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In this intense, unsettling and modestly triumphant portrait of the artist as a young man, LaBeouf shows us not only how he grew up, but also what it cost him along the way.
What might have been a pertinent, evenhanded examination of the notion of free speech on today’s college campuses wastes little time in exposing an overwhelmingly right-leaning bias in the disappointingly sensationalistic agitprop that is “No Safe Spaces.”
Director Trey Edward Shults has found a vernacular – in his characters, setting and style – to tell a classic story that feels of the moment but also like a throwback to the great melodramas of the 1950s.
“Dark Waters” is an effective outrage machine: If you like “Erin Brockovich,” you’ll probably like this, too, although Mark Ruffalo’s schlubby crusader, despite the clunker he drives and his degree from what we’re told is a “no-name” law school, doesn’t have quite the same working-class pizazz that Julia Roberts brought to that 2000 role.
At its most excruciating, “Marriage Story” documents how love becomes distorted and disfigured; those cute little foibles that once made Charlie and Nicole adorable to each other are swiftly magnified, weaponized and lobbed like so many fatal grenades.
“Queen & Slim” is a modern-day “Bonnie and Clyde” tale rooted in the urgent sociopolitical issues of the day: police brutality, systemic racism and a palpable sense of anger at the injustice that promises to bubble over.
“The Irishman” is so full of Martin Scorsese’s most-beloved rep players and repeated tropes that it’s difficult not to compare it to such predecessors as “Mean Streets,” “Raging Bull” and especially “Goodfellas.”
“21 Bridges” gets the job done. So does Chadwick Boseman, who is satisfying to watch even when he has little to do except the right thing. Dre isn’t tarnished or tainted in any way.
Director Marielle Heller and Tom Hanks work in tandem to allow the notions of kindness and presence to just exist, unadorned by fervor and dramatics. And that is what makes “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” so incredibly moving – and so incredibly radical.
It’s the story of a couple of guys who love cars and live to make them go fast: Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and his pal, Ken Miles (Christian Bale). In the mid-’60s, they happen to find themselves the pawns in a war between a behemoth Detroit automaker and a smooth Italian sports car magnate.
The twisty little tete-a-tete is a fine vehicle for the two charming British actors – Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen – but it’s potentially the politest, gentlest movie about a scammer ever.
“Charlie’s Angels” isn’t rocket science, but thanks to a charm offensive of stars, it’s an easy breezy blast of an action flick that delivers as many laughs as it does roundhouse kicks and proves to be another fascinating entry in the Kristen Stewart canon.
The creators of “Playing With Fire,” a clodhopping comedy about California smokejumpers, built in little pauses after many of the film’s sight gags and verbal jokes, presumably to accommodate audience laughter. Bad idea.
A sprightly, attractively composed coming-of-age comedy set in World War II Germany, “Jojo Rabbit” is an audacious high-wire act: a satire in which a buffoonish Adolf Hitler delivers some of the funniest moments; a wrenchingly tender portrait of a mother’s love for her son; a lampoon of the most destructive ideological forces that still threaten society; and – perhaps most powerfully – an improbably affecting chronicle of moral evolution.
Director Louie Schwartzberg, with the aid of gorgeous time-lapse photography and mycophilic talking heads including Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone and Andrew Weil, covers a lot of ground – pun intended – from mushrooms’ role in developing the human brain to their healing history (think penicillin).
What is the hold that “The Shining” has over us culturally? It’s the popularity of Stephen King, indeed, but it also is, specifically, Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film. The surreal and disturbing imagery, the unforgettable performances and the film’s hypnotic rhythms have woven their way into our collective unconscious and gotten profoundly stuck there.
In the past couple of years, it seems we all decided to admit that those made-for-TV holiday movies starring D-list celebs were actually pretty fun to watch. Since then, they’ve only exploded in popularity, drawing more and more stars, the networks expanding their seasonal offerings well into autumn. Christmas movies aren’t just a guilty pleasure anymore – they’re a bona-fide booming mini-industry. While Hollywood studios usually release a family holiday movie or two in the vein of “The Family Stone” or “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” each year, Emma Thompson and Paul Feig’s holiday rom-com “Last Christmas” feels much more in tune with the Hallmark Lifetime approach, just with higher-profile stars and a much bigger music budget.
In its combat scenes, “Midway” is a triumph. Though heavily enhanced by CGI, the action is rendered in crisp clarity and breathtaking immediacy, a direct view of the action from the dive bomber’s cockpit careening through smoke and bombs and anti-aircraft fire.
Former Vanity Fair editor-at-large and documentarian Matt Tyrnauer pulls back the curtain on Donald Trump’s notorious mentor Roy Cohn in the rollicking, salacious documentary “Where’s My Roy Cohn?,” a fast and furious portrait that is almost overwhelming in its breadth and depth.