By the Grace of God [Grâce à Dieu] REVIEW

By the Grace of God [Grâce à Dieu] (2019)

Near the end comes a moment when Alexandre is asked whether he still believes in God. The scene cuts from a complex reaction shot, the question left unanswered. The point, I think, is neither to affirm faith nor to deny it, but to highlight the stakes. By their action or inaction Church leaders make God more credible or less credible, instill faith or shatter it.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil REVIEW

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)

It’s tempting to suppose that Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opening in the wake of Columbus Day isn’t a coincidence.

Joker REVIEW

Joker (2019)

Is it possible, in the world of Joker, to believe in real heroism? Do the filmmakers even care about that question?

Ad Astra REVIEW

Ad Astra (2019)

There seems to be no reason for the title Ad Astra, meaning “to the stars,” to be in Latin, except to highlight writer–director James Gray’s elevated intentions.

One Child Nation REVIEW

One Child Nation (2019)

Many movies have made me cry. Very few have been as difficult or impossible even to write about without crying as Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang’s brilliant, devastating Sundance Grand Jury winner One Child Nation.

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood [video] POST

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood [video]

Quentin Tarantino’s gifts are impossible to deny, but while I often find his set pieces mesmerizing, I have yet to fully buy into one of his films. This might be the closest one yet, though.

Midsommar [video] POST

Midsommar [video]

Why does Robin Hardy’s disquietingly cheery 1973 British folk-horror classic The Wicker Man work better than this sophomore film from the writer-director of Hereditary?

The Farewell [video] POST

The Farewell [video] (2019)

Fans of NPR’s This American Life already knew that Lulu Wang had an extraordinary story. What we now know is that she is also an extraordinary filmmaker.

Toy Story 4 [video] POST

Toy Story 4 [video] (2019)

For the first time, Pixar has made a Toy Story movie that adds nothing essential to the arc of the previous films. It’s still worth seeing.

The Dead Don’t Die [video] POST

The Dead Don’t Die [video] (2019)

I mean, you can kill them, but that’s not the point. The question is, were they ever alive in the first place?