On How To Get Away With Murder, everyone's favorite hobby is breaking boundaries

B-

Even at its messiest, How To Get Away With Murder handles trauma with care, depth, and nuance. That can’t be said of a lot of thrillers that dabble so frequently in murder and violent crimes. “You don’t have a right to mess with anyone else’s trauma,” Annalise spits at Nate, who is convinced that they need to tell…

How To Get Away With Murder is too disjointed to really sell its suspense

B+

Amid all the chaos and drama and murder, How To Get Away With Murder consistently embeds compelling messages about trauma, violence, and morality. One of its strongest messages is its complete challenging of what it means to be a murderer. The show posits, sometimes with disturbing pointedness, that anyone is capable…

Michaela channels her inner Annalise in a low-voltage How To Get Away With Murder

B-

How To Get Away With Murder is taking its time setting up its central mysteries this season. The show often barrels through story very quickly, sometimes to its own detriment. So a measured pace isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just...different. Like the premiere, “Whose Blood Is That?” feels like mostly setup.

Steve McQueen swerves for the mainstream with the kickass heist thriller Widows

There are lots of reasons why Best Popular Film is a dumb idea. The biggest may be that such an Oscar category would reinforce the fallacy that there’s a hard line separating art from entertainment. Popcorn movies can be thoughtful, finely crafted, even profound. And supposed “art movies” can be a blast. The…

Viola Davis leads a gang of badass Widows in the trailer for Steve McQueen's latest

 It’s been five years since Steve McQueen (the British director, not the late action star) won Oscar gold with 12 Years A Slave, and this morning 20th Century Fox released the trailer for his latest, Widows. Despite the downbeat title, this looks as far from McQueen’s last movie as you can get, replacing the…

How To Get Away With Murder struggles to sell its twists in season finale

C-

Shows like How To Get Away With Murder thrive on viewer manipulation. It’s their nature to fake us out. So it tracks that How To Get Away With Murder would totally pull the rug out from us after last week’s penultimate episode. The end of that episode suggests that Bonnie has gotten into a major car accident. And when…

How To Get Away With Murder tediously goes through the motions of setting up its finale

C+

Unsurprisingly, the penultimate episode of How To Get Away With Murder’s fourth season has a lot going on. “The Day Before He Died” tries to attack all of the long-term storylines at once. Isaac is in the hospital recovering from overdosing. Simon’s in the hospital, too, but now he’s awake and gradually remembering…

Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong'o to lead an army of badass female warriors in The Woman King

Comic book shop-style debates about whether the Amazons or the Dora Milaje would win in a fight are fun, but how about the story of some real-life African “Amazons”? That’s the premise behind The Woman King, a new project being developed over at TriStar Pictures. Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o have been tapped to star…

Not even Olivia Pope can fix an unfocused How To Get Away With Murder

C-

Oh how I wish I could say that the final seconds of “Ask Him About Stella” were enough to carry the entire episode. After teasing a How To Get Away With Murder/Scandal crossover for a while now—something I thought was only possible in my wildest of dreams and fanfiction—we get our first brief glimpse at what a world…

Mental health is at the heart of a smart but struggling How To Get Away With Murder

B

“He’s A Bad Father” unravels plenty of thread for How To Get Away With Murder season four’s murder board, managing to connect Annalise’s class action, Wes’ death, Laurel’s fucked up family drama, and even Isaac’s once seemingly random backstory with more coherence than the show has exhibited in a while. Look, I get…

Bonnie and Annalise's toxic relationship remains one of the best parts of How To Get Away With Murder

B-

Despite many of its narrative flaws, How To Get Away With Murder remains one of the most piercing portrayals of toxic relationships on television. Erratic character dynamics are a strange thing to praise, and yet, How To Get Away With Murder makes its extreme character highs and lows a defining part of its fabric. The…

How To Get Away With Murder jolts back into action with a million flashbacks

C+

You know that feeling when you jolt awake after a nap you didn’t mean to take or a nap that lasted longer than intended? That’s exactly what a midseason premiere of How To Get Away With feels like. It’s a dizzying inhale. It knocks you out of time. It sends a powerful tension through your entire body. That’s all…

How To Get Away With Murder’s midseason finale features its most graphic scene ever

C

How To Get Away With Murder dedicates its midseason finale to Laurel and company’s ill-devised plan to bring down her father and Antares. In typical How To Get Away With Murder fashion, it unspools the story in a nonlinear fashion, starting with a big tease and then jumping back 24 hours and then repeatedly jumping…

How To Get Away With Murder bungles the build-up to next week’s chaos with a tedious episode

C+

Though their central storylines have been mostly separate, Annalise and Laurel/Michaela/Oliver have more or less been on similar paths this season. They’ve all taken on a noble cause. In Annalise’s case, she’s helping a large group of poor people who received unfair trials. In Laurel/Michaela/Oliver’s case, they’re…

Connor and Annalise teaming up somehow isn’t the most confusing part of How To Get Away With Murder

B

“I can’t be strong all the time,” Annalise Keating declares during another one of her terrible therapy sessions to her terrible therapist Isaac. Since the beginning, How To Get Away With Murder has challenged the concept of the “strong female character.” What, after all, does “strong female character” even mean? It’s…