Stories

‘Casino Royale’ Reunion: Daniel Craig And Mads Mikkelsen On Bond Nerves and That Naked Chair Scene

Daniel Craig and Mads Mikkelsen sat down (virtually) with one another for the inaugural episode of “Dream Teams,” Variety’s new series that pairs collaborators who caught lighting in a bottle. Having recently seen Mikkelsen’s turn in the film “Another Round,” Craig was eager to discuss that performance but the two also reminisced about playing poker, that infamous torture scene and playing drunk.

‘MLK/FBI’ Director Sam Pollard on the ‘Need to Have a Reckoning About Race’

Sam Pollard’s “MLK/FBI” is an arresting look at how J. Edgar Hoover used the country’s top law enforcement agency to wage a surveillance campaign against Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that made a mockery of the justice system. By illegally wiretapping King’s hotel rooms, Hoover’s agents discovered that the minister was having adulterous relationships and tried to use that information to smear him, blackmail him and destroy his marriage.

Recent reviews

By Owen Gleiberman

It’s not every action star who could be considered up-and-coming at 55, but it happens. Frank Grillo has been around for a while, but he didn’t start to break out until he was featured in a couple of “Purge” sequels (the first in 2014), where he played a lean-and-mean cop. While I wouldn’t necessarily call him boyish, with his thatch of glossy hair, easy grin that breaks into an equally easy grimace, and bedroom eyes, he’s like…

By Peter Debruge

“Give me a child until he is 7, and I will show you the man,” proposed Aristotle, to which fiercely feminist French director Céline Sciamma might add, “Give me a woman, and I will show you the free, unbroken spirit she still was at age 8.”

Sciamma, who went from being a queer cult favorite (for such bracingly free indies as “Tomboy” and “Water Lilies”) to an internationally respected auteur with 2019’s “Portrait of a Lady on…

By Peter Debruge

In sci-fi Western “Chaos Walking,” the mud-crusted colonists of New World have a tricky job of keeping secrets. That’s because something about the atmosphere on this far-flung planet — which otherwise looks a lot like the incentive-friendly Peach State of Georgia — interacts with the human brain, resulting in a curious phenomenon known as “the Noise,” a swirly CG effect whereby every little thing that goes through people’s heads can be heard by those around.

Now, if…

By Courtney Howard

Navigating the precarious aspects of growing up while simultaneously buried deep in the throes of grief is one young woman’s struggle in director Jessie Barr’s “Sophie Jones.” This meaningful drama, co-written and starring Barr’s sister Jessica, taps into the immediacy of being a teenager and the intimacy of sorrow, yielding astute insights. The pair set their story during the fertile period in a maturing teen’s life when hormones and complex emotions run roughshod. With Nicole Holofcener on…

By Guy Lodge

It’s nearly a year since Zoom became a household name brand, its boxy chat windows, variable resolution and capacity for technical glitches shaping how many communicated with friends, family and colleagues during a global pandemic — to the extent that “Zoom fatigue” is now the defining buzz term of 2021 so far. A gentle relationship study playing out entirely through the cramped, sterile rectangles of a virtual chat app, actor-director Natalie Morales’ freshman feature “Language Lessons” arrives…

By Peter Debruge

The first major animated feature for a post-Trump era, “Raya and the Last Dragon” is as leftie a toon as Disney has ever made, though its core message of unity and come-togetherness should hardly seem political at all. Notably, it’s a movie with no villain, no love interest, no musical numbers and no talking animals — unless you count Awkwafina’s loquacious (and potentially world-saving) water dragon Sisu. Progressive as this formula-bending family movie may be, “Raya” still…

By Owen Gleiberman

In “Cherry,” Tom Holland sports a buzzcut, dead eyes, and a skeevy complexion. In a look-at-my-badass-self reversal from the effusive heroics of the “Spider-Man” films, he plays an Iraq War veteran turned opioid addict turned heroin addict turned bank robber, and he looks zoned-out and strung-out, like Eminem as a fallen Eagle Scout. He gets the cold sweats, he weeps real tears and talks in a phlegmy voice, he contorts his face into a pale mask of…

By Richard Kuipers

Following the misfire of 2019’s “Hellboy” reboot, “The Descent” director Neil Marshall returns to his traditional horror roots with “The Reckoning,” an uneven melodrama about an innocent young widow accused of witchcraft during the Great Plague of London, 1665. Striving to be a rousing tale of female empowerment in the face of brutal patriarchy and religious extremism, “The Reckoning” has some powerful moments but relies too heavily on fantasy sequences to deliver scares, and its credibility is…