A Los Angeles divorce lawyer named Bert Spitz (Alan Alda) is commiserating with a new client named Charlie Barber (Adam Driver). Charlie's wife, Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), has left him, and he needs guidance. Spitz, a rare nice guy in his dismal field, can only be minimally helpful. Divorce, he tells Charlie, "is like a death without a body." ...Read more
The Thrombeys are a sprawling family that's rich in nitwits. Not so much the old man, wealthy crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), who is in any case suddenly dead, but his heirs and in-laws, all hungry for an inheritance are just the kind of devious schemers you'd expect to find in a country manor murder mystery such as this.
It's appropriate that "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," while ostensibly about the late children's TV host Fred Rogers, is in fact not entirely, or even mostly, about him. The real protagonist of the film is Lloyd Vogel, a sour, stubbly New York writer who's been assigned by Esquire magazine to write a profile of Rogers -- Mister Rogers, as...Read more
Anyone drawn to the now-resurgent notion that collectivism is kind of cool would benefit from a viewing of "One Child Nation," a documentary that demonstrates what can happen when state bureaucrats are allowed to fundamentally re-order their country's most intimate cultural customs. The film's subject is China's disastrous one-child policy, ...Read more
It used to be that the scariest things in Martin Scorsese's gangland dystopias were the bullet storms and the barroom stompings. Now there's a more formidable menace: time -- a commodity out of which all of the characters are running, some of them suddenly.
"The Irishman" is Scorsese's most extensive examination of this subterranean culture. ...Read more
"The Current War" is an elegantly made movie about the late-19th century battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to be the first to light up America with electrical power. As you might remember -- no dozing! -- Edison was the champion of direct current while Westinghouse promoted the riskier but cheaper alternating current. The ...Read more
Being a follow-up to a movie that came out 10 years ago, "Zombieland: Double Tap" could be said to have an undead problem of its own. Why is this movie lurching toward us at this late date? Really, how strong could audience demand for it still be? And how much is there that's new in the wisecracking, blood-gargling "Zombieland" world to stir up ...Read more
The movie you may think you're about to watch as "Parasite" gets underway would surely be a lot of fun even if it only played out as you expected -- as a lively farce about the eternal class war between the arrogant rich and the scheming poors. That could describe this latest film from the (no other word) brilliant South Korean director ...Read more
Well before its official release, "Joker" already had an armlock on our attention. The movie's trailer made clear that this was not another slick comic-book epic, but rather a grim, R-rated story of homicidal madness set in the bad old New York (well, "Gotham") of the early 1980s. And it was immediately apparent that the picture's star, Joaquin ...Read more
Takashi Miike is possibly the last director -- well, Rob Zombie and the sadly retired Uwe Boll might also spring to mind -- who you'd expect to find dabbling in true romance. It's taken him a while to reach this breakthrough, but hey, he's been busy. (As required by movie-reviewing law, I must here point out that, although he's just 59 years old...Read more
In the near future, for the usual all-too-human reasons, the beleaguered people of Earth are looking to the stars (ad astra in Latin) for hope and deliverance. But the stars appear to be looking back: a series of "power surges" -- fierce cosmic storms -- have killed some 43,000 people, and they're growing more frequent. The storms appear to be ...Read more
"Hustlers" is about empowerment, sorta. A group of New York strippers decide to turn the tables on the men who exploit them -- the skeezy club-owners, the slavering clients -- and cut themselves in on some of the big money that's been passing them by. It's a girl-gang revenge movie.
But wait. Their "revenge" actually involves drugging and ...Read more