Baby Groot briefly transforms the Galaxy (and the Marvel action machine) into one big dance floor

Like lots of superhero sequels, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 basically begins with a flurry of action. The Guardians, those mismatched intergalactic goofballs for hire, have gathered on a giant helipad to protect some giant glowing batteries from a giant, toothy monster that wants to feed off their energy. The…

“We were afraid of the void”: Claire Denis on working with Robert Pattinson and navigating High Life’s deep space

Claire Denis is one of the world’s greatest filmmakers, but don’t let her hear you say that. She’s not crazy about compliments, the publicist warns me in the lobby of the hotel, minutes before our interview is scheduled to begin. Denis has come to Chicago to talk about her new movie, the hypnotic science-fiction drama

Elisabeth Moss unleashes her inner Courtney Love in the bravely abrasive rock drama Her Smell

B+

In Her Smell, the unfortunately named new drama from Alex Ross Perry, Elisabeth Moss does something you almost never see in movies about rock ’n’ roll: She sucks all the cool—all the sexiness, all the glamour, all the romance—out of a downward spiral into debauchery. Her character, Becky Something, is the frontwoman…

Iron Man opens his heart, setting the screwball stage for the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe

It’s hard to envision what the Marvel Cinematic Universe would look like today if it hadn’t kicked off with Iron Man. Would it exist at all? A different movie, one built on a different character and/or approach, might not have connected with audiences in the same way—and if the test balloon popped, the whole plan to…

Robert Pattinson faces the mysteries of space, fatherhood, and The Fuck Box in the captivating High Life

B+

Nearly all of High Life takes place aboard a spacecraft careening across the cosmos at light speed. On the outside, it looks like a portable speaker, rectangular and sleek—more Apple than NASA. The inside is another story. Though certain wings are awash in seductive shades of orange and blue, most of the ship has all…

Matthew McConaughey gets in touch with his inner Beach Bum in a crazed comedy of carefree living

B-

As the title character of The Beach Bum, Harmony Korine’s shaggy new comedy of dirtbag decadence, Matthew McConaughey renders redundant any further parodies of Matthew McConaughey. Sporting a shoulder-length mop of dirty blonde hair and a wardrobe of unbuttoned Aloha shirts, the actor is exaggerating the stereotype of…

With Ash Is Purest White, one of the world’s greatest filmmakers cuts together his greatest hits

B+

Just shy of an hour into his new movie, Ash Is Purest White, the great Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke offers up a truly ingenious, discombobulating callback. The setting, momentarily, is 2006. On the deck of a ferry approaching the banks of the Yangtze River, Jia’s longtime muse and spouse, Zhao Tao, surveys the…

A mystery is solved and a late master eulogized in the playful and humanistic 3 Faces

B

“What if it’s a prank?” So asks Behnaz Jafari, the famous Iranian actress, in the opening minutes of 3 Faces. Jafari, who’s playing herself, is in the passenger seat of a car, hunched over a cell phone, her face illuminated by its glow. She’s watching what appears to be the video equivalent of a suicide letter that’s…

AOC, Nathan Fielder, and Neil Armstrong were the stars of a typically eclectic True/False Film Festival

There are no talking heads in Apollo 11, the remarkable new documentary about the first manned mission to the moon. Including hindsight recollections would have spoiled the manufactured present tense—the way director Todd Douglas Miller, working with a trove of stunningly preserved archival footage, creates the…

Yesterday is today is always in Christian Petzold's brilliantly baffling refugee thriller Transit

A-

The cognitive dissonance sets in early, maybe at the first sight of a car. We’re in Paris, that much is clear. Armed stormtroopers patrol the streets, setting up checkpoints, issuing a familiar demand: “Your papers, please.” A German man, Georg (Franz Rogowski), haunted and desperate, is fleeing a wave of fascism…