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  • The King

    The King

    ★★½

    A large-budget, medieval war movie that’s loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Henriad” and the historical events that inspired those plays, David Michôd’s “The King” is so eager to be a mud-and-guts epic about inherited violence and the corruption of power that it loses sight of the rich coming-of-age story at its core. It’s hard for a good man to be king, and it’s even harder for a king to be a good man — that idea only feels relevant to the…

  • Wasp Network

    Wasp Network

    ★★½

    Even Wayne Gretzky missed the net a couple of times over the course of his career. An overstuffed espionage thriller that bites off more than it can chew and never manages to find its footing, Olivier Assayas’ “Wasp Network” is an exceedingly rare gaffe from one of the greatest filmmakers of the last 30 years. Even so, his restless genius can still be felt percolating below the surface and struggling to come up for air. While this scattered, staccato dramatization…

  • American Skin

    American Skin

    The debate over Nate Parker’s value as a person may never be conclusively decided (though it may seem otherwise in the court of public opinion), but the debate over Nate Parker’s value as a filmmaker has just been settled once and for all: He doesn’t have any. An unsolicited coda to a career that most of us assumed was already over, “American Skin” is an asinine and self-serving call to action that tries to hide its basic incompetence behind a…

  • Ema

    Ema

    ★★★★

    An anarchic, liberated, and contagiously alive character study that feels like it was born out of a three-way between “Amélie,” “Oldboy,” and Gaspar Noé before maturing into a force of nature all its own, Pablo Larraín’s “Ema” doesn’t always dance to a clear or recognizable beat, but anybody willing to get on its wavelength will be rewarded with one of the year’s most dynamic and electrifying films. Which isn’t to suggest the movie — Larraín’s first since the one-two punch…

  • Joker

    Joker

    ★★½

    Todd Phillips’ “Joker” is unquestionably the boldest reinvention of “superhero” cinema since “The Dark Knight”; a true original that’s sure to be remembered as one of the most transgressive studio blockbusters of the 21st Century. It’s also a toxic rallying cry for self-pitying incels, and a hyper-familiar origin story so indebted to “Taxi Driver” and “The King of Comedy” that Martin Scorsese probably deserves an executive producer credit. It’s possessed by the kind of provocative spirit that’s seldom found in…

  • An Officer and a Spy

    An Officer and a Spy

    ★★

    Roman Polanski has absolutely no intention of asking you to separate the art from the artist. His “Officer and a Spy” — a peevish and self-satisfied procedural that unravels the Dreyfus Affair with all the journalistic doggedness of “Spotlight,” but none of the same integrity — seems determined to remind viewers that it was directed by cinema’s most storied rapist.

    The film’s more damning and transparent moments are as nakedly autobiographical as anything Polanski has ever made, as the story’s…

  • Seberg

    Seberg

    ★★

    A fitting punishment for anyone who felt that “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” didn’t lavish enough love upon the late Sharon Tate, Benedict Andrews’ blandly ill-conceived “Seberg” is proof enough that extra screen time isn’t the secret to a more satisfying cinematic séance.

    Which isn’t to say that this scattered look at the last years of Jean Seberg’s life gives the actress its undivided attention. Less a biopic about the “Breathless” star than a paranoid thriller that revolves around…

  • The Perfect Candidate

    The Perfect Candidate

    ★★★

    Haifaa Al-Mansour’s “Wadjda,” the first movie ever filmed entirely within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, told the story of a young Muslim girl who bristled against the restrictive gender norms of her ancient local custom and dreamed of owning a bicycle; it followed someone coming-of-age in a country that seemed aggressively resistant to change. Al-Mansour’s “The Perfect Candidate,” which tells the story of a twentysomething Muslim woman who campaigns to win a seat on her town’s municipal council, often feels…

  • Marriage Story

    Marriage Story

    ★★★½

    Not sure what to make of this quite yet but it feels a bit all over the place and not quite at Meyerowitz levels. Best in concentrated, angry doses. Adam Driver sings! and there’s a bit with a knife that’s completely brilliant. Divorce looks unpleasant!

  • Ad Astra

    Ad Astra

    ★★★★½

    Neil Armstrong, a man better remembered for being first than he is for being funny, once said that his greatest regret was that “my work required an enormous amount of my time, and a lot of travel.” It’s a bittersweet line from a taciturn giant who always tended to find the right words; an admission of deep sadness coated inside the candied shell of a solid quip. But while no one expects an Armstrong quote to make them laugh, some…

  • The Truth

    The Truth

    ★★★★

    Filmmaker Kore-eda Hirokazu once predicted that his Palme d’Or-winning “Shoplifters” would come to represent a major turning point in his career — the end of one phase, and the beginning of another. As it turns out, “The Truth” is inevitably a bit more complicated.

    The first movie the Japanese writer-director has made since winning the film world’s most prestigious award is also the first that he’s ever shot in another tongue or country, and that fact alone is enough to…

  • Angel Has Fallen

    Angel Has Fallen

    ★½

    No, you don’t need to have seen “Olympus Has Fallen” and/or “London Has Fallen” to understand the eminently disposable third chapter of the Mike Banning chronicles. It’s not that complicated: Gerard Butler is an elite Secret Service agent with a heart of gold and a face of raw meat, he’s saved the free world a couple of times over the last few years, and he’s forced to do it again. On the contrary, the only prerequisite for enjoying “Angel Has…