Carol
The Revenant
45 Years
Hail Caesar!

Hail Caesar!

Hail Caesar! 

* * * * The first terrific movie of 2016, the Coen Brothers’ lavishly inspired Hollywood satire Hail, Caesar! is one of their very best comedies, a gleaming love letter to the old Hollywood studio system that both evangelizes the transformative magic of the movies while affectionately critiquing Tinseltown’s castles in the air. It’s a […]

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45 Years

45 Years 

* * 1/2 As adult dramas go—and there are so few today it seems out of line not to be generous—45 years, starring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtney as a longtime married couple whose relationship fissures when the past intervenes, is tasteful, well-acted, sincere and so low-key it feels anemic. Its chief merit is Oscar-nominated […]

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The Revenant

The Revenant 

* * * * You really have to hand it to director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, whose films never cozy up to their audiences, instead demanding a partnership that can be agonizing in the moment but always haunting, enlightening even, upon reflection.  With a handful of rigorously commanding movies under his belt, from the accomplished Mexican triptych Amores Perros to […]

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The 11 Best Movies of 2015 (and the best of the rest)

The 11 Best Movies of 2015 (and the best of the rest) 

1. Brooklyn – John Crowley’s magnificent Brooklyn is a study in contrasts, between small Irish towns and big American cities, nationals and immigrants, naiveté and womanhood, former homes and new horizons, an Italian-American love and an Irish suitor.  It’s also one of the best movies ever made about coming of age and identity, and Saoirse […]

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Carol

Carol 

Todd Haynes’ Carol, as gorgeously rendered an evocation of star-crossed love as the movies has maybe known, is a meticulously mounted, finely felt and beautifully acted examination of the costs of self-actualization in an unforgiving world. With a screenplay by Phyllis Nagy from Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt, about forbidden love and its […]

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Joy

Joy 

* * * David O. Russell’s Joy gives Jennifer Lawrence a honey of a role as the overstretched, unfulfilled head of a zany household who, with a little resourcefulness and a lot of drive, reversed her fortune to become the personification of the American Dream. Lawrence, already an Oscar-winner for Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, delivers […]

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Once, She Had a Secret Love: Filmmaker Todd Haynes on Carol’s Gorgeously Realized, Slow Burn Romance

Once, She Had a Secret Love: Filmmaker Todd Haynes on Carol’s Gorgeously Realized, Slow Burn Romance 

Filmmaker Todd Haynes is one of the few contemporary American auteurs, and inarguably the least celebrated.  Of that finite club, it may be true that Haynes is the most eclectic, artistic and perhaps even visionary. His low profile should change with his new picture, Carol, a gorgeously evocative, slow burn amour fou between a wealthy […]

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens 

* * * The most important thing to know about Star Wars: The Force Awakens is that it returns a sense of fun to a floundering franchise—one that also happens to be the best loved movie property in history.  With two new characters and a handful of old ones, the evergreen theme of good versus […]

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The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl 

* * * * Eddie Redmayne gives the year’s best male performance in The Danish Girl, a fascinating portrait of real-life transgender pioneer Lile Elbe, the Danish painter who came to realize that her gender identity and physical body were incongruous and who, with neither the acceptance of society nor any existing role models, found […]

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Chi-Raq

Chi-Raq 

* * * * As an audacious warning alarm about Black-on-Black violence in Chicago and using every tool in his arsenal, Spike Lee’s high-wire act Chi-Raq is many things—social parable wrapped in sex satire piqued with music, spoken verse, direct address, set pieces, lavish color, high comedy and heart wrenching drama. It should not have […]

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