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A.A. Dowd
A.A. Dowd

A.A. Dowd, or Alex to his friends, is a writer and editor based in Chicago. He has held staff positions at The A.V. Club and Time Out Chicago, and is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

A possessed Sophie Wilde turns sideways with a very spooky grin on her face.

Talk to Me review: scary party-game horror from A24

The Aussie horror movie Talk to Me has a great premise, but a disappointing second half blunts its scares.
Arnold Schwarzenegger aims a rocket launcher out of a car window.

Why is it so hard to make a hit Terminator movie again?

Every Terminator sequel since T2 has been a commercial dud. With the advancement of special effects and the rise of AI, why can't the Terminator series succeed?
Cillian Murphy stares through a small window at an atomic blast, his face illuminated by light.

Oppenheimer review: Christopher Nolan’s staggering atomic opus

Christopher Nolan returns with a towering, troubling 70mm biopic about the Father of the Atomic Bomb, Oppenheimer.
Sam Neill stares down the mighty T.Rex.

Does Jurassic Park reveal a guilty confession from Steven Spielberg?

The 1993 sci-fi film Jurassic Park works as both an entertaining blockbuster and a revealing confession about the damage Steven Spielberg did to modern movies.
Tom Cruise and Hayley Atwell turn around in a small car, looking concerned.

Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One review: Accept this mission

Tom Cruise returns once more as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One, the latest entry in Hollywood's most reliably entertaining franchise.
Harrison Ford looks very tired as Indiana Jones.

Indiana Jones and the perils of sequelizing Steven Spielberg

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is the latest example of how hard it is to make a sequel to a Steven Spielberg movie.
A dying woman crawls across a desert in an upside down shot

Irrational horror: How Skinamarink, The Outwaters, and Enys Men remystify the genre

Skinamarink, The Outwaters, and Enys Men bring some welcome irrationality back to a horror genre that is too obsessed with blunt metaphors about past trauma.
On the left, Brad Pitt stares in fear. On the right, Cillian Murphy stands alone in a deserted London.

The decade of the dead: How 28 Days Later, World War Z, and zombies took over pop culture

Released 10 years apart, 28 Days Later and World War Z offered similar prophetic visions of global outbreak that make them more resonant in a post-COVID world.
The Maximals in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts from Paramount Pictures

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts review: This prequel needs more Bayhem

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is a prequel that streamlines the Michael Bay style into anonymous spectacle.
Caitlin Stasey smiles, unnervingly.

Smile review: A cruelly scary studio horror movie

There are traces of It Follows and The Ring in Parker Finn's diabolically effective horror movie Smile.
Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana fall in love on Pandora.

James Cameron’s sci-fi epic Avatar returns to theaters, but has its magic faded?

James Cameron's sci-fi epic Avatar returns to theaters13 years after it broke records. Will audiences still care?
Florence Pugh and Harry Styles make for a photogenic couple.

Don’t Worry Darling review: through the suburban looking glass

Despite the chaos of its press tour, Olivia Wilde's suburban Twilight Zone fantasy Don't Worry Darling starring Harry Styles is controlled to a fault.
Colin Farrell walks with his donkey in The Banshees of Inisherin.

The best films of TIFF 2022

From a surgical documentary to a Korean thriller to the triumphant return of Daniel Craig's Benoit Blanc, these were our favorites films of TIFF '22.
Gideon Adlon and Beth Million are in grave danger.

The slasher Sick is a highlight of TIFF’s Midnight Madness

This year's Midnight Madness program at TIFF includes a slick slasher, a prequel to a horror hit, and another V/H/S/ anthology of horror.
Zac Efron can see that war is hell in The Greatest Beer Run Ever.

Zac Efron goes to Vietnam in the shallow comedy The Greatest Beer Run Ever

In his follow-up to the Oscar-winning Green Book, director Peter Farrelly makes another bid for middlebrow prestige with The Greatest Beer Run Ever.
Brendan Fraser looks to his side in The Whale.

The Whale review: Brendan Fraser can’t save this histrionic drama

Brendan Fraser's sensitive performance is the chief highlight of Darren Aronofsky's limp drama The Whale.
Paul Dano and Michelle Williams watch The Greatest Show on Earth.

The Fabelmans review: an origin story of Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg plunges into his own childhood with the twinkly-tragic memoir The Fabelmans.
Daniel Craig looks in the camera in Knives Out 2.

