Justin Chang | WYPR

Justin Chang

Justin Chang is a film critic for the Los Angeles Times and NPR's Fresh Air, and a regular contributor to KPCC's FilmWeek. He previously served as chief film critic and editor of film reviews for Variety.

Chang is the author of FilmCraft: Editing, a book of interviews with seventeen top film editors. He serves as chair of the National Society of Film Critics and secretary of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

The ingeniously high-concept whodunit Searching isn't the first movie to turn the big screen into a computer screen, to make you feel as if you're eavesdropping on online conversations and surfing the Internet alongside its characters. You might have seen the 2014 horror movie Unfriended, where a group chat suddenly turns deadly — basically the Skype version of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

The city of Oakland, Calif., is experiencing something of a renaissance moment in the movies. You could trace it back to 2013, when the Oakland-born director Ryan Coogler made Fruitvale Station, his ripped-from-the-headlines drama about the fatal police shooting of Oscar Grant III.

After seeing Eighth Grade, Bo Burnham's enormously affecting new movie, you might assume that a lot of the dialogue was improvised. Most of it was, in fact, carefully scripted, which makes it all the more remarkable: It's been a while since I've heard a screenplay so fully master the awkward, hesitant rhythms of everyday teen speak. Burnham's young characters talk in long, rambling but more-or-less coherent sentences, each thought punctuated with a perfectly timed "um" or "like" or "you know."

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

First Reformed is a stunner, a spiritually probing work of art with the soul of a thriller, realized with a level of formal control and fierce moral anger that we seldom see in American movies.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

How do you make a movie about stagnation? A movie that doesn't just tell you a story about someone wasting away, but that seems to embody a state of physical and moral decay for nearly two hours?

It may not sound like a glowing recommendation, but Lucrecia Martel has made such a movie with Zama, her feverishly brilliant adaptation of Antonio di Benedetto's 1956 novel of the same title. This is one of the most atmospheric and transporting films I've seen all year, and also one of the best.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Our critics have been making their 10 best lists. Here's film critic Justin Chang with his.

The characters in the films of Samuel Maoz are all trapped in one way or another. His 2009 drama, Lebanon, was a blistering critique of Israel's 1982 invasion of its northern neighbor and an impressively sustained exercise in confinement: It unfolded entirely inside a tank, forcing us to see the devastation of war from the limited vantage of four young troops.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Pages