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Film Reviews

KCRW

The Pulitzer Prize-winning critic of The Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern reviews films weekly in the paper and on KCRW.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning critic of The Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern reviews films weekly in the paper and on KCRW.

Location:

Santa Monica, CA

Networks:

KCRW

Description:

The Pulitzer Prize-winning critic of The Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern reviews films weekly in the paper and on KCRW.

Twitter:

@kcrw

Language:

English

Contact:

1900 Pico Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90405 310-450-5183


Episodes

The Call of the Wild

2/21/2020
A new screen version of "The Call of the Wild" is calling to us; it's the Jack London story of a California dog named buck who goes native in the Yukon of the Gold Rush days. This time the dog is digital, which lends the film at least one distinction.

Duration:00:03:36

Beanpole

2/14/2020
"Beanpole" is a new Russian drama directed by the prodigiously gifted Kantemir Balogov. The setting is Leningrad during the first autumn after World War II, and it's a profound--and profoundly beautiful--tale of two women who've been traumatized by the war.

Duration:00:03:52

Birds of Prey

2/7/2020
The Harley Quinn of "Suicide Squad" is back in "Birds of Prey," though with a difference, even though she's still played, with skill and zest, by Margot Robbie. In the earlier film, a torture chamber for actors and audiences alike, Harley was a flamboyantly brutal criminal, rather than an entertaining one. She's flamboyant in "Birds of Prey," but joyously so.

Duration:00:03:36

The Assistant

1/31/2020
Kitty Green's "The Assistant" is audacious in a deadpan way, a #MeToo drama that comes on like an HR video illustrating the responsibilities of an entry-level job. The heroine, Jane (Julia Garner), is a junior assistant to the chairman of the company. His name is not Harvey Weinstein. In fact he's never named, or seen. This is a story of sexual abuse in which the predatory behavior, like the abuser, remains behind closed doors, but increasingly obvious to the decreasingly innocent assistant.

Duration:00:03:37

The Gentlemen

1/24/2020
Guy Ritchie is back, mostly for the better, in crime-caper mode with "The Gentlemen," a tale of criminal toughs and toffs in London trying to take down Matthew McConaughey's Mickey Pearson, an ex-pat American who's made a king's ransom growing marijuana in subterranean, tech-intensive farms under some of England's statelier homes.

Duration:00:03:40

Dolittle

1/17/2020
“Dolittle” is the latest in a long, undistinguished line of movies about the veterinarian who can talk to animals. It doesn’t speak well for the film that one of its only affecting moments involves a stick insect that doesn't seem to listen and has nothing to say.

Duration:00:03:34

The Rise of Skywalker

12/20/2019
Log line. The Star Wars party is over, or at least a significant part of it. Forty-two years after George Lucas put the saga in motion, the Skywalker trilogy has come to an end with "The Rise of Skywalker."

Duration:00:03:49

Uncut Gems

12/13/2019
Energy flows from anxiety in "Uncut Gems." You may be exhausted but you'll never be bored by Adam Sandler's astonishing performance.

Duration:00:03:44

The Aeronauts

12/6/2019
"The Aeronauts" is in the Jules Verne vein of "Around the World In 80 Days," but on a slightly more modest scale. It's around and above London during a few hours with an intrepid pilot played by Felicity Jones and her scientist companion, who's played by Eddie Redmayne. Without giving away too much, I can tell you that the higher they go the colder they get.

Duration:00:04:06

Knives Out

11/29/2019
It's tempting to say that "Knives Out" is the sort of movie they don't make any more, but they didn't make all that many way back when, because it's really hard to pull off a production of such startling quality. If there's a false note in it I must have been laughing or gasping when it sounded.

Duration:00:03:34

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

11/22/2019
Tom Hanks is Fred Rogers, the children's TV host in "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood." The movie was made for grownups, of course, so sticky sweetness threatens at every turn. But the movie bets on goodness, and wins.

Duration:00:03:38

Ford v Ferrari

11/15/2019
Movies about car racing sound like operas scored entirely for bassos. "Ford v Ferrari" fills that bill, but it also has significant things to say on a variety of worthy subjects. It's a great spectacle with a resonant soul to go with its smarts.

Duration:00:04:07

Marriage Story

11/8/2019
Every divorce story is a marriage story, but every movie about divorce is not on the level of Noah Baumbach's "Marriage Story." Marvelous performances, steel-trap writing that also manages to be heartfelt--it's a deeply affecting classic.

Duration:00:03:34

The Irishman

11/1/2019
Here's an all-points bulletin about Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman." It's a huge movie, made to be seen on big screens, but it's a Netflix production that will be playing in theaters, and not all that many of them, only for three weeks. See it if you can before this genuine epic shrinks down to the size of a streaming attraction.

Duration:00:03:35

Synonyms

10/25/2019
Words, words, words. "Synonyms," an Israeli film set in Paris, is all about them. For once, though, wordiness in a movie is a good thing, even a delightful thing.

Duration:00:03:44

The Lighthouse

10/18/2019
Three years ago Robert Eggers made his dark mark with a remarkable debut feature called "The Witch." Now he's back with "The Lighthouse," a horror fantasy in a dramatic and aesthetic class by itself.

Duration:00:03:41

Parasite

10/11/2019
Think about "Parasite" as a home-invasion story unlike any other. This funny, smart and genuinely profound social satire from Korea was directed by Bong Joon Ho, and it's one of the most original films in memory.

Duration:00:03:23

Joker

10/4/2019
If you’re feeling insufficiently anxious in your life, “Joker” could be just the ticket. If not, look elsewhere to be entertained.

Duration:00:03:46

Judy

9/27/2019
Renée Zellwegger plays Judy Garland with heart-stopping brilliance in "Judy." It's a performance that no one could have predicted, not even on the basis of her bedazzling portrayal of Roxie Hart in "Chicago." She sets the film on fire every time she sings a Garland classic in her own voice.

Duration:00:03:33

Tigers Are Not Afraid

8/23/2019
In the past few years there's been a very real invasion from Mexico--by remarkably gifted filmmakers. Now a woman named Issa López joins their ranks with an interesting horror film called "Tigers Are Not Afraid."

Duration:00:03:56