The Pulitzer Prize-winning critic of The Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern reviews films weekly in the paper and on KCRW.
When the Feds are the enemy
"The United States vs. Billie Holiday" chronicles the U.S. government's war on Billie Holiday in the late 1940s, when the Bureau of Narcotics saw in the peerless, heroin-addicted singer a chance to racialize its so-called war on drugs.
On the road again--and again
In Chloé Zhao's gorgeous "Nomadland," a woman in her 60s, played with gusto and intimations of grief by Frances McDormand, joins a transient population of older and just plain old Americans driving their vans and RV's around the American West in...
Chillingly relevant American history from half a century ago
In Shaka King's remarkable "Judas and the Black Messiah," Fred Hampton and the Chicago Black Panthers struggle against racism in the late 1960's, unaware that the FBI has planted an informant in their midst.
Previewing the Pandemic
"Little Fish" finished shooting many months before Covid-19 hit, but it gets some things right and other things very right, even though the virus in the movie attacks your memory instead of taking your life.
A deep dig into the distant past
Sutton Hoo, in the English countryside in Suffolk, was the site of one of the most spectacular archaeological finds of the 20th century. Now that discovery has been dramatized--affectingly, and quite accurately--in a Netflix film called "The Dig."
The beguiling charms of "Our Friend"
Flawlessly acted by Dakota Johnson, Casey Affleck and Jason Segel, and beautifully directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, this movie about friendship and cancer--in that order--is funny and affecting in equal measure.