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Monday, February 18, 2019

How to watch every Oscar-nominated film

Are you still trying to play catch-up before the Academy Awards broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 24?

Friday, February 15, 2019

Movie Reviews: Isn't It Romantic, Happy Death Day 2U, Alita: Battle Angel, Capernaum

Folks looking for a Valentine's Day weekend movie will find three very different options at multiplexes, plus the local opening of one of this year's nominees for Best Foreign Language Film. Isn't It Romantic (pictured)—with Rebel Wilson as a woman trapped in an actual romantic comedy—walks a satisfying tightrope between spoofing rom-com tropes and fully embracing them.  The Oscar-nominated Syrian drama Capernaum adds a morally-indefensible premise to wallowing in poverty miserabilism.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Sundance 2019 Wrap-Up: 75 Movies in Brief

The best, the worst, the most political, the biggest crowd-pleasers and more.
Another Sundance Film Festival is in the books, with all the attendant buzz, Park City gridlock, celebrity sightings and good old-fashioned movie love. Our critics covered 75 features over the 11 days of the festival; here’s a roundup of that coverage.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Sundance Update: Saturday, Feb. 2

Paradise Hills, The Death of Dick Long, Queen of Hearts, Imaginary Order and more
Paradise Hills (NEXT) ** Allegorical science-fiction is hard enough to pull off without profound confusion as to what you’re being allegorical about. Emma Roberts plays Uma, a young woman involuntarily committed by her mother to an idyllic “center for emotional healing” where she and other young women are trained to be what other people want them to be.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Sundance Update: Friday, Feb. 1

Honey Boy, Sweetheart, The Brink, One Child Nation and more.
Honey Boy (U.S. Dramatic) * No point in mincing words: I found this enterprise distasteful—essentially a Daddie Dearest for the therapeutic society. Scripted by Shia LeBeouf, it tells two parallel stories involving Otis, a child-adult star very like LeBeouf.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Sundance Update: Thursday, Jan. 31

The Report, Cold Case Hammerskjold, Official Secrets, Light from Light and more
The Report (Premieres) *** An elegantly-made information dump is still an information dump, and that is indeed what writer/director/longtime Steven Soderbergh collaborator Scott Z. Burns offers in his paper-chase political thriller surrounding the investigation into the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques. Adam Driver plays Dan Jones, a staffer for the Senate Intelligence Committee who heads up a task force trying to get to the bottom of why the CIA tortured prisoners, and what if anything was gained.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Sundance Update: Wednesday, Jan. 30

Big Time Adolescence, Brittany Runs a Marathon, Before You Know It and more
Big Time Adolescence (U.S. Dramatic) *** Hypotheticallly speaking, if this movie consisted solely of 90 minutes of Pete Davidson smiling goofily at the world and describing everything as “sick,” it might still be hella-fun to watch. It turns out to be more than that, following the friendship between 16-year-old high-school student Mo (Griffin Glick) and his unlikely best friend: 23-year-old Zeke, the pot-smoking, layabout ex-boyfriend of Mo's sister.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Sundance Update: Tuesday, Jan. 29

Knock Down the House, Little Monsters, Them That Follow, The Last Black Man in San Francisco and more
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (Premieres) *1/2 Charismatic psycho killers are a well-established type in Hollywood mythology, but while Ted Bundy was the real deal, Joe Berlinger’s true-crimes thriller embraces the Hollywood myth. Zac Efron gives a committed performance, not as Bundy exactly, but as Bundy’s public face at its most presentable: the smooth charm and magnetism Ted turns on for single-mom Liz Kloepfer (Lily Collins), with whom he becomes involved, and others from potential victims to authorities.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Sundance Update: Monday, Jan. 28

The Wolf Hour, The Hole in the Ground, Hala, The Farewell and more
The Wolf Hour (NEXT) **1/2 If you want to see Chekhov’s gun rule violated, the Son of Sam (or is it?) not kill someone, a novel get written in a week, a chain-smoking Naomi Watts and the 1977 New York City blackout as the third-act instigator—here is your movie.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sundance Update: Sunday, Jan. 27

Late Night, The Nightingale, The Lodge, Dirty God, The Sound of Silence and more
Late Night (Premieres)  *** It would be the height of un-self-awareness for a white dude writer to suggest that the main thing holding back Mindy Kaling's crowd-pleaser of a script is going too easy on the stacked deck in favor of white dude writers, but, well … yeah. She plays Molly Patel, an inexperienced would-be comedy writer who lands her first gig as an openly-stated “diversity hire” for a long-lived late-night talk show hosted by Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson).

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