Film Criticism

I’m the film critic for LA Weekly, publishing also in our affiliate papers, including Village Voice. I like movies sometimes more than real life, which is why I am always talking about them. Here’s an ongoing list (with links) of my reviews, interviews, and features on the industry. If you want to hear me talk (on and on and on) about what I want to see in movies and what it means to be an ethical critic, listen to the Chicks Who Script podcast here. If you want to hear me talk about documentaries on the Pop Rocket podcast, listen here. Finalist for 2016 LA Press Club National Arts & Entertainment Awards for Best Print Critic.

 

Netflix’s Teen-Suicide Drama 13 Reasons Why Offers Many Reasons to Watch It

 

In Aftermath, Schwarzenegger Shows His Emotional Side as a Man of Action Facing True Grief

 

In The Discovery, Robert Redford Finds Heaven, So Everyone Starts Killing Themselves

 

The Blackcoat’s Daughter‘s Oz Perkins on Crafting His Standout Horror Films

 

A Heroic Couple Saves Hundreds of Lives in the True Story of the Zookeeper’s Wife

 

The Most California Movies of All Time

 

From Twin Peaks to Star Wars, Laura Dern Defies Hollywood’s Expectations

 

Alice Lowe on Making Her Inimitable Pregnancy Horror Thriller Prevenge While Pregnant Herself

 

Ritesh Batra’s Humane Touch Trumps the Mysteries of The Sense of an Ending

 

Julia Ducournau’s Audacious Raw Makes a Sisterhood of Cannibalism

 

Shirley MacLaine Dominates the Life-Lesson Indie The Last Word

 

With a Stellar Lead, Before I Fall Breaks the Life-on-a-Loop Template

 

La La Land Is a Propaganda Film

 

Can the Spectacle of IMAX Get Kids Excited About Engineering?

 

A Kiddo Zombie Leaves School to End the Apocalypse in The Girl With All the Gifts

 

The Story Behind Steve Bannon’s Hilariously Terrible Movie About the Horrors of Climate Science

 

American Fable Director Anne Hamilton on Capturing the Truth of Rural Life

 

Horror Anthology XX Offers a Too-Rare Showcase for Women Directors

 

Inside the Inglewood Stunt School Where the Decade’s Best Action Films Have Been Hatched

 

A Cure for Wellness Starts Creepy but Then Swoons — and Never Recovers

 

A True Story of Love, Race and Royalty Gets Crammed Into A United Kingdom

 

Quit Trying to Heal Samara! Rings Won’t Let a Great Screen Villain Just Be Evil

 

Coin Heist‘s Emily Hagins Isn’t a “Girl Director” — She’s a Filmmaker

 

Rest in Peace, Mary Tyler Moore, Reluctant Feminist Icon

 

Whatever Happened to These Female-Made Films From the ’70s and ’80s?

 

Lackluster Gold May Signal the Last Days of the McConaissance

 

Juvenile Offenders Get a Chance in Compassionate Doc They Call Us Monsters

 

How Movies Are Helping Us Voice Our Fears About Trump

 

Leonard Cohen Holds Up Through Breakdown in the Revelatory ‘Bird on a Wire’

 

Roger Corman Tells Us About Death Race 2050, the Only Movie That Matters in 2017

 

Gaslight: The Film That Gave Trump’s Favorite Brand of Mindfuckery a Name

 

Painful Survival Thriller The SnareEmbraces the Worst of Its Genre

Claire in Motion Plumbs and Plumbs the Mysteries of Grief

 

The Bad Kids Sequel Mashes Slasher Films with Veronica Mars but Somehow Isn’t Fun

 

John Carpenter Calls Neo-Nazi Theory About They Live “Absolutely Foolish”

What Modern Hollywood Can Learn From Britain’s Black Film Movement of the 1980s

THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE (R)

 

Anna Foerster Takes Over the Underworld Films — and Strives to Invest Set Pieces with Emotion

 

Railroad Tigers Offers a Dirty Dozen–Style Caper on a Different Front

From Psychedelic Revolts to Tickle Fetish Films, 2016 Was a Weird Year for Movies

 

Johnny Depp, David Lynch and Other Stars Made a Zombie Movie for a Really Good Reason

 

L.A. Weekly Film Critic April Wolfe’s Top Films of 2016

 

The Americans, Stranger Things and the Harm of Our Sanitized ’80s Nostalgia

 

How Director Ava DuVernay’s South L.A. Roots Helped Her Shatter the Film Industry’s Glass Ceiling

 

What the Fuck? (and Other Questions About the Golden Globe Nominations)

 

The Hollow Point’s Hollowness Makes It More Deadly — to Watch

 

Today’s Teens Face Today’s Confusion in the Romantic Comedy Slash

 

Denzel Washington Brings August Wilson’s Masterwork to the People

 

Natalie Portman Thrills in Pablo Larraín’s Impeccable Biopic Jackie

 

The Scariest Thing in the Terrifying The Eyes of My Mother? The Sound.

