The wonderful Shirkers reclaims a lost film by chronicling its rollicking DIY production

A-

The do-it-yourself ethic that drove numerous underground artists in the tail end of the 20th century had as much to do with determination as it did with self-sufficiency. Though certainly ideological—especially in an anti-corporate 1980s punk context—and often financially necessitated, DIY was still rooted in the…

Maggie Gyllenhaal shines in The Kindergarten Teacher, even as the script hobbles her efforts

B-

In The Kindergarten Teacher, Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as Lisa Spinelli, attentive educator by day, wannabe artist by night. She has a nice house in the suburbs, a loving husband (Michael Chernus), two kids in high school (Daisy Tahan and Sam Jules) who are thriving despite their teenage ambivalence toward everything,…

Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning spin their wheels in the hollow post-apocalyptic drama I Think We’re Alone Now

C

For the first 15 or so minutes of I Think We’re Alone Now, the sophomore feature from acclaimed The Handmaid’s Tale director Reed Morano, Peter Dinklage walks around a desolate small town cleaning up after the apocalypse. He enters abandoned homes, collects batteries and family pictures, disposes of skeletal remains,…

Disenchantment closes out its first season with a major betrayal and a destructive cliffhanger

A-

“Chapter X: Dreamland Falls” is an episode whose power derives from the knowledge that Disenchantment is playing a card that can only be dealt once. It’s not just an “all hope is lost” finale, but it’s also an “every character is either dead, doomed, or lost” finale. Disenchantment exists in a world where death isn’t…

Disenchantment returns to Elfwood and reveals Zøg's true motives in a muted episode

B+

“Chapter IX: To Thine Own Elf Be True” takes place immediately after the events of “Chapter VIII” with Bean, Elfo, Luci, and Sorcerio returning to Dreamland with the Eternity Pendant. The one problem, because of course there’s one problem? It doesn’t work. Sorcerio takes a drop of Elfo’s blood and places it in the…

Bean embarks on adventure for immortality (and Elfo) on a rollicking Disenchantment

A-

This season, Disenchantment has done a good job of introducing macro serialized elements without much labored narrative table setting. First, there’s Zøg’s quest to drain Elfo of blood for the Elixir of Life, which the show has mostly treated as a background gag but now has returned for a full-fledged storyline. Then,…

Elfo's fake giant girlfriend attends the Royal Ball on a love-themed Disenchantment

B

If there’s one major problem with “Chapter VII: Love’s Tender Rampage,” it’s that the central premise has been done to death. It’s a sitcom staple as old as time: The resident loser lies about having a girlfriend to avoid feeling embarrassed in front of his friends only to feel more embarrassed, yet humbled, when the…

Disenchantment tells a sweet father-daughter story set against shaky diplomatic relations 

B

“Chapter VI: Swamp and Circumstance” finally explores the mythology of Disenchantment by examining the relationship between Dreamland and the neighboring swamp kingdom of Dankmire. In short, Dreamland forced Dankmire to build a canal connecting the two territories, and then Dreamland and Dankmire fought a 100-year war…

A dull, inconsequential Disenchantment features a fight to the death with Hansel and Gretel

C+

In “Chapter IV,” Disenchantment hung a lampshade on the flexibility of their fantasy world via a stranger who complains about the lack of hard-and-fast rules in Dreamland. It’s almost as if the writer were priming the audience for “Chapter V: Faster, Princess! Kill! Kill!” in which Disenchantment further breaks from…

Skateboarding is an escape, but not a solution, for the traumatized subjects of Minding The Gap

B+

Director Bing Liu intimately understands how skateboarding represents a community and an escape. As a teen, Liu shot countless amateur skate videos with his friends, capturing how the sport bonds disparate youths together, crossing racial and social lines (but, crucially, not economic ones, at least in his hometown of…

Wannabe punks meet real aliens in the vapid Neil Gaiman adaptation How To Talk To Girls At Parties

C

How To Talk To Girls At Parties, John Cameron Mitchell’s fourth feature and first in seven years, tries to be many, many things. It’s a coming-of-age tale about wading through the murky waters of adolescent sexuality. It’s a painfully sincere love story between a sensitive boy and a mysterious girl from out of town…