• The Humans

    The Humans

    ★★★½

    A talky family drama that takes place almost entirely within a rundown, two-level Chinatown apartment building, Stephen Karam’s adaptation of his own Tony-winning play The Humans is laden with malevolent portent from the start. Even before anyone in the film speaks a word, we’re jolted when a shockingly loud thump disrupts a quiet moment of reflection by Erik (Richard Jenkins), the patriarch of the Blake family. Such strange noises from the apartment upstairs—occupied, we’re told, by an elderly Chinese woman…

  • Benedetta

    Benedetta

    ★★★★

    Ohh, I love legitimate cinema.

  • Drive My Car

    Drive My Car

    ★★★

    Stephen Snyder, writing of Haruki Murakami's "Samsa in Love," notes that the story "is, and means to be, immediately and readily translatable, a text that by its nature enters into the flow of translation traffic." Indeed, Murakami's entire body of work, Snyder argues, "succeeds in translation and finds a global audience exactly because it is intended for translation from the original place of its creation."

    I couldn't help but think of Snyder's essay while watching Drive My Car, a film…

  • C'mon C'mon

    C'mon C'mon

    ★★★

    Writer-director Mike Mills is a scavenger of often pithy moments that distill an incident, conversation, or life-changing event to its emotional essence. With a penchant for jump cuts, cross-cutting, and musical montages, his films might be described as fragmentary if not for their unifying spirit of psychological inquiry. Their every moment is carefully curated to express both the fundamental qualities of his characters as well as their mutability. There’s something of Terrence Malick in Mills’s approach, particularly in his preference…

  • Red Notice

    Red Notice

    ★½

    Rawson Marshall Thurber’s Red Notice is the cinematic equivalent of a blandly competent cover band cranking out perfunctory versions of hits you know by heart. With sequences lifted wholesale from everything from Face/Off to The Thomas Crown Affair, the film is so bereft of original ideas that it almost starts to play as a winking genre mashup, something like what Kill Bill might look like if Quentin Tarantino was more into Jerry Bruckheimer and Steven Spielberg than Sergio Corbucci and…

  • Prayers for the Stolen

    Prayers for the Stolen

    ★★★½

    When the helicopters show up in the skies around the nameless Mexican village at the center of Prayers for the Stolen, the safest place to be is in the poppy fields. That’s a perverse irony given the fact that the helicopters are seemingly there to spray the illicit crop with an herbicide as part of a drug crop eradication program.

    Instead, a local cartel has paid the operators of the copters to dump the chemicals anywhere else except above the…

  • Lamb

    Lamb

    ★★½

    Shortly after Norm Macdonald’s death, a 2009 clip of the comedian telling his “moth joke” on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien went viral. A rambling shaggy-dog story about a moth pouring forth its troubles to a podiatrist, the joke accumulates a kind of giddy anxiety in the listener as Macdonald stretches this thin premise well past the point of decorum for a late-night talk show, loading on more and more existentialist misery before, finally, getting to the hilariously anticlimactic…

  • Flee

    Flee

    ★★★

    Amin Nawabi, the pseudonymous subject of Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s animated documentary Flee, is an enigma both to others and himself. An academic who fled Afghanistan for Denmark as a teenager, Amin has kept the particularities of his past a secret even to his closest friends, including Rasmussen, who’s been close with Amin ever since he encountered him on a local train when they were in their teens. Having agreed to tell his story on camera, Amin begins by sharing his…

  • Il buco

    Il buco

    ★★★

    Michelangelo Frammartino’s Il Buco is a docu-fiction hybrid that lovingly and patiently recreates a speleological expedition deep inside a remote sinkhole. But while the film is at once meticulous in its evocation of mid-century Italian spelunking, its search for broader thematic resonance is frustratingly general.

    From the surface, the titular hole appears as a scar on the picturesque Calabrian countryside—the same setting that Frammartino explored with hushed jubilance in 2010’s Le Quattro Volte—but as we’ll see through the filmmaker’s detailed…

  • Derek DelGaudio's In & of Itself

    Derek DelGaudio's In & of Itself

    ★½

    The fact that DeRay went to this show and chose the "I Am a Visionary" card is so fucking funny.

  • Saint Jack

    Saint Jack

    ★★★★

    Underrated entry in the small canon of anti-CIA Hollywood films. Depicts with such intimacy, humor and lived-in detail the almost invisible way the CIA harnesses underworld activity and redirects it for its own nefarious purposes.

  • Candyman

    Candyman

    ★★★½

    Nia DaCosta’s Candyman rests on a daring wager that unifies the spooky mythos established in Bernard Rose’s original film and the Clive Barker story on which it’s based with the contemporary realities of police violence and resistance. Candyman (Tony Todd), as every schoolchild knows, is a vengeful killer with a hook for a hand, who’s summoned by staring at one’s own reflection in the mirror and repeating his name five times. And DaCosta’s film draws a parallel between that incantation…