New movie reviews: Critics' picks

Check out the best new movies, as reviewed by Time Out's critics, then find showtimes and buy movie tickets.

New movies we love

Far From the Madding Crowd

Burning with understated passion and a fine central performance from Carey Mulligan, Thomas Hardy’s romantic classic comes to life in an adaptation that’s far from stodgy.

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Welcome to Me

Long a comic treasure, Kristen Wiig branches out in this complex portrait of an obsesssive-compulsive lottery winner who buys her way onto a TV show.

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Iris

Nonagenarian NYC style icon Iris Apfel glows in a winning profile that celebrates her lifelong gift for going it alone (and haggling with salesmen).

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Felix and Meira

A lonely guy and an unhappy Jewish wife (not his) complete each other in mysterious ways in this beautifully observed romance, a quiet storm.

 

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Clouds of Sils Maria

The always exquisite Juliette Binoche and an unusually complex Kristen Stewart get bristly in Olivier Assayas’s moody psychodrama about dueling egos.

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It Follows

Imbued with the kind of idea that can turn a horror film into a sensation, David Robert Mitchell’s thriller sets a relentless camera on characters that have no idea what’s in pursuit.

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Seymour: An Introduction

A few years ago, before a pair of starring roles in two major Richard Linklater movies provided him with a jolt of career-affirming success, Ethan Hawke was having a crisis of confidence. “I’ve been struggling recently to find why it is that I do what I do,” the actor confesses to a crowd of friends at the beginning of the new film he’s directed. But Hawke isn’t there to talk about his problems—he’s there to shine a light on the reclusive 86-year-old piano teacher who solved them. Seymour Bernstein has been training concert pianists from inside his musty Upper West Side apartment for decades, and though Hawke isn’t training to play a recital at Carnegie Hall, Seymour: An Introduction makes it clear that he’s learned as much from Bernstein as any of the octogenarian’s pupils.  Hawke’s first documentary is a perfect movie for a gray Sunday afternoon, a gentle and loving tribute to a man so anachronistically convinced that talent is its own reward that the film might soon serve as our only proof that people like him ever existed. A living legend without a Wikipedia page, Bernstein values his solitude the way that others might their spouse, and Hawke’s movie is a model of how to portray a man who’s at peace with himself.  Seymour unfolds like a Jewish Jiro Dreams of Sushi—Bernstein may look like your average NYC grandpa, but he lives like a monk and talks like a guru. (Misleading title aside, the film is less of an introduction to Bernstein than a lesson in the value of his tea

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Wild Tales

Comedy seldom travels well from one culture to another, but to judge from the first episode of this engaging if uneven satire highlighting humanity’s baser instincts, it’s clear that Argentine writer-director Damián Szifrón has a knack for latching on to ideas with a humorous dimension that’s pretty universal. The opening sketch, about an almost surreally improbable situation—a plane-load of strangers is assembled by an unseen individual bent on revenge—demonstrates not only Szifrón’s taste in ultrablack humor but his preferred strategy of combining outrageous excess with a perverse but unavoidable logic. Grudges, minor insults and found-out flirtations lead to mayhem and murder on a cataclysmic scale. The funniest of the six stories is a brilliantly extended riot of absurdly brutal road rage. The most politically biting is a study of concealment and corruption among the wealthy, reminiscent of Lucrecia Martel’s The Headless Woman. The great Argentine actor Ricardo Darín appears as an explosives expert plagued by a banal parking-ticket department. The first three episodes are the most amusing, but the final three also have interesting things to say about the psychological and moral health of contemporary Argentina—and, of course, the rest of the world.

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Chappie

After the out-of-nowhere sucker punch of his 2009 debut District 9, Neill Blomkamp’s second film, 2013’s Elysium, felt like the work of a Hollywood-designed, blockbuster-producing robot: slick and anonymous. So it’s a huge relief to discover that, with Chappie, the South African filmmaker has re-engaged his emotion chip and ramped up the weirdness factor for a lovably scattershot cybernetic satire.

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