The King brilliantly traces the life of Elvis to discover where the country went wrong

The American Dream is a conceit that’s woven into the fabric of the country: Anyone can come to the U.S., and through hard work and diligence, accomplish anything they set out to do. It’s also almost a complete fabrication, as evidenced by the fact that the majority of the wealth in this country is controlled by an…

Robert Pattinson’s minor, offbeat Western Damsel has one great surprise up its sleeve

“Revisionist Western” has become a redundant distinction. After all, we live in an age when the very few Westerns that still get made are almost all postmodern in outlook—challenging this once-dominant genre’s most romantic clichés, depicting frontier life with unsparing historical accuracy, pushing back against the…

John Travolta and E from Entourage turn infamous mob boss Gotti into a scowling bore

Mob boss John Gotti—dubbed the “Teflon Don” after repeatedly being acquitted of crimes that he’d obviously committed—often sported a knowing smirk in public, taking evident pleasure in having literally gotten away with murder. Precious little of that mocking arrogance turns up in Gotti, a weirdly fawning biopic…

Solo’s Alden Ehrenreich buries his charm under the war-movie clichés of The Yellow Birds

Guileless charisma is the main weapon in Alden Ehrenreich’s holster. It’s why he was perfect as the blissfully ignorant singing cowboy of Hail, Caesar!, but also, perhaps, why he couldn’t quite disappear into Han Solo: There’s no hint of outlaw amorality—of anything other than boyish magnetism, really—behind his sly…

Brad Bird triumphantly returns to animation, Pixar, and awe-inspiring spectacle with Incredibles 2 

Early into Brad Bird’s Incredibles 2, Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) races down the gridlocked streets of a Space Age metropolis on a custom-built motorcycle: flinging the bike in and out of tight traffic, stretching her impossibly malleable limbs around the sleek surfaces of a runaway maglev train. One of several dazzling…

The Purge and John Wick are just two entrées reheated for the sci-fi buffet Hotel Artemis

On a typical Wednesday night in the satirical techno-future of 2028, while the rest of Los Angeles riots over the price of water, business continues as usual at the Hotel Artemis, a members-only underground hospital (or “darkroom,” in the movie’s cyberpunk parlance) with grungy, century-old art deco décor. The…

The caper comedy Ocean's 8 is more knock-off than spin-off

A belated spin-off of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s caper comedies (minus the earlier films’ wit, chemistry, and style), Ocean’s 8 could learn a thing or two about brevity and craft: It belabors the basic plot points Ocean’s 11 dispatched with a single cut or smirk, the result a hacky imitation of the series’ glitzy…

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The Mr. Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is a tearjerker with a purpose

In the 15 years since Fred Rogers died, the television pioneer has enjoyed a second life as an internet celebrity. At least once or twice a year, usually during another of the federal government’s endless debates about budgetary priorities, someone will dig up and pass around the video of “Mister Rogers” testifying…

With Action Point, Johnny Knoxville waxes nostalgic for the glory days of reckless endangerment

Plenty of people know about the perils of nostalgia, but what about the nostalgia of peril? That’s what Action Point leads with: Johnny Knoxville, done up in old-age makeup Bad Grandpa-style, fondly reminiscing over those halcyon late-’70s days of bodily injury, before so many “rules” (and, presumably, Ralph Nader)…

Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin are dull lovers lost at sea in the otherwise gripping Adrift

Whoever first used the now-familiar shot where a camera is positioned at water level and observes its half-submerged subject as waves lap at the lens should be included in the special thanks of the end credits to Adrift. This true-life survival story wouldn’t be impossible to film without that shot, but director…