Reviews

First Man REVIEW

First Man (2018)

First Man is Damien Chazelle’s third film in a row about special individuals whose quest to achieve great things is linked to emotional isolation from others.

Operation Finale REVIEW

Operation Finale (2018)

It was the experience of reporting in Jerusalem on the 1961 Adolf Eichmann trial for The New Yorker that led the philosopher Hannah Arendt to coin her famous phrase “the banality of evil.”

Christopher Robin REVIEW

Christopher Robin (2018)

When such movies are done well, you get, say, The Incredibles or John Favreau’s Chef. When they aren’t, you get Jim Carrey in Mr. Popper’s Penguins or Steven Spielberg’s Hook — possibly the closest analogy for Christopher Robin, though Hook, for all its flaws, was clearly a personal film for Spielberg, whereas Christopher Robin feels cobbled together from bits and pieces of other movies without a cogent vision of its own.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout REVIEW

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Mission: Impossible – Fallout completes possibly the most improbable cinematic hat trick in Hollywood history: An unpromising series that began with three patchy, uneven entries has now produced three terrifically entertaining ones.

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation REVIEW

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)

I’m not thrilled about the lack of worthy romantic leading men in recent Hollywood animation, but I prefer the theme in Frozen, about needing to get to know someone before deciding to get married, to this series’ magical, inexorable “Zing” moment.

Ant-Man and the Wasp REVIEW

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

In some ways Ant-Man and the Wasp is the kind of movie I wanted Ant-Man to be: namely, a refreshing antidote to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom REVIEW

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

Apparently velociraptor is the cowbell of dino design and the filmmakers are Christopher Walken.

Incredibles 2 REVIEW

Incredibles 2 (2018)

As The Incredibles in its day towered over the Hollywood animation landscape of the last decade, so in some measure does Incredibles 2 in this decade — but what a different and diminished landscape it is today.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? REVIEW

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018)

For a few formative years of our lives, Mr. Rogers showed us the way. Why don’t we walk that way? Because of all the voices dominating the discussion ever since.

First Reformed REVIEW

First Reformed (2018)

Schrader makes greater use than ever before of what he calls the “transcendental toolkit” — but it’s still very much a film from the writer of Taxi Driver. If Toller partly evokes Bresson’s wan, saintly curé, in time we see that he’s also part Travis Bickle, which can be as difficult to watch as it sounds.

Solo: A Star Wars Story REVIEW

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Watching Disney’s Rogue One and Solo, the two stand-alone “Star Wars Story” movies that come without episode numbers and opening crawls, is a little like watching the legendary Dutch boy trying to plug the leaks in the dike with his fingers … as new leaks burst all around him.

Pope Francis: A Man of His Word REVIEW

Pope Francis: A Man of His Word (2018)

Wim Wenders, whose eclectic career has embraced arthouse dramas, documentaries, music videos and concert films, approaches the subject of his latest nonfiction film from an unusual perspective: the significance of an unprecedented papal name.

Avengers: Infinity War REVIEW

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Six years ago I described The Avengers as “awesomeness squared”; Infinity War strives with all its might for awesomeness cubed and even tesseracted. It wants to leave you texting your friends “MIND. BLOWN.” It might succeed — but there’s a catch.

The Devil and Father Amorth REVIEW

The Devil and Father Amorth (2018)

I am only a permanent deacon and a film critic, not a priest and certainly not an exorcist, but if Cristina’s voice hasn’t been digitally tweaked, for my money the devil needs a new sound design team.

Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc REVIEW

Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc (2018)

Jeannette is a dialogue, and a mutual cross-examination, not only among the main characters of the drama, and above all between man and God, but also between the poet Péguy and the filmmaker Dumont, and even between Péguy the Socialist unbeliever of 1897 and Péguy the believing Catholic of 1910.

A Quiet Place REVIEW

A Quiet Place (2018)

While A Quiet Place is a terrific film just the way it is, I can’t help wishing there were more families like this in other kinds of movies.

Ready Player One REVIEW

Ready Player One (2018)

The sell for Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One is a little like the sell for Jurassic Park, except instead of dinosaur shock and awe, it’s pop-culture nostalgia shock and awe.

The Passion of Joan of Arc REVIEW

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

The film is more than a dramatization, more than a biopic, more than a documentary: It is a spiritual portrait, almost a mystical portrait, of a Christ-like soul sharing in the sufferings of Christ.

Paul, Apostle of Christ REVIEW

Paul, Apostle of Christ (2018)

It’s not the unmade epic about the life of Paul of Tarsus many would like to see, but what it is is worthwhile in its own right.

Tomb Raider REVIEW

Tomb Raider (2018)

Jolie’s Lara was perhaps having too much fun for much sense of urgency, but Vikander’s Lara isn’t really having fun at all, which makes it hard for the audience to have much fun either.