Just in time for Halloween, Caniba gets up close and sickeningly personal with a real-life cannibal

C+

No horror movie hitting theaters this October could hope to inspire as much nausea as Caniba does. It’s the new documentary by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel, Harvard-trained researchers who specialize in a queasily up-close-and-personal school of nonfiction. Their last movie, the remarkable Leviathan,…

Neither right- nor left-wing, First Man plants its flag in a troubling ambivalence

It’s kind of hard to believe that First Man has been in theaters for less than a week. Hasn’t the controversy surrounding this movie been raging for a small eternity? Damien Chazelle’s biodrama about Neil Armstrong, the late astronaut and American icon, has already inspired an entire awards season’s worth of hot-take…

Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet anchor the father-son addiction drama Beautiful Boy

B

“Relapse is a part of recovery.” That’s what the specialist at the clinic tells David Sheff (Steve Carell) the first time his teenage son, Nic (Timothée Chalamet), runs out on rehab. To this distraught parent, it sounds like a canned platitude—and maybe it is, at least in the sense that they dust it off every time…

Paul Greengrass crosses the line into bad taste with his latest docudrama of real terror, 22 July

C-

What a perverse niche Paul Greengrass has carved out for himself. When not training his erratically jerking camera on a motorcycling Matt Damon (he’s made three of those Bourne sequels, beloved by action junkies immune to motion sickness), the British filmmaker has found his calling meticulously dramatizing acts of…

The star and director of La La Land reunite for First Man’s spectacular trip to the moon 

A-

“Why do you think space travel is important?” a NASA bigwig asks Neil Armstrong during the biggest job interview of his life. It’s all about a change in perspective, the future astronaut replies—about finding a new way to see the world, and maybe everything else, too. First Man, Damien Chazelle’s grippingly…

The Coens offer 6 tales of Old West absurdity and brutality in The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs

“The Misanthrope,” the wanted poster reads. It’s a nickname that infamous outlaw Buster Scruggs (Tim Blake Nelson) disputes. Introduced on horseback, strumming a guitar and crooning a song to the canyons, he certainly seems like a jolly enough fellow—more of an eccentric dandy, nonthreatening in his white suit and…

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga breathe new soul into an old Hollywood fable, A Star Is Born

B

There’s one truly great, chills-inducing scene in Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, the latest Hollywood remake of A Star Is Born. It’s the moment when all the pent-up crowd-pleasing catharsis the movie has been withholding under its ramshackle minimalism comes erupting out of it like a geyser of feeling. Ally (Lady…

The director of Green Room trudges into the wild in the grimmer, less suspenseful Hold The Dark

B-

Death is never clean in the ruthless off-the-grid thrillers of Jeremy Saulnier. It’s messy and loud and terrifying. Blue Ruin and Green Room, color-coded companion pieces of nightmare violence, sent their unluckiest characters not so gently into that good night. When the end does come (blessedly) quick for one of…

The Old Man & The Gun is a perfect swan song for Robert Redford, even if it’s not really his last role

B+

Robert Redford does not disappear into The Old Man & The Gun. He’s not supposed to, really. David Lowery’s elegiac, nostalgic crime lark casts the 82-year-old Hollywood legend as a legend of a different sort, an aging outlaw with a rap sheet as long as the CV of the actor playing him. From the opening scene, when the…

Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly bicker, bond, and chase a bounty as The Sisters Brothers

B

When Quentin Tarantino coined the term “hangout movie,” he was describing one of the greatest Westerns ever made: Rio Bravo, Howard Hawks’ 1959 masterpiece, which kills most of its running time just laying low with a small-town sheriff and the motley posse he’s assembled to guard a jailhouse, eavesdropping on their…