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The Cheesy Spectre Suggests That James Bond's Darker, Grittier, Better Days Are Over

1. There was a time not so long ago when the very notion of James Bond seemed ridiculous—as anachronistic as making a movie about Betamax players or pay phones. There were actual thinkpieces 10 years back about whether James Bond could exist in a post-Austin Powers world. Even Daniel Craig worried about it: “We had to…

The Superb Investigative-Journalism Drama Spotlight Makes Competence Riveting

Inspirational true stories trumpet lots of commendable human traits—heroism, perseverance, compassion—but Spotlight may be the first to celebrate competence. Based on the 2001 Boston Globe investigation that revealed the depth of the Catholic Church’s coverup of clergy sexual misconduct, this straightforward, riveting…

The Political Satire Our Brand Is Crisis Isn't Nearly As Sharp As It Pretends To Be

Our Brand Is Crisis means to cast a harsh light on presidential campaigns, but it mostly just panders. The new film from director David Gordon Green (who’s done everything from George Washington to Pineapple Express) spends way too much time congratulating you for agreeing with its cynical perspective—only to later…

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Spielberg's Bridge of Spies Is A Compelling Cold War Drama Your Granddad Will Love

1. Bridge of Spies is effective, efficient, compelling, smart and absorbing throughout, and I still couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. I think we’re starting to lose the Spielberg who was a risk-taker. The guy did exist, you know. After he won his last Oscar for directing Saving Private Ryan in 1998—a movie…

Child War Is Hell In The Gripping, Important, Only Slightly Disappointing Beasts Of No Nation

Beasts of No Nation is such a worthy, timely, thoughtful drama that the worst you can say about it is that it’s a shame it’s only good and not amazing. Adapted, shot, and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (who previously directed 2009’s Sin Nombre and the first season of True Detective), this immersive look at the life…