 

Stellar Thriller Always Shine Exposes an Industry That Turns Women Against Each Other

Evolution Is a Science-Fiction Marvel That Flips the Usual Gender Codes

Kathy Bates Bestrides Bad Santa 2 and the American Turdscape

 

A Native American Filmmaker Captures Her Father’s Language Before It Vanishes

Manchester by the Sea May Be Kenneth Lonergan’s Most Powerful Film Yet

Is Watching Movies on the Small Screen Affecting How Much We Like Them?

Teen Comedy The Edge of SeventeenFinds More Life in its Grown-ups Than its Teens

 

The Irresistible The Monster Finds a Family Facing Horror of the Old School

 

I Went Trick-or-Treating With a Horror Movie Master and His Minions

 

The Eagle Huntress’ Teen Eagle Wrangler Takes America — and Wins Big at Ring Toss

 

THE UNSPOKEN (NR)

 

Is Watching Movies On the Small Screen Affecting How Much We Like Them?

 

15 L.A.-Set Horror Movies to Watch This Halloween

 

In Zach Clark’s Moving Little Sister, a Future Nun Gets Down With GWAR

 

Werner Herzog Takes a Scattershot Look Into the Inferno

 

The Handmaiden Transcends Its Male-Gaze Sensuality

 

Ti West’s Crusade to Slow Movies Down Sputters in Cowboy Country

 

Next Week, Harry Dean Stanton Will Receive the First-Ever Harry Dean Stanton Award

 

5 Horror Movies That Might Scare the Crap Out of Lydia Hearst (or You) at Screamfest

 

The Quietly Moving Humanity of Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women

For Years, Jane Lynch Made Iffy Projects Better. Now She’s Free to Say “No.”

 

Fantastic Fest: Here’s an Apology to Anne Hathaway, Because She’s So Good in Colossal

 

Fantastic Fest: Ana Lily Amirpour’s Bad Batch Is a Mad, Post-Apocalyptic Spree

 

All the Craziness We Can’t Wait For at Fantastic Fest 2016, the Great Genre-Film Freak Show

 

Certain Movies: L.A. Weekly‘s Critics Pick Their Favorites at the Toronto Film Festival

Toronto Film Festival: All Hail the Female Filmmakers Who Splash Us in Blood

 

Toronto Film Festival: I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House Is the Best of Gothic Horror

 

Toronto Film Festival: Director Katherine Dieckmann Is a Master of Place and Messy Humanity

 

Toronto Film Festival: Laura Dern and Michelle Williams Warm Certain Women‘s Chilly North

 

Toronto Film Festival: Here’s the Best Drama Ever About a Woman Growing a Tail

 

Demon’s Director Committed Suicide. Now a Wife/Producer Perseveres

 

London Road Offers a Thrilling Musical Tour of a Real Town’s Trauma

 

How Bruce Lee’s Daughter Is Sharing His Philosophies With the Digital Generation

 

The Light Between Oceans Could Fill a Sea With Tears

 

Luke Scott — and a Killer Ensemble — Make Morgan a Top-Tier Sci-Fi Thriller

 

Southside With You Can Be as Cheesy as It Wants to Be

 

SPACEMAN (NR)

 

Can a Couple Come Back From the Brink? Clea DuVall’s The Intervention Tests the Premise

 

Craig Robinson at Last Gets to Show His Range in Morris From America

 

When the Hosts of Call Your Girlfriend Talk About Periods, People Listen

 

Alice Winocour Elevates the Action Hero In the Moody Thriller Disorder

 

FBI Agent Michael German Taught Hollywood How to Get Counterterrorism Right

 

Hard-Ass Pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee’s Biopic Should Be Benched

 

Shouldn’t Sausage Party Be Funnier, Wilder — and Less Like a Jeff Dunham Special?

 

An Open Letter to Rose McGowan and Other Celebrities Who Write Open Letters

 

Want to Watch Classics on 35mm? Join the Club.

