New York Observer

Tag Is a Toxic, Clueless Example of Male Privilege, June 14 2018"It is not terribly surprising that they made a movie about grown men playing the same aggressive and destructive game of tag for over 20 years. It is an idea that carries the pungent stink of inevitability.


If Director X's SuperFly Has a Social Justice Message, It Gets Lost in the Glitter, June 13 2018: "There is something narcotic and languid about his pacing and camera work that feels purposeful and stylistic when the script is focused but comes off as stumbling and haphazard when the story looses momentum, which is often."


You Rarely See a Sequel Like Incredibles 2, June 11 2018: "Brad Bird controls every aspect of this movie with many shades of humor, the ability to address important topics with a light touch, and a gracefully moving camera that responds to the action with the flowing artistry of Ginger Rogers following Fred Astaire in a waltz."


The Mister Rogers Documentary is What the World Needs Right Now, June 5 2018: "Despite sometimes coming off as a kind of 20th century Jesus in a cardigan, Mister Rogers is not coming back. But it looks like, as demonstrated in this remarkable film, he left a few things behind that just might be able to help."


Johnny Knoxville's Action Point is Like a Sad Jackass Meetup, June 1 2018: "The ball-smashing libertarianism on display in the new comedy Action Point—which the former Jackass majordomo stars in, co-wrote and produced—is one that bemoans the nanny state, helicopter parenting, and “corporate douchebags” who litigate the fun and creativity out of our lives."


Solo Builds a Sanitized Corporate Backstory for Everyone's Favorite Flyboy, May 24 2018: "Solo: A Star Wars Story won’t ruin anyone’s childhood. But it won’t make it much more interesting either." 


Melissa McCarthy's Life of the Party Shows Gags Can't Stand in for Substance, May 11 2018: "Removal of the specs and a quick brush out of the mom perm is apparently enough to transform her, a la Sandy in Grease, into a party animal ready to grind on the dance floor with a cute frat brother." 


The Only Living Boy in New York is Glazed in White Rich Male Privilege, August 9 2017: "This may be the absolute worst time in American history to make a sex fantasy for a privileged white bro child, which is all this light variation on the theme from The Graduate ultimately is."


Quiet Columbus Crafts a Cinematic Love Story for Mid-Century Modernist Architecture, August 3 2017: "This stroll through a living museum of Modern masterpieces has a grandeur and precision that deserves to be witnessed in a movie theater. Save The Dark Tower for VOD; get in the car to see Columbus."


Part Fiction, Part Documentary, Yiddish Menashe Lacks Cohesion, July 27 2017: "Considering the talent involved, and the rare opportunity presented to visit intimately with people many of us know best as fellow strap hangers on the subway, both we and them deserve a little bit better."


Work of Art War for the Planet for the Apes Redeems Summer Spectacle Season, July 13 2017: "This is a morally and artistically complex film, one that expertly melds high and low, significant and silly."


Lady Macbeth: An Odd Little Period Thriller Doesn't Quite Come Together, July 7 2017: "As much as the rather dimwitted Sebastian enraptures Katherine, there is a sense that she chose to have an affair to break the monotony of her day, which is largely consumed by napping. Indeed, Sebastian’s initial come-on to Katherine is to inquire if she is bored. Turns out, she was."


13 Minutes Is a Gripping Melodrama about a Lost Hero of the Resistance, June 30 2017: "It is high time that we not only knew Georg Elser’s name and story, but took a moment to recognize that his was a true act of heroism."


Spider-Man: Homecoming Is Good Fun, But Tony Stark Has Got to Go, June 30 2017: "When Downey Jr. first played the playboy defense contractor almost a decade ago, Stark’s flaws were fascinating, informed as they were by the actor’s own troubled past. Now he just seems like a petulant jerk with way too much power."


The Big Sick Is as Honest, Funny and Romantic As We Need It to Be, June 23 2017: "By borrowing from their real life, Gordon and Nanjiani have crafted the rare romance that sparkles with real life emotion. By the time we reach its well-earned ending, you are left with the powerful sense that for this pair, things have only just begun."


Transformers: The Last Knight Is Sloppy, Stupid and Quite Possibly Evil, June 21 2017: "It is loud and dumb and it expects its fans to be the same in its defense— to decry anyone who might take issue with it as elitist members of this summer’s no fun squad."


Beatriz at Dinner Boasts Dynamite Performances, But About That Ending…, June 9 2017: "Who would have guessed that Hayek and Lithgow — and not, say, a pair of alien-born transforming cars — would provide this summer’s most compelling and dynamic head-to-head face off."


My Cousin Rachel is a Bloodless Gothic Romance, June 8 2017: "Both the film and the chemistry generated between Weisz and Claflin feel about as smoldering and lustful as a tub of margarine."


