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Preview: KCRW's Film Reviews

Film Reviews

The Pulitzer Prize-winning critic of The Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern reviews films weekly in the paper and on KCRW; he airs his current musings on the film industry in a biweekly column for the paper as well. He has worked for The New York Times

Copyright: KCRW 2018

The Death Of Stalin

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 18:44:00 -0800

All the same, “The Death of Stalin” gets off lots of clever jokes—finding a doctor for the comatose Stalin is hard because all the good ones are in the gulag. And it gets at political and historical truths on its own terms. Power doesn’t have to corrupt, the film suggests; many come to it pre-corrupted, as well as ignorant, fatuous and heedless.

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Red Sparrow

Fri, 02 Mar 2018 18:44:00 -0800

It’s the sort of tossed-off magic that Jennifer Lawrence has worked so often in the past, and that I hope she will work again.

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Fri, 23 Feb 2018 18:44:00 -0800

“Annihilation” is new. It wants us to think, and feel, while we’re having fun.

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A Fantastic Woman

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 18:44:00 -0800

Sebastián Lelio’s “A Fantastic Woman” is Chile’s entry for this year’s foreign-language Oscar.

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Fri, 19 Jan 2018 18:44:00 -0800

A story of redemption that will stand the test of time.

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Paddington 2

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 18:44:00 -0800

When the little guy with the floppy red hat and a fondness for orange marmalade first appeared on the feature screen three years ago this month, he seemed like a gift from the movie gods in a traditionally lean season. Now he and his creators have outdone themselves. One lovely sequence finds Paddington inside the London of an antique pop-up book, but lovely sequences keep popping up with remarkable frequency.

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Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 18:44:00 -0800

Annette Bening can tell you everything you need to know about her character in a single unfolding scene. It’s always rewarding to see her in action, even though her latest movie, “Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool,” doesn’t measure up to her performance.

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The Post

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 18:44:00 -0800

The most important movie opening this holiday season is The Post.

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The Last Jedi

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 18:44:00 -0800

The Last Jedi starts where The Force Awakens left off. The rebels are in full retreat, and Rey has discovered Luke Skywalker as a monkish hermit on a faraway island of a really faraway planet. The question is what comes next...

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I, Tonya

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 18:44:00 -0800

Impressive in its own right, the movie I, Tonya is also a cure for all those feel-good films about innately noble athletes who manage to triumph over impossible odds. 

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The Shape of Water

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 18:44:00 -0800

Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water is a flow of sumptuous images set to music, a flood tide of feelings with a mythic undertow..

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Justice League

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:44:00 -0800

This new film is a crowd-pleaser only if you're part of a comics-obsessed crowd. 

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 18:44:00 -0800

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is darkly comic, blazingly profane, flat-out hilarious and often violent, not to mention flippant, tender, poetic and profound. 

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Lady Bird

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Greta Gerwig is one of the pre-eminent actors of our time, and fine actors often make good directors. And she's no stranger to the art of the screenplay.

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Suburbicon; Novitiate

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Joe's got two movies this week, one good and one really, really bad...

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Faces Places

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 18:44:00 -0700

There's never been a film quite like this one.

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Fri, 13 Oct 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Marshall is a movie that surprises at every turn.

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Blade Runner 2049

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 18:44:00 -0700

The big question in Blade Runner 2049 continues to be the one posed by Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi masterpiece. Who is human, made of flesh and blood, and who is a replicant, built in a factory but able to pass for human in most respects? 

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Fri, 08 Sep 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Errol Morris's enthralling Wormwood, a six-part, 258-minute miniseries produced by Netflix, debuts in December.

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Fri, 04 Aug 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Step is a stirring documentary about a female step-dancing team in an inner-city high school. 

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Fri, 28 Jul 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Detroit is Kathryn Bigelow’s incendiary evocation of the riots that convulsed the Motor City 50 years ago this week. 

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Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk is an astonishing evocation of a crucial event during the first year of World War II. It’s something new in the annals of war films — an intimate epic.

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War for the Planet of the Apes

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 18:44:00 -0700

If you listened to War for the Planet of the Apes with your eyes closed, the music alone would let you know you were in the presence of a grand adventure. 

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Spider-Man: Homecoming

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Spider-Man: Homecoming is delightfully smart, genially aware of itself and terrifically likeable. Only now is this series coming of age. 

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Baby Driver

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Baby Driver is a time-capsule testament to the primacy of music and movement in contemporary life; the beat is both the medium and the message.

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