new films

Film Legends De Niro, Pacino, Pesci Aren’t Enough to Save ‘The Irishman’ From Itself

Christopher Karr

The shortsightedness of the filmmakers is on display in an unsettling way; they didn’t take into account two fundamental aspects of acting that make all the difference: eyes and physicality. Scorsese expressed concerns about how the de-aging affected the eyes of the performers earlier this year on A24’s “A Bigger Canvas” podcast, saying, “Certain shots need more work on the eyes.” But an even bigger problem is the fact that the actors, now in their mid-70s or older, don’t have the physicality of their younger selves.

Tarantino Delivers a Genius – and Peculiar – Masterpiece in ‘Once Upon a Time…’

Christopher Karr

The ending notwithstanding, there are times when the movie soars: The opening sequence that accompanies the credits is a breathtaking collage that plunges you completely into the headspace and milieu a different totally time. Brad Pitt gives the coolest performance of his career, and I mean “coolest” in the purest possible sense: cooler than Brando at his coolest, cooler than Steve McQueen (who appears as a character in the film long enough to give a monologue before disappearing completely). Pitt’s rapport with his dog is one of the more touching elements. 

‘Other Music’ and the New York City of a Bygone Era

Christopher Karr

The movie chronicles the shuttering up of New York City’s most beloved record store, Other Music, which took exquisite pride in championing the kind of musicians whose work you wouldn’t find at Tower Records across the street. The owners and employees acted as indie curators, relishing every opportunity to geek out over thousands of obscure musicians, personally selecting albums based on their customers’ tastes and inclinations. 

The Complex Constructs of Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’

Christopher Karr

Us is murkier and messier and more ambitious. You could intuit as much from the perplexing extended teaser that gave a splashing glance at the evocative, nightmarish imagery. Indeed, Peele’s focus as a visual storyteller has sharpened. He amplifies the more stunning frames in Us with a pulsating score that signals foreboding, menace, and misery. Even a shot as conceptually simple as a blood-red candy apple dropping into the sand sparks waves of meaning. He stages an agonizingly slow zoom-out of countless rabbits in cages so powerfully and confidently that you feel overwhelmed by the palpable dread of unspoken sadism. 

‘9-22’: Animated Drama Explores Deceptions of U.S. Foreign Policy

Tara Taghizadeh

The film 9-22, is about a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who ends up fighting for his life, as he struggles to investigate the untold, dark history of U.S.-Iran relations in the 1980s to save his client (an imprisoned former Navy Special Operations pilot). 9/22/1980 was the date Saddam Hussein invaded Iran and started the Iran-Iraq war. 9/22 was also the name of Saddam Hussein’s chemical warfare program’s code name. 

Family, Legacy Celebrated in Mexican Animated Film 'Coco'

Piya Sinha-Roy

“There’s a lot of divisive rhetoric that aims to make us (Latino people) less than,” said Benjamin Bratt, who voices Miguel’s musical idol and late great-great-grandfather Ernesto de la Cruz. “It’s unintended but by demonstrating what really exists, (this film) goes a long way to showing that we’re all in fact in this together and are more alike than we are different,” Bratt added.

Greta Gerwig Makes Directorial Debut With ‘Lady Bird’

Piya Sinha-Roy

The film, which opened in limited theaters last week and will roll out in more U.S. theaters this month, marks the solo directing debut of Gerwig, 34. She carved a career co-writing and starring in independent darlings such as 2010’s “Greenberg” and 2012’s “Frances Ha.”  “Lady Bird” has already garnered critical praise and early awards buzz. “She just has this unique lens of seeing the world,” actor Beanie Feldstein, who plays Lady Bird’s best friend Julie, said of Gerwig. ​

Filmmaker Frederick Wiseman Discusses His New Film, ‘Ex Libris — New York Public Library’

Titi Yu

While many of Wiseman’s other films examine the darker forces of institutions, Ex Libris is a meditation on the central role of the New York Public Library (NYPL) in New York’s intellectual and civic life. Like all of Wiseman’s films, his genius lies in the ways in which he can create meaning out of the mundane. Wiseman wanders the administrative halls of the library and drops in on staff meetings that might otherwise be seen as a bore. 

‘Battle of the Sexes’ -- Then and Now

Lynn Sherr

That scene, in Battle of the Sexes, the smartly engaging and depressingly relevant new movie about the match starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, is a blast from the past loaded with lessons for the future, an eerie reminder that today’s rebloom of sexism is a scary echo of decades — actually, centuries — of innate and cultural misogyny. And it’s a handy playbook to get through our current crisis. Crises.

‘The Loft,’ ‘Seventh Son’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Director Eric Van Looy’s remake of the Danish film “Loft” is an off-kilter morality play marked by unseemly characters, unlikely actions and a multitude of twists. The plot centers on five men – Vincent (Karl Urban), Chris (James Marsden), Luke (Wentworth Miller), Marty (Eric Stonestreet) and Philip (Matthias Schoenaerts) – who agree to rent a secret loft where they can take women without their wives’ knowledge.

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