Captain Underpants Is an Inspired and Subversive Piece of Animated Silliness, June 2 2017: "…Perhaps you just appreciate a good night of fun at the movies, which this candy colored and pure hearted collection of potty humor serves up with enough postmodern glee and subversion that it is likely to entertain those of us who don’t drink sugar water out of Mylar pouches."


A Woman's Life Is a Deeply Felt, Exquisitely Rendered French Drama, May 12 2017: "It’s a little long, profoundly sad, and filled with moments of minutiae that we are forced to interpret rather than have their intended meanings stapled to them like garage sale signs onto telephone poles."


Risk Is Muddled, Complicated Peek Into Julian Assange's Toxic Narcissism, May 5 2017: "We may not get a perfect documentary with Risk, but at least we get a very real and truthful sense of just how hard these kinds of movies are to make."  


The Fate of the Furious, or Stop Worrying and Love the Fast and Furious Films, April 13 2017: "Jason Statham's balletic airborne martial arts dance while holding a baby is not only one of cinema’s cleverest John Woo tributes, but a joyfully absurd way to kick off the summer movie season."


The Boss Baby: The Meme Pretending to Be a Movie, March 30 2017: "I guess baby butts are funny or cute or something, but only in the right context and in far more limited doses than this."


Spring 2017's Top 10 Unmissable Movies, March 29 2017: "In contrast to his gangsta image, Tupac Shakur could at times be a real goofball."


Un Padre No Tan Padre Is a Pleasing But Familiar Family Comedy from Mexico, January 27 2017: "By the time it's over, you feel a bit like you don't want the vacation to end even though it rained for the last few days." 


13th Is a Dense, Compelling Encyclopedia of Woke, November 7 2016: "It feels like the manifestation of that ghostly Encyclopedia of Woke many of us have been grasping for since the Black Lives Matter movement sprung up following the acquittal of the man who killed Trayvon Martin."


Antithetical Anti-Hazing Frat Film Goat Fails to Get It, September 14 2016: "By the end you feel like one of the pledges disappointed by the outcome of all that humiliation. Why did we even bother? Dude, I have no idea. I have no idea, bro."


Author, The JT Leroy Story Is a Compelling Exploration of Deception and the 1990s, September 6 2016: "The film effectively explores the nature of identity, celebrity, and the creative process in a way that is satisfying, even if many of the questions it raises don't get entirely answered."


Southside with You is Powerfully Romantic, Despite Classic Biopic Pitfalls, August 25 2016: "There are instances in Southside with You that inspire incredulous groans and seem lifted from a parody of a biopic of the early life of an Incredibly Important Person." 


War Dogs: What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing, August 19 2016: "Much of the early film is spent with the boys scouring the government bid website like a couple of Hummel collectors looking to make a few bucks flipping figurines on eBay."


Imperium, Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Is a Sadly Relevant Crash Course in Racism, August 19 2016: "Still, there are moments when Imperium is plenty cheesy. Most of them come courtesy of Toni Collette as Radcliffe's FBI handler; she chews gum in every scene – presumably because the scenery did not provide enough sustenance."


Kubo and the Two Strings Review: A Cool But Flawed Stop-Motion Masterpiece, August 18, 2016: "The film can strut its Joseph-Campbell-by-way-of-Akira-Kurosawa pedigree like a third-year film student and sometimes seems to prefer to astound and amaze rather than entertain."


In Florence Foster Jenkins, Meryl Street and Hugh Grant Make Cluelessness a Virtue, August 16, 2016: "The film belongs to the iron lady."


Disney's Pete's Dragon Reboot Pits Mickey Against Magic, August 16, 2016: "While Pete's Dragon does manage to take flight and occasionally soar, like the overgrown golden retriever at its center, it just can't seem to stick the landing."


Indignation: A Sexy Philip Roth Romp, July 27, 2016: "Finally, a Philip Roth book that has been properly adapted into a movie!"


Into the Forest: Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood Make a Home in the Dark, July 27 2016: "One of the more intimate and thoughtful takes on the post-apocalypse in cinematic memory."


What Mr. Right Gets Wrong: Pretty Much Everything, April 2 2016Mr. Right isn't a bad movie as much as it is two-and-a-half, maybe three bad movies playing all at the same time."


Louder than Bombs: A Moving Take on Family, War and Loss, April 8 2016: "This is a movie that captures, with singular intimacy and humanity, just how difficult it can be to communicate with the people you love most."


What to Stream: Future True Detective Director Finds the Gothic Horror in Jane Eyre, September 2 2014: "This is Jane Eyre should be, a rough and tumble proto-feminist film noir that's closer to a horror story than a Victorian romance."


