Movie recommendations from critics Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang.
Battle of the Sexes This enjoyable and entertaining film, with the gifted and innately likable actors Emma Stone and Steve Carell as Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, is most involving when it deals not with sports or society, but with the personal struggles both players, especially King, were going through in the run-up to their 1973 tennis match. (Kenneth Turan) PG-13.
Blade Runner 2049 You can quibble with aspects of it, but as shaped by Denis Villeneuve and his masterful creative team, this high-end sequel puts you firmly and unassailably in another world of its own devising, and that is no small thing. (Kenneth Turan) R.
BPM (Beats Per Minute) France’s foreign-language film Oscar submission is a sprawling flashback to the early days of the AIDS activist group ACT UP Paris, passionately realized by the writer-director Robin Campillo with a riveting focus on tactics and procedures. (Justin Chang) NR.
Faces Places A participatory art project takes director Agnès Varda and photographer-artist JR on a tour of the French countryside in this wonderful documentary, which, like Varda’s other personal essays, becomes an exquisite trip down memory lane. (Justin Chang) PG.
The Florida Project Absorbing us in the day-to-day rhythms of life at a dumpy Florida motel complex, home to a wildly spirited 6-year-old girl named Moonee (the startling Brooklynn Prince), Sean Baker (“Tangerine”) goes to a place few of us know and emerges with a masterpiece of empathy and imagination. (Justin Chang) R.
Lady Bird As warm as it is smart, and it is very smart, this portrait of a high school senior year marks actor-screenwriter Greta Gerwig‘s superb debut as a solo director and yet another astonishing performance by star Saoirse Ronan. (Kenneth Turan) R.
Last Flag Flying Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne and Steve Carell give richly felt performances as Vietnam veterans reuniting 30 years later in Richard Linklater’s warm, ribald and elegiac quasi-sequel to Hal Ashby’s 1973 classic, “The Last Detail.” (Justin Chang) R.
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Funny, moving and psychologically complex, this is writer-director Noah Baumbach’s latest foray into the intricate paradoxes of dysfunctional family dynamics, and, starring Dustin Hoffman, Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller, it ranks with his best. (Kenneth Turan) NR.
Novitiate A hit at Sundance and already nominated for a Gotham breakthrough director award, this drama about the emotional content of nuns’ lives in the mid-1960s sure-handedly takes us inside the world of belief with care, concern and a piercing, discerning eye. (Kenneth Turan) R.
The Square A Stockholm museum curator (an excellent Claes Bang) undergoes a crisis of conscience in Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund’s sprawling, virtuoso satire of the modern art world, which won the Palme d’Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. (Justin Chang) R.
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