Glass Onion review: a deviously intricate Knives Out sequel

Rian Johnson reteams with Daniel Craig for the delightfully complicated Knives Out sequel Glass Onion.
A close-up of a doctor during surgery.

The documentary De Humani Corporis Fabrica is an astonishing dive into the human body

The experimental documentary De Humani Corporis Fabrica, now showing at this year's TIFF, takes a gross, beautiful plunge into the human body.
Daniel Radcliffe and Rainn Wilson stare at the camera.

Down to clown? The biopic spoof Weird is a glorified Funny or Die sketch

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is Al Yankovich in the dopey fictional biopic Weird, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Nathalie Issa and Manal Issa play in the water.

Toronto film fest 2022 opens with a blandly inspirational Netflix biopic

Day one of the Toronto International Film Festival offered a blandly directed Netflix biopic, as well as an incisive Romanian drama.
Morten Burian and Sidsel Siem Koch scream inside a car.

Speak No Evil review: the horror of holding your tongue

A Dutch vacation becomes a sinister social nightmare in the unsettling Shudder-bound thriller Speak No Evil.
The bug from Mimic stands on the left, while a lost soul from Event Horizon shrieks on the right.

Event Horizon, Mimic, and the glory of the lowly late-August thriller

Released 25 years ago, Event Horizon and Mimic are Alien-indebted reminders that late August doesn't have to be a dumping ground.
Idris Elba pleads with Tilda Swinton.

Three Thousand Years of Longing review: George Miller takes a left turn off Fury Road

George Miller veers off Fury Road for the eccentric, romantic fable Three Thousand Years of Longing, starring Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton.
The people of Nasielsk stare into the camera in Three Minutes: A Lengthening.

Three Minutes: A Lengthening review: Haunting documentary about the Holocaust

Built around the only footage of a Polish town destroyed by the Nazis, Three Minutes: A Lengthening is at once a memorial, detective story, and gripping essay.
Aubrey Plaza looks behind her in Emily the Criminal.

Emily the Criminal review: Aubrey Plaza scores as a gig-economy hustler

Aubrey Plaza is grippingly driven in the late-stage capitalism crime thriller Emily the Criminal.
Patton Oswalt looks at James Morosini in a car in I Love My Dad.

I Love My Dad review: Patton Oswalt in a catfish cringe comedy

Patton Oswalt plays a father who catfishes his son in the uncomfortable cringe comedy I Love My Dad.
Brad Pitt looks concerned on the bullet train.

Bullet Train review: Brad Pitt shines in a jokey, stylish action film

Brad Pitt leads a star-powered cast of ruthless assassins in the jokey, stylish action blockbuster Bullet Train.
Teenagers have a terrifying night on Skype in Unfriended.

Unfriended is the quintessential movie about the internet age

The 2015 laptop thriller Unfriended is not just an ingenious horror movie but also an essential portrait of the 21st century.
Ryan Gosling aims a big gun in the Netflix action movie The Gray Man.

The Gray Man review: Ryan Gosling battles Chris Evans in a rote action movie

Ryan Gosling takes on Chris Evans in The Gray Man, a depressingly algorithmic Netflix action movie from the Russo brothers.
Vincent Lindon and Juliette Binoche canoodle in the water in Both Sides of the Blade.

Both Sides of the Blade review: Juliette Binoche shines in cutting domestic drama

The brilliant French filmmaker Claire Denis returns with the disorienting love triangle Both Sides of the Blade, starring Juliette Binoche and Vincent Lindon.
Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth pose as Thors in Thor: Love and Thunder..

Thor: Love and Thunder review: Marvel’s latest is no Ragnarok

Taika Waititi returns to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the jokey Thor: Love and Thunder, which is worth seeing primarily for Christian Bale's menacing Gorr.
A man in an Astronaut suit dances alone.

Apples review: Accidental COVID allegory is Lanthimos Lite

The Greek comedy-drama Apples is an accidental COVID movie with shades of Yorgos Lanthimos that is ultimately unsatisfying.
Elvis Presley looks out of a limo at Vegas in Elvis.

Elvis review: Baz Luhrmann’s ridiculous, sublime biopic

Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann throws his whole mad heart into the alternately ridiculous and sublime biopic Elvis.