Plate Throwers, Donkey Acts, and Jerry Lewis. Why Wouldn't We Want You to See Funny Bones?: "If it all sounds a bit cute, I assure you it’s not. Funny Bones comes off as profoundly personal on behalf of its Blackpool-born director. But cute? No movie that features Jerry Lewis standing on a beach telling his comedian son that he isn’t funny could ever be branded as such."


If Amy Broke Your Heart, Brace Yourself for Senna: "This is a movie electric with you-are-there immediacy, whether behind the wheel of a terrifyingly fast car on the streets of Monaco, or at a testy drivers-only meeting that teems with love and resentment."


Ronin Outsmarted (And Outdrive) the Average Action Film: "My favorite hero moment of any action flick is the self-stitch. You know, that scene where the fallen champion grits his teeth, yanks a bullet from his belly or arm, then calmly sews it all up again like a grandmother darning a sock…The king of the self-stitch (or the near self-stitch) is Robert DeNiro in the 1998 gem Ronin."


The Babadook is the Horror Film for Adults: "This is the most genuinely terrifying thing to come out of movie darkness since Norman Bates first started chattering on about his taxidermy collection."


You ARE Being Watched; So You Should Watch The Lives of Others: "If you are are looking for a bit more ice–and verisimilitude–in your Cold War cocktail, you can do no better than 2006's The Lives of Others."


How Walk Hard Made Every Other Music Biopic Obsolete: "What Austin Powers did for James Bond, Dewey Cox does for every music legend whose life story has been adapted for the screen. And even though it's complete fiction, it's a pretty accurate history of rock n'roll."


The Darkly Obsessive Big Fan Made Us Even Bigger Fans of Patton Oswalt: "The cynicism in Big Fan's soul is real and it's pitch black: the movie's message, at least in part, is that for common folk, our only heroic option is to take our beat downs gladly and and without complaint. But the film's most shocking element may just be its tenderness."


The Haunting is Scorcese's Favorite Horror Film. It Should Be Yours Too: "Like the very best films that freak us out–Psycho and The Shining top that list–The Haunting's scares are the result of the meticulous planning of a master craftsman. Wise–who won two Oscars for directing and producing West Side Story two years earlier and was nominated for editing Citizen Kane–is firing on all cylinders with this genre piece."


Robot Love: If Frank Langella Can Form a Bond with a Robot, Anyone Can: "With its view of technology as a potential cure for rather than cause of human loneliness, Robot & Frank would make an inspired double feature with Spike Jonze's more celebrated Her. Like most art worth your time, heart, and dollar, both films are about the triumph of love at its most unlikely."


The Kinda-Documentary Stories We Tell Is About Everything that Matters: "This is a movie that shows us that any answer to a question is itself another question, and that the stories we tell are as much a mixture of the joy and longing that animate our spirit as they are truthful recollections of the past."


The Savages Might Be the Greatest Philip Seymour Hoffman Performance You Missed: "The Savages is a 1927 Yankees kind of film, where every element–the intimately framed cinematography, the precisely realized set design, the piano-based score–performs at its peak. This is especially true of the acting: for all his Capotes and Masters, Hoffman was always most affecting when playing a character most like himself."


The Mad Men to Watch While You Wait for the Other Mad Men to Return: "It's a happy film about sadness, a film with a dark heart that looks like a bag of Skittles. Whether on a Caddie fin, the plush carpet of a row house, or the evening jacket of Fine Young Cannibals frontman Roland Gift, the colors in Tin Men pop and glisten, just like Levinson's language."


Let the Right One In is a Stunning Meditation on Childhood Love, Loneliness, and Um…Vampires: "In many ways, Let the Right One In is a blood-soaked take on classic Peanuts, only Charlie Brown gets his happy ending and the little red-haired girl scales walls and rips faces off of neighborhood drunks."


Before Midnight and Now You See Me, June 10 2013: "Hawke and Delpy respond to each other with such easy intimacy that it's impossible to imagine that they haven't spent the past nine years together."


Morning Glory and Unstoppable, November 22, 2010: "It's fun watching Rachel McAdams' unsinkable spunk square off with Harrison Ford's epic grump, but the film lacks the amorous fizz that powers the best romantic comedies."


Review: Kestral's Eye, January 30 2000: "In what could be a textbook on how to construct a story without plot or dialogue, Kristersson pieces together a cohesive narrative about two animals' quest for survival and proliferation in an indifferent world."


Review: Cremaster 2, October 25 1999: "In crafting American pop-culture detritus into an idiosyncratic biography, Barney's experimental film is not unlike its more mainstream counterparts, such as Being John Malkovich."


Review: The Old Man and the Sea, September 13 1999: "While Petrov and the film's producers deserve admiration for undertaking such a painstaking and ambitious independent project, Old Man leaves one wondering what Hollywood animators could do with Imax's seven-story screens."