything more, but yeah… Barry Jenkins: not bad at making movies.

  • Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes

    Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes

    ★★★

    The latest in an infinite parade of documentaries about how the hell we got here (others include “Get Me Roger Stone” and the forthcoming “Watergate: How to Stop an Out of Control President”), Alexis Bloom’s “Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes” is a clean and straightforward account of how a hemophiliac from small town Ohio grew up to become the most powerful man in media, effectively destroy the country that he claimed to love, and harass a whole…

  • The Land of Steady Habits

    The Land of Steady Habits

    ★★

    A probing but misshapen drama about a wealthy, middle-aged retiree who’s left his wife (and his career) in search of the uncomplicated buoyancy that used to define his life, Nicole Holofcener’s latest film might as well have been called “The Unbearable Lightness of Being Retired and Single.” Alas, when it came to the title of the writer-director’s first adaptation, “The Land of Steady Habits,” she was sort of handcuffed to the one that Ted Thompson used for his 2014 novel…

  • Mid90s

    Mid90s

    ★★★

    Jonah Hill WOULD.

    i feel like if i saw this blind and without any credits, there's a decent chance i still could have guessed it was a Jonah Hill joint.

    this thing is barely a movie, Lucas Hedges' character is badly mishandled, and the flimsy narrative has a very fraught relationship with the notion of basic conflict (it avoids it like the plague, then piles it on all at once in a panic to bring the "story" to a head…

  • The Hummingbird Project

    The Hummingbird Project

    ★★

    There are any number of movies that would be hard to believe if they weren’t based on a true story. Much less common is something like “War Witch” director Kim Nguyen’s “The Hummingbird Project,” which is so mundanely quixotic that it’s hard to believe it’s not based on a true story. We’re talking about a financial thriller that stars Jesse Eisenberg and a bald Alexander Skarsgård as two Wall Street nerds who try to build a four-inch tunnel that stretches…