Experimenter is a smart film about a smart guy

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

Writer-director Michael Almereyda enter public consciousness back in 2000 with his moody, ultramodern take on Hamlet — which featured Ethan Hawke as a suitably disaffected crown prince, complete with woolly Peruvian hat.

If something there got lost amidst the static and the skyscrapers, then his latest film, Experimenter — about social psychologist Stanley Milgram (Peter Sarsgaard), particularly his famed experiment into obedience to authority — is certainly more to the point.…

Orthodox is too by-the-book to make much of an impact

2 Stars (2 / 5)

 

Is there any sport so cinematic as boxing?

Its grace and brutality lend themselves to celluloid, and especially the breed of tormented protagonist that tends to accompany them. Far from the glossy Hollywood melodramas that have defined the genre in recent years, the astutely named Orthodox counterpoints the sweet science with a new subject: faith.…

Bone Tomahawk is a brutal and welcome revisionist Western

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

In Bone Tomahawk, novelist turned filmmaker S. Craig Zahler takes an approach to the Western genre that is bright, dusty, and watered with blood — think The Searchers meet The Hills Have Eyes.

When a mysterious drifter (David Arquette) wanders into the idyllic settlement of Bright Hope, Chicory (Richard Jenkins), an amiable old buffer and “backup deputy”, promptly reports it to Sheriff Franklin (newfound Western afficionado Kurt Russell), who brings the drifter in… though not without violence.…

Deadpool is one half fourth-wall-breaking fun, one half totally run-of-the-mill superhero movie

3 Stars (3 / 5)

Okay, let’s do this.

Hard-bitten cop “Dirty” Harry Callahan must save San Francisco from a killer who’s bumping off resident celebrities. No, wait, sorry: that’s The Dead Pool. Deadpool is the latest addition to FOX’s Not-Quite Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Lobster is a blackly heartfelt chimera of a romcom

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 

You wait for one comedy about men being transformed into animals then two come along at once — a non-mating pair, if you will.

But where Kevin Smith’s Tusk was about a vicious comic forcibly losing his humanity due to a mad experiment, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster is altogether more social and universal.…

Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s latest, The Revenant, is a bit of an endurance test

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

Okay, so I have a problem with The Revenant.

It’s not the same issue I had with Argo back in 2012 (a decent retro thriller, not a Best Picture) or even with The Theory of Everything or American Sniper last year (good performances, not much else — also by no means indispensable).…

Trumbo is a barnstorming triumph of cinematic liberalism

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

From Sunset Boulevard to Argo, Hollywood has always been in the business of self-mythologizing.

It’s not often, though, that the industry takes its licks for the mistakes it’s made along the way.

Writ large among them is, of course, the blacklist, which saw scores of talented, Left-leaning film-makers left out in the cold as the paranoia surrounding Communism reached fever pitch.…

Spotlight digs deep and finds light in the darkness

5 Stars (5 / 5)

 

Spotlight opens at a police station circa 1976 where representatives of the Church, in conjunction with an Assistant DA, are participating in hushing up one such incident.

“I guess the Father was ‘helping out’”, a stocky old-timer wryly comments to a redheaded rookie as a likely sex offender is ushered into the back of a snow-frosted black sedan and away from prosecution.…