Justin Chang


Justin Chang
Tomatometer-approved critic

movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year Review
93% Fighting with My Family (2019) Within the context of a sport that thrives on artifice, writer-director Stephen Merchant spins a story whose emotions feel entirely genuine. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2019
88% The Image Book (Le livre d'image) (2019) "The Image Book" is an 85-minute cinematic brainstorm, a swirling, dazzling, maddening frenzy of disconnected sights and sounds that have been compiled and arranged according to a rhythmic and rhetorical logic that only its maker can fully divine. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2019
93% The Wild Pear Tree (Ahlat agaci) (2019) Cemcir's performance, suffused with a kind of wily, defiant grace, has an emotional depth that makes this movie's spirit not just heavy and somber, but also curiously forgiving. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
85% The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) "The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part" becomes an amusingly derivative space opera, where the hallways and stairwells of an American suburban home become portals to so much intergalactic mayhem. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2019
100% The Farewell (2019) "The Farewell" is a remarkably cohesive ensemble movie. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
100% Clemency (2019) With quiet power and austere visuals, "Clemency" captures the unbearable atmosphere of offices and corridors suffused with the stench of death. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
88% The Souvenir (2019) One of the pleasures of Hogg's movie is how sneakily it takes shape, and how carefully it avoids the obvious beats to which storytellers often resort for the sake of dramatic expedience. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
86% The Nightingale (2019) Both a canny fulfillment and a skillful subversion of the conventions of the revenge thriller, the picture becomes a touch overextended in its final stretches but is nonetheless sustained by the coherence and intense muscularity of its filmmaking. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
24% Miss Bala (2019) It's understandable that Hardwicke didn't want to mimic her predecessor's moves. But in chop-chop-chopping the action into standard Hollywood fragments, she has drained the material of its tension, its meaning and its purpose... - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
100% Apollo 11 (2018) The result is a stirring companion piece to Damien Chazelle's recent "First Man," and one no less worth seeing on the big screen when Neon releases it in theaters worldwide. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 28, 2019
93% The Report (2019) "The Report" parcels out its intel efficiently enough, though it creaks a bit more than it crackles. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 28, 2019
91% The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) [T]he movie has an offbeat, meandering rhythm and a marvelous sense of possibility. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 28, 2019
89% The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) "The Kid Who Would Be King" has an uncommon ability to treat the conventions of big-screen fantasy with equal parts earnest seriousness and offbeat humor. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2019
89% La religieuse (The Nun) (1971) In its sculptural compositions and meticulous choreography of bodies through space, it has a recognizably Rivettian formal beauty. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2019
37% Glass (2019) It's the work of a filmmaker who, no less than the genre he's trying to reimagine, feels stuck on repeat. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2019
40% The Upside (2019) "The Upside" was probably never going to be a good movie, but it needn't have been such an unfortunate, spectacularly ill-timed one, the victim of circumstances it ultimately has neither the wit nor the imagination to transcend. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
72% On the Basis of Sex (2019) Polished, effective, a bit obvious... - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 23, 2018
31% Welcome to Marwen (2018) You may be repelled, in the moment, by its oil-and-water mix of tortured sentimentality and creepy puppet play. You might also find it damnably hard to shake. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018
62% Bird Box (2018) You've seen this all many times before, which doesn't mean you'll mind seeing it again. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
78% Mary Poppins Returns (2018) It sits there flailing on the screen, bright, gaudy and mirthless, tossing off strained bits of comic business and all but strangling itself with its own good cheer. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
93% Bumblebee (2018) "Bumblebee," for its part, has just enough wit, playfulness and charm to develop a voice of its own, which is no small thing in the context of a flashy, lunkheaded studio franchise. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2018
80% Ben is Back (2018) "Ben Is Back" may lose its way early and often, but it is rarely in danger of losing hold of your attention. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
59% Vox Lux (2018) Portman delivers a master class in appalling celebrity misbehavior... It's an arresting, boldly alienating screen performance that destabilizes the movie even as it brings it together. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2018
76% Never Look Away (2019) "Never Look Away" is nothing if not classical in its approach: It is stately and composed, clear-eyed and engrossing. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2018
90% Happy as Lazzaro (Lazzaro felice) (2018) Tardiolo's silent radiance and his director's offhand audacity produce their own bewildering cinematic alchemy. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2018
97% Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) What distinguishes "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" in the end is that it takes its mission seriously, even when it's being transparently silly. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 28, 2018
95% Amazing Grace (2018) Franklin's voice remains so pure and galvanic that [this] is one of the few movies you could watch with your eyes closed, though you would hardly want to. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2018
94% The Favourite (2018) [Colman] beams and scowls, brays and bleeds, shatters and disintegrates. She rules. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2018
84% Creed II (2018) The rare sequel that doesn't wind up feeling like the same old mistake. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2018
88% Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) A witty, fastidiously imagined adventure and a touching, sometimes troubling ode to the power of friendship. But it also demonstrates some of the problems that can befall a movie when its vast ambition and confidence outstrip its finesse. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2018
91% The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) As the Coens remind us, with their usual impish wit and impeccable craft, there's still a lot of pleasure to be mined from those conventions. But there are lessons to be learned, too. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2018
37% Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) It offers up dazzling feats of sorcery and realms of wonderment and manages to conjure the very opposite of magic. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2018
40% The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018) By any title, the movie is an expertly crafted slog and a disappointingly bland return for everyone's favorite Scandinavian pansexual goth-vigilante cyber-sleuth. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2018
83% The Other Side of the Wind (2018) A cracked, corrosive, savagely compromised vision it unmistakably is. A mock documentary avant la lettre, Other Side of the Wind has a jagged syntax that would have felt startling in the '70s and, decades later, has lost little of its restless vitality. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2018
81% Boy Erased (2018) "Boy Erased" is a sobering, justly infuriating movie, but its own convenient elisions keep catharsis at bay. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2018
61% Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) [A] sprawling, jumbled and disappointingly airbrushed new movie about the legendary rock band and especially its incandescent frontman, Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek). - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2018
100% Shirkers (2018) A knotty detective yarn, a funny valentine to Singapore and one of the year's most ardent expressions of movie love, it tells a story of cinematic theft, and in the process, becomes an entrancing feat of cinematic reclamation. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
100% A Bread Factory, Part Two: Walk with Me a While (2018) A warm and prickly humanist triumph that features no movie stars, disperses its attention across a large ensemble and feels meticulously handcrafted in every respect. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2018
100% A Bread Factory, Part One: For the Sake of Gold (2018) A warm and prickly humanist triumph that features no movie stars, disperses its attention across a large ensemble and feels meticulously handcrafted in every respect. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2018
64% Suspiria (2018) There is meaning in this mutilation and, if you don't regard the classics as sacrosanct, a grim, brooding sort of pleasure. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2018
77% Mid90s (2018) It longs to be received as an impeccable found artifact of its chosen decade, but also as a sly, knowing synthesis of its many obvious influences. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2018
97% Thunder Road (2018) Remarkably, Cummings manages to piece these oddball vignettes into a vivid drama with its own unpredictable, startlingly lovely shape. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2018
94% Wildlife (2018) If the drama feels somewhat studied - though it would be more accurate to say that it simply feels thought through - it is never airless or constricted. The story maintains a steady emotional pulse alongside its meticulous accrual of details... - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 18, 2018
79% Halloween (2018) Scary and propulsive, it doesn't just forge a direct link to Carpenter's original; it pretends all the garbage in between never even existed. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 15, 2018
88% The Kindergarten Teacher (2018) A deft and intelligent minor-key variation on a superb 2014 Israeli film of the same title. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2018
75% Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) The standout is Erivo, who will next be seen in Steve McQueen's thriller "Widows" and whose performance here is revelatory in the most rewarding sense. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2018
91% Mandy (2018) Cosmatos' metal-to-the-max revenge thriller is more than just the sum of its deranged set pieces, choice as they are: Its slow-drip blend of hardcore pulp and demonic fantasy has a patience and all-consuming conviction that simply cannot be faked. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2018
93% Private Life (2018) Even as Jenkins brings out the angst, her inner comic strategist remains hard at work, building sly jokes into the edge of the frame; she has a talent for rendering comedy and tragedy virtually indistinguishable. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2018
29% Venom (2018) "Venom" feels like pretty weak poison. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2018
28% Night School (2018) For all her improvisational skill and that of her top-billed costar, the much-vaunted Hart-and-Haddish pairing never pays dividends. It feels more like Half-and-Half. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2018