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Lost for decades, Orson Welles’ The Other Side Of The Wind is a brilliant blast of ’70s Hollywood mania Lost for decades, Orson Welles’ The Other Side Of The Wind is a brilliant blast of ’70s Hollywood mania

“You old guys are trying to get with it. Is that what this movie’s about?” —The Other Side Of The Wind

The incomplete and incomparable Orson Welles The incomplete and incomparable Orson Welles

What can we really say about a life? It’s a question that is asked time and again in the films of Orson Welles, and which critics have often found themselves asking about Welles himself. Among the great American movie directors, his body of work is the most famously incomplete, compromised, and meta. The finished…

Gerard Butler dives into the watchably dumb submarine thriller Hunter Killer Gerard Butler dives into the watchably dumb submarine thriller Hunter Killer

The week before Halloween is horror-movie season. But what could be scarier than the B-list action movies of Gerard Butler, which present us with a world where the lives of millions or even billions have been put in Gerard Butler’s hands? In Hunter Killer, our scowliest movie star plays a submarine captain who is, …

Art and community collide in the fantastic, small-town epic A Bread Factory Art and community collide in the fantastic, small-town epic A Bread Factory

Patrick Wang’s unlikely two-part comic epic A Bread Factory is set in Checkford, New York, a quiet town where residents gossip over coffee at Sam’s diner about the goings on at the school board, the town council, and the Bread Factory, the community arts center that is the soul of the town. Long ago in Checkford’s…

Aubrey Plaza leads a parade of bad taste and noir misfits in An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn Aubrey Plaza leads a parade of bad taste and noir misfits in An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn

To the extent that Jim Hosking’s cartoonishly grotesque characters can be called human, they paint an unflattering portrait of the species. They are dopes and bullies, middle-aged virgins and horndogs with bad hair, disgusting habits, ugly thrift-store clothes. The Greasy Strangler, his debut feature, pitched itself…

One-man show The Guilty effectively transfers Rear Window to a police call center One-man show The Guilty effectively transfers Rear Window to a police call center

Stories confined to a single location had a special place in the career of Alfred Hitchcock, who saw them as opportunities to experiment: with long takes in Rope, 3D in Dial M For Murder, and studios sets in Lifeboat and Rear Window, one of his celebrated and most imitated films. But one wonders what the master of…

Thunder Road makes cringe comedy from despair Thunder Road makes cringe comedy from despair

Jim Cummings’ deeply discomfiting comedy Thunder Road takes its title from the majestic opening track of Bruce Springsteen’s breakthrough album, Born To Run, but its spirit recalls the Boss’s throatier cries from the heart and yawls of confused blue-collar emotion. In a terrific opening scene (basically a remake of…

Haunted Halloween rehashes Goosebumps’ monster mash Haunted Halloween rehashes Goosebumps’ monster mash

To millions of young readers in the 1990s, the covers of Goosebumps books promised stories of gooey green slime, monsters, and boys and girls in big shirts and Converse sneakers who had been subjected to freaky transformations or sent to the wrong summer camp. But what lie between these covers was mostly pap, cranked…

The writer-director of The Savages takes on an awkward subject in Private Life The writer-director of The Savages takes on an awkward subject in Private Life

The main characters of Tamara Jenkins’ Private Life, Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) and Richard (Paul Giamatti), are a fortysomething Manhattan couple who have spent a small fortune trying to have a baby—an obsession that their friends and relations liken to an addiction. She is a novelist who put off having kids for too long…

Peter Bogdanovich pays stodgy tribute to a comedy legend in The Great Buster Peter Bogdanovich pays stodgy tribute to a comedy legend in The Great Buster

Joseph Frank Keaton, nicknamed “Buster” from early childhood, started making movies in 1917 and continued working all the way until his death in 1966. But his legendary reputation as a comedian rests entirely on a prolific period that lasted from 1920 to 1928, when he released 19 ingenious short films and 12 features …

The theme-park slasher Hell Fest is as exciting as waiting in line The theme-park slasher Hell Fest is as exciting as waiting in line

Hell Fest has the makings of a fun variation on the slasher formula, with a killer running loose between the plastic body parts and spooky, sweet-smelling fakery of a Halloween haunted house—the place where giggly young adults actually come to be chased and scared by people with cleavers and chainsaws. But even…

Only Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish keep Night School from flunking out Only Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish keep Night School from flunking out

Is it that hard to make a lowbrow comedy? More crummy sitcom than movie, Night School casts Kevin Hart as Teddy Walker, a high school dropout who enrolls in a kooky GED class after losing his job as a gas grill salesman. (It literally goes up in flames in a belabored pyrotechnic stunt.) If going back to his old…

From the creator of This Is Us comes a melodrama even more dire than life itself From the creator of This Is Us comes a melodrama even more dire than life itself

That our lives have an effect on total strangers is hardly news to ethicists, economists, or practitioners of the Golden Rule. But if goopy, everything-is-connected movies like Dan Fogelman’s Life Itself are to be believed, this simple fact of living in a world full of other people attests to nothing less than the…

Hale County, This Morning, This Evening finds beauty in the small moments of black Southern life Hale County, This Morning, This Evening finds beauty in the small moments of black Southern life

Hale County, Alabama, which has a population of just under 16,000, is best known as the subject of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, James Agee and Walker Evans’ classic and influential book about the white rural poor. One can presume that this fact played a role in the conception of RaMell Ross’ Hale County, This…

Nicolas Cage takes a chainsaw to ’80s action cheese in the heavy-metal fantasia of Mandy Nicolas Cage takes a chainsaw to ’80s action cheese in the heavy-metal fantasia of Mandy

Panos Cosmatos knows his audience. But does he know anything else? Both of his films to date (Beyond The Black Rainbow, the new Mandy) have been exercises in psychotronic drag-ass, best appreciated by a certain kind of movie freak—the devotees of the church of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Heavy Metal, in Mandy’s…

The shallow Hal skims the career of the director behind Harold And Maude and Being There The shallow Hal skims the career of the director behind Harold And Maude and Being There

The story of Hal Ashby, the New Hollywood’s designated hippie, ended unhappily—a dispiriting 1980s comedown of forgotten features and high-profile legal problems before his death from cancer at the age of 59, having never made a comeback. But even in his ’70s heyday, Ashby cut an unlikely figure. He didn’t direct his…

All we wanted was a dumb Jason Statham giant shark movie

Let’s be reasonable: No one was expecting cinema gold from an August release in which Jason Statham fights a big prehistoric shark. But The Meg still failed to live up to our low expectations. Critics A.A. Dowd and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky sat down to discuss why on the latest (and final) Film Club.

Jason Statham fighting a giant shark should be a lot more fun than The Meg Jason Statham fighting a giant shark should be a lot more fun than The Meg

As children, we learn three things about the shark: that its skeleton is made of cartilage, like your nose; that when it loses a tooth, another will pop up in its place; and that if it stops moving, it will die. None of this information is comforting, given what we instinctively believe about the toothier members of…

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