mother!
Sofia
Battle of the Sexes
Blade Runner 2049
The Florida Project

The Florida Project

The Florida Project 

*** 1/2 A portrait of childhood as an escape from the hard realities of socioeconomic misfortune and emotionally ill-equipped parents, Sean Baker’s The Florida Project is an observation of a handful of South Florida motel denizens trying their damndest to survive while their children somehow manage to live a happy existence on the periphery of the […]

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Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 

*** A magnificent technical achievement, Blade Runner 2049 must be seen on the big screen for is visual and aural accomplishments which are, frankly, staggering. As directed by Denis Villeneuve, shot by Roger Deakins and scored by Hans Zimmer, it’s as intensely cinematic as anything you’re likely to ever see, and those elements are reason […]

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Battle of the Sexes

Battle of the Sexes 

*** 1/2 The ad campaign is selling Battle of the Sexes as a high comedy, but it’s also a complex behind-the-scenes relationship drama as much about tennis legend Billie Jean King’s hidden identity politics as the overt social ones driving the plot. Directed by Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton (Little Miss Sunshine, Ruby Sparks) with […]

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Sofia

Sofia 

The best love stories don’t have happy endings, and Chicago filmmaker Justin Nico Flocco’s Sofia, shot in Argentina and chronicling the stranger-in-a-strange-land odyssey of a young American on the streets of Buenos Aires, is a brief, polished love and loss tale heavy on mood and style that holds its narrative cards close until its final […]

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mother!

mother! 

mother! * * A tale told with sound and fury signifying very little, Darren Aronofsky’s mother! may be his first movie misfire. In a career of audacious pictures, proof positive of membership a very small club of contemporary auteurs, Aronofsky is as visionary as they come—even when the vision spirals out of control. And this […]

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Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth 

*** 1/2 It isn’t Shakespeare, but rather a wicked subversion of Jane Austen on order in the terrific new Lady Macbeth, a tightly coiled portrait of a desperate Victorian housewife who goes to, well, drastic measures for liberation. The picture has the tasteful elegance of any number of drawing room period dramas, but “sense” and […]

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 

* 1/2 Luc Besson’s epic folly Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a work of unbridled “creativity” that left me agog—and not happily—at its high-concept silliness performed with all the energy of rigor mortis by two sullen, miscast stars without clue what kind of picture is going on around them while Besson […]

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Dunkirk

Dunkirk 

*** 1/2 Dunkirk is, quite simply, the most astonishingly immersive war picture ever made. Does that make it the best? In a feat of visual storytelling that will not be equaled in a movie this year, co-writer and director Christopher Nolan creates a symphony of images, sound and fury onscreen, recreating an early WWII episode […]

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Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming 

*** The Marvel superhero franchise, labored with one picture after another churned out to capitalize on the individual and collective Avengers is as commoditized as American movies get. They don’t even have to be good. Except now there’s one that is, and it happens to be a bit or a surprise because it really shouldn’t […]

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The Beguiled

The Beguiled 

*** Sophia Coppola’s The Beguiled, for which she won the directing prize at Cannes this year, is a sum of its parts picture with enough going for it to recommend, but not quite enough to transcend its inherently pulpy story. But it sure is fun while it lasts. Based on Don Siegel’s 1971 film of […]

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