• One Fine Morning

    One Fine Morning

    As Anne, her siblings, their families, and I are grieving the loss of her mother's mind to the unfathomable labyrinths of dementia, and as they have been through the hardships of moving her from one care center to another — some of which show signs of actual caring (others don't) — I am grateful for a film that gives unflinching attention to the increasingly tedious hardships of such ordeals. If you are a person of faith, few things will test that…

  • Fremont


    For Your Consideration: Gregg Turkington — Best Supporting Actor.

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    Everything about this film feels unlikely and pleasantly surprising.

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    As Donya, Anaita Wali Zada's performance is so muted that I started worrying that the rest of the movie would just disappear into that void. But stick with it, and don't take your eyes off of her. The way her eyes darken, her expression warms, her confidence grows — this is character development of a…

  • Mystery Train

    Mystery Train


    One of those rare films I enjoy thinking about more than I enjoy watching it.

    Don't get me wrong: It looks and sounds great, and while Jarmusch's meandering style is an acquired taste, I think it feels great too. But the funny bits aren't particularly funny even by Jarmusch standards. The plots aren't particularly absorbing, even by Jarmusch standards. Come to think of it, none of the characters here are likely to be celebrated in any gallery of his fans'…

  • The Eight Mountains

    The Eight Mountains

    [UPDATE: I now have a full review at Give Me Some LIght.]

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    Original post with embarrassing typos repaired:

    I’m always down for some stunning panoramic cinematography of mountains, forests, rocks, streams, and glaciers. (Trying hard not to say “nature” like, this movie insists, an idiot.) And films about platonic male relationships are too rare. What’s more—the central tension between our narrator, his friend, and his father is fascinating and not a dynamic I remember exploring in other…

  • Bottoms


    Bottoms is for 2023 what Heathers was for 1988, and what Booksmart wanted to be (and almost was) for 2019.

    That should give you some sense of whether you'll be glad to see it or not.

    I've already written a few thousand words. My review will be up at Give Me Some Light in a day or two. I have a lot of thoughts.

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    [UPDATE: The full review is up for paid subscribers at Give Me Some Light!]

  • Barbie



    [Takes Poet Barbie to the movie for her first viewing.]

    [After the movie...]

    Film Critic Ken: And now I'll say my third-viewing Barbie review at you.

    [Looks at Poet Barbie, and reads her expression.]

    Film Critic Ken: Never mind. What did you think of the movie?

  • Serpico



    Great writing all the way through. Most memorable lines? This searing, over-the-top lecture from a corrupt cop into a megaphone:

    "Listen up — Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and everybody else. Most police shootings can be avoided. It comes down to respect for authority and obedience. If a police officer tells you to stop, you stop. If a police officer tells you to put your hands in the air, you put your hands in the air ... It’s as simple as that. Even…

  • Sister, Sister

    Sister, Sister


    Having re-subscribed to Criterion for a season, I was startled to discover this—a film that I don't think I've ever heard of before from 1987, my favorite year in cinema history, featuring Eric Stoltz (who usually improves whatever he's in) and, more importantly, the great Jennifer Jason Leigh just a few years from her best work.

    And so I took another step in my education on The Complete Works of JJL. Alas—another checkmark in the "L"s of Wins and Losses.…

  • The Unknown Country

    The Unknown Country

    CAUTION: Avoid the trailer for this film. I'm so grateful I didn't see it before I saw the movie. It's basically a highlight reel of most of the movie's best shots.

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    As the checker scans my ticket, he says, "You realize that after the next showing, the writer-director Morissa Waltz, actress Lily Gladstone, and the co-writer Vanara Taing will be here for an in-person Q& A, yes?"


    No, I didn't realize.

    Dang dang dang dang dang.…

  • Tori and Lokita

    Tori and Lokita

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    The handheld camera, the editing, the realism, the restraint — so many of the Dardennes' strengths are in evidence here. And there are moments in this film that are more excruciatingly suspenseful than anything I've seen this year.

    What I love most about the film is the inventive use of strange architecture at a drug-dealer's hideaway, drawing a small child into what seems an entirely alien environment, as if he's climbing through the innards of a beast. Here, I see something…

  • Choose Me

    Choose Me

    This movie about desperate women deciding that their happiness depends upon the worst kinds of Kens — the direspectful, egomaniacal, and physically abusive sorts who don't know that "No" means "No" — just made me wish I could take all of them to see Barbie. Maybe they'd learn something.

    One of the primary causes of their loneliness is easy to diagnose: Their world is so very, very small. Given that one of them claims to be a spy and a…

  • Theater Camp

    Theater Camp

    Saw this in a very small theater tonight in which most of the crowd knew each other and were very clearly former theater-camp kids. And I'm so glad. There was so much joy in the room.

    If I'd had some kind of Scale of 1–10 Laugh Meter running over the course of the film, the results would have been something like: 7 - 6 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 6 - 5 - 6 - 7…