Movie Reviews

Starring: Lily Franky, Ando Sakura, Matsuoka Mayu, Kirin Kiki, Jyo Kairi, Sasaki Miyu

Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku)

The Story: A poor family of miscreants ekes out a modest living through petty theft until their adoption of an abused girl throws their precarious living arrangement into peril. The Lowdown: A remarkable film that's warm but not cloying, political but not polemical — a testament to writer/director Hirokazu Kore-eda's sense of subtlety, and one of the best films…
Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Pamela Adlon, Jorge Lendeborg Jr.


The Story: In this prequel to the Transformers series, a teenage loner befriends the wounded, stranded Autobot scout Bumblebee in 1987 California. The Lowdown: The smartest, sweetest coming-of-age story of the year that also happens to feature giant alien robots.
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn, David Tennant, Guy Pearce

Mary Queen of Scots

The Story: Mary Stuart returns home from France to reclaim her throne in Scotland, but Elizabeth I of England has other ideas. The Lowdown: An occasionally compelling overview of a fascinating chapter in history, undermined by poor pacing even as it's buoyed by strong lead performances.
Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth

Mary Poppins Returns

The Story: Michael and Jane Banks, now fully grown, call on Mary Poppins to help rescue the family home along with the childhood innocence of the next generation of Bankses. Lowdown: Supercrapifragilisticexpialatrocious.
Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren


The Story: Half-human, half-Atlantean Arthur Curry must journey to Atlantis to oust his half brother from the throne and save the surface world from annihilation. The Lowdown: According to the dictionary: Wan (adj.) 1. Pallid; giving the impression of ill health. 2. Lacking in color or vitality. 3. Bearing the characteristics of an overpaid and uninspired director.
Starring: Steve Carell, Leslie Mann, Gwendoline Christie, Diane Kruger

Welcome to Marwen

The Story: Robert Zemeckis' hyperstylized retelling of Marwencol, the true story of a traumatized artist coming to terms with the assault (and assailants) that changed his life. The Lowdown: An insulting and dehumanizing nightmare that doubles as a truly bizarre look into the director's own creative process.
Starring: Jacques Tati, Nathalie Pascaud, Michelle Rolla, Valentine Camax, Louis Perrault

M. Hulot’s Holiday

In Brief: As a mere boy, I bumped into Jacques Tati’s Mon Oncle on television — and didn’t like it. Many years later, I saw part of his Traffic — and didn’t like it. With that, I wrote off Tati’s work as something just not for me. And it was with that in mind that…
Starring: Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn, Mark Gatiss

The Favourite

The Story: In the court of Queen Anne, a fallen lady climbs the ranks from scullery maid to royal consort through treachery, cunning and deceit. The Lowdown: In theory, I shouldn't love a hyperstylized two-hour catfight this much — but unless things change drastically in the next two weeks, it's likely to be my favorite film of the…
Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Nicolas Cage, Liev Schreiber

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The Story: When the Kingpin tries to open a gateway between parallel realities, he inadvertently brings together multiple versions of Spider-Man, all determined to thwart his evil plan with the help of their newest colleague, Miles Morales. The Lowdown: The first Spider-Man movie that legitimately captures the feel of the comics is a blast, even if its…
Starring: Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, Jun Jong-seo

Burning (Beoning)

The Story: A poor but educated young man falls for a girl from his village, only to have her taken from him by a rich playboy who may not be what he appears. The Lowdown: A scintillating slow-burn thriller that barely misses genuine greatness.
Starring: Hera Hilmar, Hugo Weaving, Robert Sheehan, Jihae

Mortal Engines

The Story: A thousand years in the future, an orphan seeks to avenge the death of her mother while mad scientists in roaming, rolling cities piece together the history of an ancient society. The Lowdown: One of the biggest box office flops of the year is also everything Ready Player One should have been and…
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Rupert Friend, Oscar Isaac, Mads Mikkelsen, Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner

At Eternity’s Gate

The Story: Troubled painter Vincent Van Gogh leads a turbulent life in the French countryside before his untimely demise. The Lowdown: A broad-strokes look at the painter's life that gambles and fails with a point-of-view gimmick that undermines the work of a strong cast.
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Michael Peña, Taissa Farmiga, Andy Garcia

The Mule

The Story: An nonagenarian discovers that he's been duped into running drugs for a cartel. The Lowdown: A morally and intellectually flat effort from Clint Eastwood that seems rushed and pasted together.
Starring: Natalie Portman, Raffey Cassidy, Stacy Martin, Jude Law, Willem Dafoe

Vox Lux

The Story: After surviving a horrific school shooting, a young woman transforms herself into one of the biggest pop stars in the world and prepares to debut her new sci-fi-themed concept album. The Lowdown: Vox Sucks.
Starring: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claire Maurier, Albert Rémy, Guy Decomble

The 400 Blows

In Brief: François Truffaut's first feature, The 400 Blows (1959), struck a blow of its own as the first of the New Wave films — movies that came as a reaction to what was perceived as the stodginess of classical French filmmaking (and filmmaking around the world for that matter). It was a movement that would change…
Starring: Eva Melander, Eero Milonoff, Jörgen Thorsson, Ann Petren, Sten Ljunggren

Border (Gräns)

The Story: A border guard with an unusual talent for literally sniffing out people's secrets encounters a strange man who forces her to question her identity. The Lowdown: An often grotesque little film that bites off more than it can chew thematically, but one that bears a strange sense of metaphorical resonance and sly capacity to challenge assumptions.
Starring: Maria Callas, Joyce DiDonato, Fanny Ardant

Maria by Callas

The Story: A biographical sketch of esteemed opera singer Maria Callas, told entirely through her own perspective. The Lowdown: Reverential but seldom revelatory, director Tom Volf's doting doc showcases Callas' prodigious talent while skimping on context.
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Ed Oxenbould, Bill Camp, Jake Gyllenhaal


The Story: A teen in 1960 Montana is forced into maturity far too soon when his father loses his job, leaving the boy and his mother to an uncertain fate. The Lowdown: Uncompromising emotional realism bolstered by a strong central cast lends Paul Dano's directorial debut a level of dramatic weight uncommon in small films about big themes.
Starring: Shay Mitchell, Grey Damon, Kirby Johnson, Stana Katic, Max McNamara, Nick Thune, Louis Herthum, Jacob Ming-Trent

The Possession of Hannah Grace

The Story: When an ex-cop with PTSD takes on the night shift at the local morgue, she gets more than she bargained for in the form of a demonically possessed corpse. The Lowdown: A trash exploitation film with no grace in its possession. But hey, at least it's not a Christmas movie.
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco, Dimiter D. Marinov

Green Book

The Story: A black, homosexual pianist from New York hires a racist Italian-American enforcer to safeguard him on a concert tour through the ’60s segregation-era South. The Lowdown: A surprisingly affective drama from comedic director Peter Farrelly that, despite its best intentions, still manages to elide much of the ugliness of its subject matter.
Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, Ed O’Neill

Ralph Breaks the Internet

The Story: When a player breaks the steering wheel on the "Sugar Rush" arcade cabinet, video game bffs Wreck-it Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz set out through a newly installed Wi-Fi router to find a replacement on the internet. The Lowdown: Eye candy that's roughly as good for you as its mouth-candy equivalent.