Aubrey Plaza leads a parade of bad taste and noir misfits in An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn

B-

To the extent that Jim Hosking’s cartoonishly grotesque characters can be called human, they paint an unflattering portrait of the species. They are dopes and bullies, middle-aged virgins and horndogs with bad hair, disgusting habits, ugly thrift-store clothes. The Greasy Strangler, his debut feature, pitched itself…

The writer-director of The Savages takes on an awkward subject in Private Life

B

The main characters of Tamara Jenkins’ Private Life, Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) and Richard (Paul Giamatti), are a fortysomething Manhattan couple who have spent a small fortune trying to have a baby—an obsession that their friends and relations liken to an addiction. She is a novelist who put off having kids for too long…

Peter Bogdanovich pays stodgy tribute to a comedy legend in The Great Buster

C+

Joseph Frank Keaton, nicknamed “Buster” from early childhood, started making movies in 1917 and continued working all the way until his death in 1966. But his legendary reputation as a comedian rests entirely on a prolific period that lasted from 1920 to 1928, when he released 19 ingenious short films and 12 features …

BlacKkKlansman is Spike Lee’s best and most entertaining film in ages

On this week’s episode of Film Club, critics A.A. Dowd and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky sit down to discuss the latest from Spike Lee, which tells the bizarre true story of Ron Stallworth, a black detective for the Colorado Springs Police Department who infiltrates the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan by posing as a white…

From the creator of This Is Us comes a melodrama even more dire than life itself

D

That our lives have an effect on total strangers is hardly news to ethicists, economists, or practitioners of the Golden Rule. But if goopy, everything-is-connected movies like Dan Fogelman’s Life Itself are to be believed, this simple fact of living in a world full of other people attests to nothing less than the…

Christopher Robin gives Winnie The Pooh and his furry friends the Hook treatment

On this week’s episode of Film Club, critics A.A. Dowd and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky take a look at Disney’s new live-action Christopher Robin, inspired by the Winnie The Pooh stories by A. A. Milne and E. H. Shepard. In a Hook-esque twist, Christopher Robin follows a now grown-up, workaholic Christopher whose inner child…

How is Mission: Impossible still this good?

The summer movie season starts to wind down this weekend with Mission: Impossible—Fallout, the latest entry from one of Hollywood’s most reliably entertaining franchises. In a first for the series, which usually changes helmers with each film, Rogue Nation writer-director Christopher McQuarrie returns to orchestrate…

Nicolas Cage on going full Nicolas Cage in Mandy: "It is something I surf with"

There are three sides to Nicolas Cage. There is Serious Actor Cage, who produces humane, Oscar-winning performances that mask a deep, boiling sea of emotion behind his bleary eyes. There is Left Behind Cage, in which he murmurs for awhile until they give him his check. And there is, well, Cage Cage, where viewers feel…

Another Halloween, a new Suspiria, and a second Goosebumps outbreak are coming this October

So many movies, so little time. Every week brings a new crop of them, opening in multiplexes and arthouse theaters across the nation, and arriving in increasingly high volumes on streaming platforms like Netflix. How’s a voracious moviegoer to keep up? That’s where The A.V. Club comes in. The first week of every…

Hale County, This Morning, This Evening finds beauty in the small moments of black Southern life

B-

Hale County, Alabama, which has a population of just under 16,000, is best known as the subject of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, James Agee and Walker Evans’ classic and influential book about the white rural poor. One can presume that this fact played a role in the conception of RaMell Ross’ Hale County, This…

Not even Denzel can save the bland Equalizer 2 from itself

Welcome back to another edition of Film Club. For this week’s second episode , A.A. Dowd and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky follow up their discussion of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again with a look at another lazy sequel. Although Denzel Washington has proven himself to be a credible action star in the past (see his collaborations…

"Here we go again" indeed: Our critics see more jukebox tackiness in the Mamma Mia! sequel

For the first of two Film Club segments today, critics A.A. Dowd and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky discuss the jukebox musical Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, a combination sequel and prequel to the 2008 box-office hit. Even with a new writer-director (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’s Ol Parker), Here We Go Again learns nothing…

Nicolas Cage takes a chainsaw to ’80s action cheese in the heavy-metal fantasia of Mandy

B

Panos Cosmatos knows his audience. But does he know anything else? Both of his films to date (Beyond The Black Rainbow, the new Mandy) have been exercises in psychotronic drag-ass, best appreciated by a certain kind of movie freak—the devotees of the church of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Heavy Metal, in Mandy’s…

Even with a much bigger building, Skyscraper falls way short of Die Hard

On this edition of Film Club, critics A.A. Dowd and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky sit down to discuss Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s latest star vehicle Skyscraper, the newest addition to Hollywood’s vast stable of Die Hard knockoffs, with the action in this entry taking place in The Pearl, a building that comfortably dwarfs Die…