Review: 'Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine'

'Steve Jobs,' shows how ruthless the Apple co-founder could be. Read More

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Review: 'Mistress America'

More haywire than fashionably brittle, Noah Baumbach's Mistress America is built on a Berlin Diaries/Breakfast at Tiffany's model. It's told in the second person: a poem to a breathlessly blithe young lady, Brooke (Baumbach's co-writer and live-in Greta Gerwig). She survives with little visible means of support and the help of an off-screen boyfriend called "Stavros," like evil Blofeld. She's idolized by the lady who will become her sister by marriage: a budding, alternately too-shrewd and too-sentimental college student, named Tracy (Lola Kirile). » Read More

Review: 'Digging for Fire'

Joe Swanberg's Digging for Fire has its appeal. It stars a well-chosen group of actors, and is directed in a loose style that reveals more of their humanity than you'd see in more tightly woven films. Sam Elliott, capable of mustachioed, rugged cowboy charm or smooth-shaven villainy, gives five fine minutes as a grandad sighing about his age, for example. » Read More

Review: 'Diary of a Teenage Girl'

Asked how anyone could ever make a movie of Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov said, "Let them hire a dwarfess." For the evocative if sweetened adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckner's semi-autobiographical book, Diary of a Teenage Girl, director Marielle Heller cast the British actress Bel Powley. Powley, 23, plays Gloeckner's 15-year-old heroine, Minnie Goetz. She's of small stature, all fluffy hair and big yearning eyes. She's rounded and fragile, but childishly rambunctious as she stands on a hassock or bounces on a bed to admire the details of her room. » Read More

Review: 'Straight Outta Compton'

The new biopic Straight Outta Compton, which chronicles the rise of gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A. (an abbreviation of Niggaz Wit Attitudes), may deserve an acronym of its own: MWP, for "movie with platitudes." The engrossing, but seemingly endless, Straight Outta Compton by F. Gary Gray condenses more than a decade in the careers of Dr. Dre and Co. » Read More

Review: 'Fantastic Four'

That Fantastic Four (2015) fails, reeks and sucks on ice should not be a matter for equivocation. Nor should there be equivocation about how this tentpole was made. It was made to exercise a studio's option before it expired, rather than because there was a crying need to rephrase (for an un-fantastic, fourth time) the legend of Earth's strange champions. » Read More

Review: 'The End of the Tour'

James Ponsoldt's deeply affecting The End of the Tour is the story of a few days in the late winter of 1996. Back then, author David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) profiled writer David Foster Wallace (Jason Siegel, in the performance of his life). It was during the Midwestern publicity tour for Wallace's tombstone novel, Infinite Jest. At the time, Lipsky's magazine, Rolling Stone, didn't do author profiles, and his editor couldn't see an angle. » Read More

Review: 'Listen to Me Marlon'

An actor's a guy, who if you ain't talking about him, ain't listening." This is just one example of many quotes culled from a basket of cassette tapes, the acting legend Marlon Brando made as personal therapy. These nighttime musings of the greatest and most influential American actor of the 20th century come to us courtesy of director Stevan Riley's new film, Listen to Me Marlon. » Read More

Review: 'Dark Places'

Chip on her shoulder, ratty baseball cap clamped on her head, so that her eyes are in shadow: in Dark Places Charlize Theron deglazes herself of glam as she hasn't since she played serial killer Aileen Wuornos in 2003's Monster. Theron is Libby Day, a Midwestern survivor of an assault on her family that occurred years before. She lives a parasitic life on the last waning sympathy checks. » Read More

Review: 'Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation'

Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt is described by his boss, played by Alec Baldwin, as "the living manifestation of destiny" in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. Tom Cruise seems like an unusually lightweight agent of destiny. But he and his director Christopher McQuarrie (of The Usual Suspects, as well as several unpopular Cruise vehicles) have the right respect toward the principle that an action movie hero should never falter in revealing character through action. » Read More

Review: 'The Stanford Prison Experiment'

It has been the source for so many anecdotes that skeptics tend to believe it's an urban legend. But the Stanford Prison Experiment actually occurred, 44 years ago this summer, in the basement of Jordan Hall on the Stanford University campus. Kyle Patrick Alvarez's The Stanford Prison Experiment is the third film in 15 years about Dr. Philip Zimbardo's infamous psychological experiment. I'm not counting 2002's Experiment, when BBC and the University of Exeter tried to reproduce the results of the study. » Read More

Review: 'Irrational Man'

The despair-inducing Irrational Man has some promise to it—things could have been done to make it merely tepid instead of abject, but is Woody Allen capable of doing those things anymore? This crabbed rewrite of Crime and Punishment, with its gimmicky One Step Beyond ending, is the backhanded celebration of a sour man. Abe (a sleepy, ruminative Joaquin Phoenix) is a supposed luminary in the world of philosophy, come to teach at a small Rhode Island college. » Read More