Film Reviews
Tessa Thompson (foreground, left) and her friends take a dim view of racial stereotypes in Dear White People.

The Blackness Project

Dear White People, here’s a campus comedy crackling with racial tension.
KRISTIAN LIN
Dear White People vividly reminds us of what we already know: It’s a complicated business growing up black in America. So many stereotypes have developed over the years that if you avoid one, you may very well fall into anoth...


Bill Murray relaxes while Jaeden Lieberher mows his lawn in St. Vincent.

Household Saint

A strong cast rescues St. Vincent from sentimental martyrdom.
KRISTIAN LIN
Really, St. Vincent isn’t anything new. This working-class dramedy is a modestly budgeted independent film, but it’s the same sort of sentimental tripe that Hollywood would have made into something intolerable 20 years ago....



Joaquín, María, and Manolo stand in front of a Día de los Muertos world in The Book of Life.

Gran Libro

The Book of Life celebrates Day of the Dead in style.
KRISTIAN LIN
Hollywood doesn’t put out many movies about Latinos that are pitched toward a general audience, let alone ones that are aimed specifically at families. The last such films that Hispanics could hold up with pride to their non-...


Brad Pitt (foreground) instructs Logan Lerman about operating the tank called Fury.

Tank Busting

The World War II drama Fury is exhausting and not in a good way.
KRISTIAN LIN
I rather liked David Ayer’s last film, the 2012 found-footage cop drama End of Watch. The financial success of that movie has allowed him to make Fury, a World War II film on a much bigger budget. Unhappily, the current movie...



Jeremy Renner urgently follows another lead in Kill the Messenger.

Webb of Truths

The journalism drama Kill the Messenger misses its deadline by a decade or so.
Kristian Lin
Through the first half of Kill the Messenger, I found myself thinking that this journalism drama would have blown me away if I’d seen it 15 years ago. And then I realized that I was wrong. This thing is too overheated and poo...


Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall work out legal strategy and family issues in "The Judge."

Contempt of Court

In being almost good, The Judge is infuriating.
COLE WILLIAMS
When reviewing a movie called The Judge, there’s a temptation to use a really corny pun in the headline. “The Judge found guilty of mediocrity” or “The Judge sentenced to bad movie jail.” Stuff like that. Unless it’...



Ben Affleck stands next to Rosamund Pike’s picture as he asks for the public’s help in Gone Girl.

Amazing Amy

Gone Girl: Marriage is hell. Especially this one.
Kristian Lin
By now, lots of ink has been spilled about how Ben Affleck’s years as a pop-culture punchline have suited him for the lead role in Gone Girl as a man who is demonized by the public and the media. The truth is, he probably did...


Reese Witherspoon stars in The Good Lie.

Kansas City Chief

A story of the Lost Boys of Sudan is reduced to pablum in The Good Lie.
Kristian Lin
Reese Witherspoon bought the rights to Gone Girl  and wanted to star in it until David Fincher convinced her otherwise. While staying on that film as a producer, she headlines another movie that comes out this week, The Good L...



His name’s on the box! Eggs prepares to lead his tribe in The Boxtrolls.

Cheese and Eggs

The Boxtrolls: Is Laika Entertainment the new Pixar?
Kristian Lin
Just in time for the start of autumn comes The Boxtrolls, the first good mainstream movie of the season or indeed in what feels like ages. Of course, this stop-motion film is made by the excellent animation studio Laika Enterta...


Kristen Wiig drives Bill Hader home from the hospital in The Skeleton Twins.

Suicide Siblings

SNL clowns turn serious in the depression dramedy The Skeleton Twins.
Kristian Lin
Kristen Wiig became famous for her outrageously funny performances on Saturday Night Live, but she’s shown enough by now that we shouldn’t be surprised when she gives an excellent, subtle dramatic performance. The big shock...