MOVIE SNEAKS

Winter-Spring Preview

Movie Reviews

  • 'The Lodgers' is short on spooky stuff, but it has other pleasures

    'The Lodgers' is short on spooky stuff, but it has other pleasures

    An oppressively heavy gothic atmosphere squeezes most of the shocks out of the Irish ghost story “The Lodgers.” But for viewers who take it more as a moody, metaphorical historical drama than as an out-and-out horror film, there’s a lot in this lush-looking, sensitively acted picture to recommend....

  • Heather Graham's 'Half Magic' gets giddy with empowerment

    Heather Graham's 'Half Magic' gets giddy with empowerment

    At the helm of her first feature, actress Heather Graham conjures a fizzy comedy with a satiric edge. Sending up Hollywood sexism for all its blunt absurdity, “Half Magic” gets off to a promisingly giddy start. The Time’s Up timeliness couldn’t be more perfect. And any film that casts Johnny Knoxville...

  • 'The Boy Downstairs,' a delightful take on young adulthood

    'The Boy Downstairs,' a delightful take on young adulthood

    If the very mention of a movie about millennial creative professionals in Brooklyn makes you wince, filmmaker Sophie Brooks invites you to think again. The writer-director brings remarkable instincts to her modestly scaled first feature, “The Boy Downstairs.” Casting aside stereotypes in favor...

  • Words from the wise in documentary 'Survivors Guide to Prison'

    Words from the wise in documentary 'Survivors Guide to Prison'

    While a fair amount of its subject matter overlaps with Ava DuVernay’s incendiary “13th,” Matthew Cooke’s “Survivors Guide to Prison” nevertheless serves as a valuable primer for those estimated 13 million Americans who are arrested every year. Taking aim at the nation’s broken criminal justice...

  • Stylish sci-fi thriller 'Curvature' trapped in first dimension

    Stylish sci-fi thriller 'Curvature' trapped in first dimension

    “Curvature” is a forgettable sci-fi thriller whose intriguing start gives way to an arcane, convoluted plot that fails to viscerally or emotionally engage. Director Diego Hallivis, writer Brian DeLeeuw and production designer Laura Miller work hard to distinguish their work, but it’s a case of...

  • Offbeat horror-romance 'Are We Not Cats' is surprisingly involving

    Offbeat horror-romance 'Are We Not Cats' is surprisingly involving

    Xander Robin’s funky, punky horror romance “Are We Not Cats” has got a doozy of a plot summary: unorthodox drama about a man who loses everything, then meets a woman who shares his fondness for eating hair. The film delivers what it promises, with this often grotesque and sometimes sweet love story...

  • Mixed message undercuts action and music of 'Days of Power'

    Mixed message undercuts action and music of 'Days of Power'

    If writer-producer Michel Grey and director Jason Pagnoni truly wanted to shed light on animal abuse, there was probably a more direct, effective way than within the bounds of such a frantic and dispiriting thriller as “Days of Power.” That’s not to say this cautionary tale of an international...

  • The gently amusing "Early Man" showcases Nick Park's offbeat humor

    The gently amusing "Early Man" showcases Nick Park's offbeat humor

    If just hearing animator Nick Park's name doesn't bring an anticipatory smile to your face, watching a few minutes of the thoroughly amusing "Early Man" will do the trick. A kind of caliph of claymation best known as the creative force behind the comical cheese-loving duo of Wallace and Gromit,...

  • Unhappy lives and lacerating truths in Alex Ross Perry's exquisite 'Golden Exits'

    Unhappy lives and lacerating truths in Alex Ross Perry's exquisite 'Golden Exits'

    The unnervingly talented 33-year-old writer-director Alex Ross Perry seems intent on liberating American independent cinema from the tyranny of “likable characters,” one movie at a time. The men and women moving through his brittle, blistering dark comedies stake little claim on our affection,...

  • François Ozon's psychosexual thriller 'Double Lover' is a twisty, trashy delight

    François Ozon's psychosexual thriller 'Double Lover' is a twisty, trashy delight

    Among its many virtues, François Ozon’s wickedly uninhibited “Double Lover” brings startling new meaning to the term “opening shot.” From its first post-credits frame, a small trompe l’oeil display of cinematic invention and gynecological technique, this cracked mirror of a movie knows exactly...

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