All posts in category Movie reviews

Mudbound

Movie review by Greg Carlson On her biggest canvas to date, filmmaker Dee Rees paints a vivid picture of two American families in “Mudbound,” a deeply satisfying drama based on Hillary Jordan’s 2008 novel. Adapting the screenplay with collaborator Virgil Williams, Rees skillfully weaves a tale that dissects and addresses race, war, poverty, alcoholism, adultery, […]

Lady Bird

Movie review by Greg Carlson With the critical phenom “Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig makes good on her stated desire to “offer a female counterpart to tales like ‘The 400 Blows’ and ‘Boyhood.’” A shimmering coming of age chronicle featuring another tremendous performance by Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird” is steeped in a kind of nostalgia for […]

The Florida Project

Movie review by Greg Carlson Sean Baker’s gorgeous “The Florida Project” skitters and scampers like the attention span of its tiny protagonist Moonee (Brooklynn Prince), a six-year-old wonderer/wanderer who lives with her mom in a sketchy motel imaginatively named the Magic Castle. Situated on the fringes of Disney’s Orlando empire, the Magic Castle houses many […]

Wonderstruck

Movie review by Greg Carlson Putting to good use his affinity for period detail, filmmaker Todd Haynes tackles Brian Selznick’s 639-page “Wonderstruck,” with a screenplay adapted by the author. Weaving together a pair of New York stories that take place half a century apart, Haynes exploits the most cinematic possibilities of Selznick’s visually inclined novel. […]

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Movie review by Greg Carlson Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” comforts fans of the filmmaker like a favorite quilt or a pair of old slippers. Sterling production and an all-star cast could attract the uninitiated to the film’s home on Netflix, and longtime appreciators will laugh and wince at many of Baumbach’s […]

Spielberg

Movie review by Greg Carlson Veteran “American Masters” producer and series creator Susan Lacy, whose access to subjects and breadth of knowledge is the envy of scores of documentarians, looks at Steven Spielberg in a nearly two-and-a-half hour long portrait for HBO. Simply titled “Spielberg,” the movie is surprisingly safe, conservative, and risk-free. Populated with […]

Blade Runner 2049

Movie review by Greg Carlson As thrilling and thought-provoking a sequel as one might hope, “Blade Runner 2049” leverages potent nostalgia for one of the most influential science-fiction films in the canon. It’s a tall order to measure up to Ridley Scott’s stunning 1982 accomplishment, and filmmaker Denis Villeneuve — working for the third time […]

American Made

Movie review by Greg Carlson The indefatigable Tom Cruise, still able to carry off youthful mock-insouciance at the age of 55, has plenty of fun as Barry Seal in “American Made.” Seal, a pilot who smuggled drugs for the Medellin Cartel and informed and testified for the D.E.A., probably wouldn’t have recognized much of his […]

Strong Island

Movie review by Greg Carlson “Strong Island,” Yance Ford’s vital cinematic elegy to his slain brother, is a gripping documentary presented with control and precision. That careful formality serves both the story and the filmmaker’s underlying thematic questions addressing the absurd but commonplace outcomes of the notion of justifiable homicide and the use of reasonable […]

Mother!

Movie review by Greg Carlson WARNING: The following review reveals plot information. Read only if you have seen “Mother!” With a tongue-in-cheek exclamation point distinguishing it from the likes of Joon-ho Bong’s superior 2009 film and the more than 180 other movies sharing the title, Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!” offers fair warning to the curious. Eschewing proper […]