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davidehrlich has written 337 reviews for films rated ★★★ .

  • Red Penguins

    Red Penguins

    ★★★

    When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 on the day after Christmas, American speculators were presented with the ultimate gift: An opportunity to sell capitalism to one of the largest untapped markets in the history of time. For Russians, however, the shift away from communism was hesitant and fraught with uncertainty, and some of the country’s proudest institutions began to languish without the state-funded support that had allowed them to thrive behind the Iron Curtain. Business relations between the two…

  • Weathering with You

    Weathering with You

    ★★★

    Shinkai Makoto, the fiercely idiosyncratic anime filmmaker whose long-simmering career exploded into legend when “Your Name” became an international phenomenon in 2016, has always been infatuated with the environment. The likes of “5 Centimeters per Second” and “Children Who Chase Lost Voices” may not express the same ecological concern that courses through Studio Ghibli’s work, but few movies of any kind have ever devoted more energy to — or divested more emotion from — the worlds around their characters. From…

  • Dolemite Is My Name

    Dolemite Is My Name

    ★★★

    It’s safe to assume that Eddie Murphy has always worshipped at the altar of “Dolemite” mastermind Rudy Ray Moore, as the lewd, brash, and infectiously self-possessed blaxploitation icon blazed the trail that Murphy later followed to his own fame. At the very least, Moore’s foul-mouthed comedy records (e.g. “Eat Out More Often”) and his total disregard for white audiences helped light the way forward. But Murphy, who was a Hollywood-minted star by the time he was 25, probably never thought…

  • Martin Eden

    Martin Eden

    ★★★

    Jack London — an avowed socialist who found himself struggling to reconcile his political ideals with his personal success — intended for “Martin Eden” to be a damning critique of the individualism that spurred his fame. “White Fang” and “The Call of the Wild” had earned the low-born writer an invitation into high society, but he struggled to square the untamed working man he was with the celebrated author he’d suddenly become; still at heart the same person he had…

  • 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…

  • Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles

    Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles

    ★★★

    It’s a truth so universally acknowledged that it seldom bears repeating: America sees animation as a genre, while the rest of the world recognizes it as an art form unto itself. Here, it’s just for kids, and most of the movies that Hollywood makes with it are about ice princesses or angry birds or plastic sporks gripped by existential crises. Beyond our borders, however, animation can be for anyone, and tell stories about anything. One look at something from Studio…

  • Stuber

    Stuber

    ★★★

    In a desolate summer of blockbuster sequels and Disney remakes and Pokémon moonlighting as detectives, it’s hard to overstate how refreshing it is to see a studio movie as silly and self-contained as Michael Dowse’s “Stuber.” Spider-Man is nowhere to be found. The biggest action scene is set in a sporting goods store. And the hero isn’t fighting to save the planet, but only to help pay for the small business he wants to open with his crush (it’s a…

  • This One's for the Ladies

    This One's for the Ladies

    ★★★

    Don’t be fooled by the NC-17 rating; Gene Graham’s “This One’s for the Ladies” may be an uncensored documentary about the male strippers of Newark — and the women who love them — but giant penises have never seemed more gentle or less explicit. Hell, most of the time they’re sheathed in those silly black hoods that exotic dancers have to wear for modesty, and they don’t look like dicks so much as headless church bishops who are hiding some…

  • The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil

    The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil

    ★★★

    In a strange way, watching a mediocre Korean thriller is almost as exhilarating as watching any of the legitimately great ones the country’s film industry continues to churn out — it’s wild to see how standards have gotten high enough that even a rambunctious serial killer saga with an ingenious premise and a swaggering Ma Dong-seok performance can still feel like something of a disappointment.

    Such is the case with Lee Won-tae’s “The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil,” a giddy…

  • Matthias & Maxime

    Matthias & Maxime

    ★★★

    It sounds like the premise of a Duplass brothers movie: Two lifelong dude pals, now approaching their late 20s and heading in very different directions, are convinced to make out as part of someone’s dumb student film; privately, but profoundly, the experience unlocks something at the heart of their friendship. In fact, it was the premise of a Duplass brothers movie (or at least a movie starring a Duplass brother).

    Nevertheless, there is a world of difference between Lynn Shelton’s…

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    ★★★

    has anyone ever noticed that Brad Pitt is a very handsome man?

    Quentin Tarantino finally made a film about "real people," in every sense of the phrase. i liked it a lot as a wounded portrait of middle-age reflected against the end of the movies' *golden* age (Leo/Pitt are obviously terrific, though it's painful how little screen time they get together).

    but the film is scattered to the point of abstraction, thin scenes are stretched to their breaking points, and…

  • Frankie

    Frankie

    ★★★

    “Frankie,” by the American writer-director Ira Sachs, is a tiny little trinket of a film. It’s like an elegant bracelet that’s modest enough to go unnoticed, but nevertheless reveals a quietly exquisite beauty to those who are willing to lean in and look closer (even if they have to squint). In other words, it’s an Ira Sachs movie, only more so. But in this one, that bracelet is being worn by Isabelle Huppert, and it fits on her wrist like…