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  • Cruella

    Cruella

    ★★

    Screener crapped out at 90 minutes. #Blessed

  • Limbo

    Limbo

    ★★★½

    There’s a thoughtfulness to director Ben Sharrock’s framing, from the pans to the frames within frames, that immediately sets the film apart from so many others obviously indebted to the work of Aki Kaurismäki and especially Roy Andersson. You never quite shake off the artificiality of the presentation, but that encumbrance feels attuned to the characters’ sense of displacement. There’s nothing much to the story, a simple tale of reckoning and atonement in a strange land, but it’s elevated by the intimacy of Sharrock’s blocking, the room he makes for kindness, and humor that feels like sweet dollops of relief from so much melancholy.

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  • Whiplash

    Whiplash

    ★½

    "Exhilarating," "astounding," and "electrifying" reads the quotes on the film's poster, from agents of our culture of mean. Okay, I'll give it "electrifying." Miles Teller is a mean drummer, or maybe it's the jazzy cutting that tricks one into thinking so, but the implausible scenario is pretty low-down in how it tries to milk suspense from an unbridled spectacle of human cruelty. Not even sure Damien Chazelle believes his paltry justification for J.K. Simmons's worse-than-Gordon-Ramsay shtick. Maybe someone needs to throw a director's chair at his head so we can see if he's capable of drumming up a "Casablanca."

  • The Lost City of Z

    The Lost City of Z

    ★★★★

    One of the quiet triumphs of James Gray's The Lost City of Z is how it posits artillery officer, archaeologist, and explorer Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam)—who disappeared along with his son, Jack (Tom Holland), in 1925 while searching for a fabled civilization in the Amazon rainforest—as a kindred spirit of The Immigrant's Ewa Cybulski. If the exact nature of Fawcett's obsession with Z remains frustratingly ineffable, that's by design, as Gray understands that the explorer sailed toward a new world,…