 

Is Patricia Rozema on Her Way to Becoming an Auteur?

 

Patricia Rozema’s Masterful Into the ForestFollows Life After the Power Goes Out

 

On the Screen, Roth’s Indignation Only Fitfully Comes to Spiteful Life

 

Allison Janney Talks Tallulah, Mom and Motherhood

 

Garry Marshall Was a Jedi Master of Morally Complicated Movies

 

Ab Fab at Last: Patsy and Edina Return Just When We Need Them Most

 

Lights Out Is Creepiest When It Stops Explaining Itself

 

Bryan Cranston Carries The Infiltrator, but He Should Have Shared the Load

 

Static Western Outlaws and Angels Invites You to Sit a Spell With Wannabe Rapists

 

Zero Days Director Alex Gibney Prepares for the Malware Takeover

 

In South L.A., a Former Black Panther Is Teaching Radical Peace

 

Viggo Mortensen Is a Flower-Power Survivalist in Captain Fantastic

 

Mike and Dave Need a Better Movie

 

The Best Films of 2016 (So Far) According to L.A. Weekly‘s Critics

 

Anne Fontaine’s The Innocents Finds Strength in Grayness

 

How Vivica A. Fox Defied Hollywood’s Odds

Swiss Army Man Has Wonder but Too Much Farty Dada

 

Todd Solondz’s Wiener-Dog Embarks on a Satiric Odyssey

 

HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE

 

Refn’s Neon Demon Is a Stylish Giallo Jolly Until It Tries to Get Real

 

Finally, a John Hughes–Style Teen Flick for Korean-American Kids

 

Bonkers New Doc Tickled Digs Into the Strangest of Cover-Ups

 

Paltrow and Baumbach on Their Collaborative Friendship With a Master

 

TMNT: Out of the Shadows and Out of Ideas

 

Therapy for a Vampire Nails the Look of the Horror It Lampoons

 

A Former Member of a SoCal Cult Explains How Film Helped Him Start Over

 

Yes, Comedies Look Better Than They Used to. Brandon Trost Is Why.

 

What to See at the L.A. Film Festival and Dances With Films

 

Will the Producers of Female-Driven Wall Street Movie Equity Make Bank?

 

Alice Goes Through the Looking GlassInto a World of Formula

 

A Gaslighted Mother Tries to Hold It Together in The Ones Below

 

HARD SELL

 

‘Maggie’s Plan’ Has Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Lots of Charm, and Not Quite Enough That’s New

 

A Sorority Spirit Seizes the Neighbors-verse

 

Meet the Design Pro Who Made Atlanta Look Like Los Angeles in The Nice Guys

 

Give Netflix’s Grace and Frankie Another Chance — It Might Make You a Better Person

 

An X-Rated Japanese Animation From the ’70s Got the Restoration it Deserves

 

Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump Achieved High-Rise‘s Look on a Shoestring. Here’s How.

 

Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood Can’t Save Bad-Cop Vegas Heist Thriller The Trust

 

Call Your Mom Rather Than Taking Her to See Mothers and Daughters, a Film About Calling Your Mom

 

Memoria Immerses Us in Go-Nowhere Masculinity — but to What End?

 

With a Falsely Confident Hero, Rob Reiner’s Addiction Drama ‘Being Charlie’ Doesn’t Make It to Step One

 

With Keanu, Key and Peele Save the Cat — and Maybe Buddy Action Comedies, Too

 

A Netflix Doc Digs at the Truth Behind the Foxcatcher Killing

 

The Invitation Director Karyn Kusama Talks About the Party She Wishes She Had Left

 

IMAX’s A Beautiful Planet Gracefully Delivers a Scary-as-Hell Message

 

“Vasquez Is Universal”: Jenette Goldstein Looks Back on Her Unforgettable Aliens Marine

 

Susan Sarandon Charms in The Meddler, but More Rose Byrne, Please!

 

Tale of Tales Dares to Bite Into the Tangential Madness of Fairy Stories

 

Echo Park Has a Fine Romance, but Whose Echo Park Is This?

 

Why Hollywood Should Cast All Movies Like Horror Movies

 

Finally, a Superhero in Touch With His Feminine Side (VIDEO)

 

Emma Watson’s Colonia Is a Love Story Set in a Cult Prison

 

Argentine Thriller The Clan Reveals Everyday Folks Making a Game of Evil

 

Operatic French Concoction MargueriteIs Tough-Minded About Quirkiness