Although "Color Out of Space" is based on a 1927 short story by the shovel-faced horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, you might question that provenance when a group of woolly alpacas trots through an early scene. There are no alpacas in the Lovecraft story, nor is there any character on hand to inform us that they are "the animal of the future." There...Read more
"Underwater" is an oceangoing take on "Alien," and why not? The movie isn't a rip-off in the traditional sense -- director William Eubank ("The Signal") makes no attempt to obscure what he's up to. There's a deep-sea mining base filled with empty corridors that strongly recall the innards of the old space tug Nostromo. There's a wisecracking ...Read more
I know there are people who resist acknowledging the fact that "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" was the best movie of 2019, but why, why? Quentin Tarantino's script is a gem of so many facets (virtuoso plotting and dialogue, resonant movie-biz nostalgia), and the film's charisma-bomb cast (Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie, ...Read more
Greta Gerwig's "Little Women" is the latest mounting of Louisa May Alcott's revered novel (published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869), and it pulses with fresh energy and the excitement of a top-tier cast. Gerwig, nominated for Oscars as both writer and director for her breakthrough movie, the incomparable "Lady Bird" (2017), here settles fully ...Read more
I was so looking forward to panning this movie. I mean mercilessly, with one of those no-adjectives-spared broadsides that reviewers enjoy lobbing at pictures they find especially worthless. I think anyone who reared back in horror at the disturbingly weird first trailer for "Cats" when it came out last summer will know this feeling.
But it ...Read more
Like "The Wrestler," Darren Aronofsky's descent into the grubby world of provincial grappling matches, "Uncut Gems" takes us into a rarely examined social arena -- the diamond district of midtown Manhattan, here portrayed as a place of frenzy and menace. The directors, Josh and Benny Safdie, who wrote and edited the film with Ronald Bronstein, ...Read more
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