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Movie Review

Are you looking for recommendations about the best and worst in current film releases? Our movie reviews try to get past brief opinions and dig into why a given movie works, and what it has to offer.

Killers of the Flower Moon is a devastating snapshot of America’s truth laid bare

Scorsese’s latest demands — not asks — us to witness the horrors the US has wrought upon the Osage Nation and understand some of what it means for Indigenous people to survive in this country today.

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The zone of dissenting opinion.

I quite liked (but had some issues with) Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest. But critic (and very good Letterboxd follow) Kristen Yoonsoo Kim is a hater. Her take:

Why must I watch the inner lives of Nazis? I was hoping Glazer would answer that question but this film does not go into any enlightening or thought-provoking territory beyond, like, “here it is, the banality of evil! Also here are some random ‘experimental’ shots in between.”

(Also, does embedding Letterboxd posts work in our CMS? Let’s find out!)

Update: It does!

Planet of the dates.

Janet Planet, the film directorial debut from the widely celebrated playwright Annie Baker, premiered at NYFF yesterday. Set in Western Massachusetts in the early ‘90s, we see Janet (Julianne Nicholson) through the eyes of her 11-year-old daughter Lacy (Zoe Ziegler) watching her mother navigate several relationships. It’s funny, richly layered, and avoidant of tropes. (I also relish any movie where a child actor does not come across as too precocious!)

Baker’s stage experience shows in the dialogue and the precision of its rhythms; everywhere else, though, Janet Planet feels very well versed in the language of the screen.

I wish there was a trailer I could share! A24 has picked it up, and though tonally it’s different from Lady Bird, Aftersun, or Past Lives, there’s a shared quiet intimacy in all these films. Which is to say: if you liked any of those, you will probably love Janet Planet.

A still from Janet Planet, featuring actresses Julianne Nicholson and Zoe Ziegler as mother and daughter.
Julianne Nicholson and Zoe Ziegler as mother and daughter in Janet Planet.
Courtesy of A24

The chilling distance of The Zone of Interest

Jonathan Glazer’s austere Holocaust film offers a cold and unrelenting glimpse into the life of Auschwitz’s commandant

The Creator retreads familiar AI panic territory to stunningly inert effect

Gareth Edwards’ new dystopian sci-fi epic is a gorgeous morass of AI doomerism that’s lacking in the way of novel ideas.

Low interest rates and loneliness: the origins of the pandemic crypto boom

This Is Not Financial Advice and Easy Money attempt to explain the extremely online financial mania. Their very divergent takes show how difficult it is to fully understand.

Mutant Mayhem is a grody and gorgeous reintroduction to the TMNT

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is a classic retelling of its pizza-obsessed heroes’ origin story that’s elevated by phenomenal art direction.

This Barbie is a feminist parable fighting to be great in spite of Mattel’s input

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie is often good and sometimes great, but it always feels like it’s fighting to be itself rather than the movie Warner Bros. and Mattel Films want.

Hayao Miyazaki’s How Do You Live is a beautiful relic — and the end of an era

The mysterious new Studio Ghibli film has finally debuted in Japanese theaters, with a North American premiere due later this year under the name The Boy and the Heron.

birth/rebirth is the most haunting horror you need to see this summer.

Director Laura Moss’ birth/rebirth — a monstrous, moving, Frankenstein-inspired thriller starring Judy Reyes and Marin Ireland — was one of the most impressive films featured at this year’s Sundance film festival.

If the movie wasn’t already on your radar, this new trailer does a damn good job of showcasing why it needs to be ahead of birth/rebirth’s theatrical debut on August 18th.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is the mother of all self-aware AI panic flicks

Paramount’s seventh Mission: Impossible is the franchise’s biggest, silliest, and most stunt-filled Tom Cruise delivery system yet. But its self-awareness is more of a bug than a welcome feature.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is the start of something big, but it’s a terrible Beast Wars movie

Paramount’s new Transformers feature barely capitalizes on Beast Wars’ Maximals, but the action-packed movie has a couple of surprises sure to please a certain kind of fan.

The Little Mermaid is Disney’s most animated ‘live-action’ remake yet

Halle Bailey’s turn as The Little Mermaid’s Ariel is inspired, but the movie’s lackluster sense of visual magic does her very few favors.

Fast X’s running on the highest-octane fumes you’ve ever huffed

Universal’s 11th Fast & Furious movie is essentially a thinly plotted telenovela that’s way more fixated on feelings and family than cars.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a gorgeous spectacle that confuses schmaltz for sentimentality

James Gunn’s third Guardians movie is packed with stunning set pieces, but its saccharine attempts at sentimentality and a by-the-numbers plot keep it from ever reaching lift-off.

Suzume is everything that’s beautiful and moving about Makoto Shinkai’s imagination

Makoto Shinkai’s Suzume is his most exuberant movie yet and a powerful rumination on holding space for the past.