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'Killers of the Flower Moon': A powerful journey into the dark heart of American history

(11/19/23 6:33pm)

Something is rotten in the state of Oklahoma. At least, that’s true in Martin Scorsese’s new film, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which examines a conspiracy of betrayal and murder—perpetrated during the sunset of the Wild West against the Osage Native Americans of Oklahoma—that is as grotesque and far-reaching as that in Hamlet’s Denmark.

'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' is a thrilling ride, but it deeply misses Chadwick Boseman

(11/30/22 5:00am)

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” bore a heavy burden. Its predecessor, “Black Panther” (2018) is easily the best film ever produced by Marvel Studios (mostly because it’s the least Marvel-like). And, of course, the star of that film, the Black Panther himself, Chadwick Boseman — who played King T’Challa with such grace, dignity and vulnerability — died of colon cancer in 2020 at the age of 43.  

'Amsterdam' review: The stars do not shine

(11/17/22 6:07am)

I did my best to like “Amsterdam.” There was not a single other movie this fall that I was more excited to see. Director David O. Russell’s films “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012) and “American Hustle” (2013) are among the first, if not the first, that come to mind when I think of the excellent kinds of true-to-life dramas and entertaining ensemble films that are no longer being made. But I couldn’t succeed in liking “Amsterdam,” his star-studded tragicomic adventure, which will recall “American Hustle,” only if you saw that film in the haze of a multitude of ill-advisedly mixed substances.  

‘Moonage Daydream’ review: Can you hear me, Major Tom?

(11/11/22 5:51am)

“Documentary is cinema,” said filmmaker Laura Poitras when she won the Golden Lion in September for her own documentary, “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed,” at the Venice Film Festival. Stirring validation. But take a look around at the state of the form, and it's hard to see documentaries as scrappy and underappreciated works in need of being uplifted. Poitras is right, and the comment is a vital one, but documentaries right now are very capable of speaking for themselves. 

The play that goes wrong, the film that goes right

(10/18/22 10:00am)

In London in 1952, two 70-year reigns began, both of which went far longer than expected. It was the year that Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away last month at the age of 96, ascended to the throne (she was crowned in 1953). As Britain’s longest-serving monarch, she was a paragon of stability. Despite her youth, no one could have known how long she would have occupied the role and certainly not how fully she would embody the monarchy, given the tumult she inherited.  

Able was Tilda ere she saw Elba: Old-fashioned desire in ‘Three Thousand Years of Longing’

(09/24/22 11:30am)

So rarely does a film fulfill all of our wishes. It is common practice, especially in the age of franchise hegemony, for viewers to air their grievances about just how a particular film falls short of their expectations. But do we really know what we want from films? And if we could rub a magic bottle, out of which would pop not a djinn (or genie), but a filmmaker, would we know what to wish for?