Film

ONCE UPON A TIME … IN HOLLYWOOD

The title of the ninth film by Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” is meant to recall Sergio Leone’s masterpiece “Once Upon a Time in the West.” It’s a nod to the Western genre influence on Tarantino’s latest—both structurally and in the actual plot—and the way movies about the Old West play with actual history. Just as the Western has often used real people and places as templates to tell fictional stories, Tarantino has crafted an elegiac ode to a time he’s only experienced through books and movies. Tarantino once said, “When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, ‘no, Read More

THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE

After he’s attacked on the street at night by a roving motorcycle gang, timid bookkeeper Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) joins a neighborhood karate studio to learn how to protect himself. Under the watchful eye of a charismatic instructor, Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), and hardcore brown belt Anna (Imogen Poots), Casey gains a newfound sense of confidence for the first time in his life. But when he attends Sensei’s mysterious night classes, he discovers a sinister world of fraternity, brutality and hyper-masculinity, presenting a journey that places him squarely in the sights of his enigmatic new mentor. Audacious and offbeat, The Art of Self-Defense is an original dark comedy that Read More

MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL

The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.

THE KARATE KID

I didn’t want to see this movie. I took one look at the title and figured it was either (a) a sequel to Toenails of Vengeance, or (b) an adventure pitting Ricky Schroder against the Megaloth Man. I was completely wrong. “The Karate Kid” was one of the nice surprises of 1984 — an exciting, sweet-tempered, heart-warming story with one of the most interesting friendships in a long time. The friends come from different worlds. A kid named Daniel (Ralph Macchio) is a New Jersey teenager who moves with his mother to Los Angeles. An old guy named Miyagi (Pat Morita) is the Japanese janitor in their Read More

FRAMING JOHN DELOREAN

The title of “Framing John DeLorean” has two different meanings in this hybrid, mosaic-style story of the man who is now best remembered for the namesake car featured in “Back to the Future.” After stunning success in creating the muscle car at General Motors, DeLorean started his own company to compete with them. And then, when it was about to fail, he made a desperate attempt to raise money with a drug deal that turned out to be put together by undercover FBI agents.

Summer Lovers

“Summer Lovers” is a beach party movie for the 1980s. It begins with the genre’s basic ingredients: sun, sand, surf, bikinis and a nearby disco. But we no longer live in quite such an innocent world as the one inhabited by the beach party gang, so in addition to the sun, sand, etc., this movie also contains graduate students, Greek wine, ennui, troubled relationships, problems with self-image, visits to an archeological dig and the current war-cry of love affairs, “Trust me.”

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

Much like “National Lampoon’s European Vacation” was a perfectly enjoyable if inferior follow-up to the genre-defining, zany ‘80s comedy “Vacation,” “Spider-Man: Far From Home” changes the scenery but can’t quite match the inspired heights of its predecessor.

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM

There are any number of thrilling passages in “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum,” but a moment of true inspiration—when you know that you’re in the hands of filmmakers who are intent on creating a work of wit, style, and vision—comes relatively early. Our hero, soulful assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves), is at the New York Public Library to find a very specific book when he’s interrupted by one of the approximately 11 million people who will attempt to kill him over the course of the next two hours of screen time. Eventually John kills him by utilizing the book he’s holding as a weapon. That part Read More

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS

“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” has a sense of wonder. After I left the screening late at night and emerged onto a dark city street at nearly one a.m., I wanted to look up rather than straight ahead, just in case Ghidorah the three-headed dragon or Rodan the giant pterodactyl came screaming down from the clouds. That’s not the same thing as saying this is a perfect movie. It’s far from that. But its errors fall mainly under the heading of failing to get out of its own way, and its imperfections are compensated by magnificence. Directed and cowritten by Michael Dougherty (“Krampus”), the movie follows on Read More

DARK PHOENIX

“You’re always sorry and there’s always a speech. But nobody cares anymore.” It’s rare for a character to speak dialogue that so perfectly captures the critically flawed foundation of a film as completely as that particular line from “Dark Phoenix,” the last gasp of a franchise that has had remarkable highs and remarkable lows but never quite seen a film that felt so much like nobody cared anymore. Allegedly conceived as a send-off to the characters and cast introduced over the course of “X-Men: First Class,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” and “X-Men: Apocalypse,” Simon Kinberg’s directorial debut simply has nothing going on under the surface, and Read More