Category Oscar Season

A Star Is Born

Lady Gaga is the first who becomes a movie star in front of us. When she first appears here, Gaga is worlds removed from her concert act: her hair is natural; her eyes are wide and unadorned; she speaks with a slight New York accent. Jackson Maine cautions her character Ally to be honest, and that’s advice Gaga has taken to heart. Gaga’s strongest career asset seems to be her ability to transform, to costume herself and strip herself down like a chameleon.

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BlacKkKlansman

One year after white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Spike Lee is here with BlacKkKlansman, shedding light on our nationalist upswing through the lens of the true-to-life 1970s infiltration by two cops (one black, one Jewish) of a chapter of the KKK.

You might think this straight-up satire, if you didn’t know it’s (mostly) true.

My Summer at the Movies

Last week, I caught Eighth Grade, the first movie written and directed by comedian Bo Burnham. I don’t know his comedy, though I’m watching his “Kill Yourself” bit right now. It’s the perfect late-summer movie. Pick this one when your MoviePass won’t let you into Mission Impossible: Fallout.  Burnham captures the strange and terrifying world of […]

Hereditary

A door that’s locked tight. A mysterious tree house outside the bedroom window. A scribbled word on the wall. A creepy-as-hell little girl.

For most of its runtime, Hereditary pulls bits and pieces from horror movies across the ages to create something gripping and bewildering.

A Quiet Place

Spring can be a drab time to go to the movies, but some well-made genre movies and smaller gems find a way to stand out. While Black Panther crushes it on the superhero front, John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place has become a surprise box-office hit. Even with the presence of two married stars, this horror movie feels […]

Oscars Week: Recapping the Movies of 2017

Let’s start with the nine Best Picture nominees. If you asked me to predict the leading contenders months ago, I wouldn’t have anticipated a standoff between The Shape of Water and Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. But though neither is #1 on my ballot, both movies, in their own way, are representative of the 2017 movie landscape.

Oscars Week: Why Weren’t They Nominated?

I’m kicking off the Oscars Week countdown with a few performances that shouldn’t have been overlooked this awards season.

Molly’s Game

Eight years in Hollywood, two years in New York. Movie stars, celebrity athletes–and Russian mobsters. With Molly Bloom as our guide, we gain access to an exclusive club, where the money flows freely and the rich and famous meet once a week to gamble their wealth away. It’s prime Aaron Sorkin territory, sweeping back the curtain on the garish underworld of high-stakes poker like he did for politics, television, and Silicon Valley. And for two-thirds of Molly’s Game, he delivers a smart, sleek movie that works his crisp repartee into the glitzy adrenaline of the game. But when Molly’s poker career folds, Sorkin squanders his own hand by playing the wrong cards.

BPM (Beats per Minute)

The last five minutes of BPM (Beats per Minute) are extraordinary. Director Robin Campillo takes all the strands of his story and cuts them together into an intoxicating, heartbreaking montage. Men and women are dancing their hearts out at a nightclub, while a man whose lover died spends the night with a friend, pouring out his grief in bed; all the while the ACT UP community makes one more triumphant political statement. The personal and the political are not separable…

Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread, with Daniel Day-Lewis’s alleged final performance, is as mysterious as its title suggests. Like much of Paul Thomas Anderson’s work, the movie is hypnotic, engrossing–and restless. Watching one of Anderson’s movies can be an exercise in surrender: the path can feel circuitous, and the destination sometimes unfathomable.