A. A. Dowd, The AV Club

A. A. Dowd

The AV Club

Chicago, IL, United States

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Recent articles by A.:

Soul is a sweet mash-up of earlier, deeper Pixar adventures

Pixar's latest, Soul, is an appealing hodgepodge of past triumphs—a little of Coco’s afterlife adventure, lassoed to the high concept of director Pete Docter’s previous film for the studio, Inside Out. → Read More

Kicking off award season with Mank, Hillbilly Elegy, and... Freaky?!

It seems that the Academy Awards are still happening next year, just a little later than usual. What that means is that an abnormally long awards season is upon us! On this week’s episode of Film Club, critics A.A. Dowd and Katie Rife discuss two high-profile Netflix releases vying for a spot in the race: David Fincher’s Mank and Ron Howard’s Hillbilly Elegy. But because it’s not all awards… → Read More

The New Mutants brings Fox’s X-Men franchise to an underwhelming end

Arriving now on home-viewing platforms after its (very belated) theatrical release, Josh Boone's superhero spinoff The New Mutants marks an underwhelming end to a series that basically kicked off the whole modern era of superhero cinema. → Read More

The Climb is the prickly, ambitious, gut-busting American comedy of the year

The ambitious farce The Climb has a comic sensibility all its own. → Read More

What's the better werewolf movie, The Howling or An American Werewolf in London?

Werewolves had a moment in 1981. Excluding Wolfen, whose killer canines technically don’t fit the species description, Hollywood produced not one but two odes to the lycanthrope that year: John Landis’ Oscar-winning An American Werewolf In London and Joe Dante’s franchise-launching The Howling. But which of these shaggy horror comedies was best in show? We polled Twitter earlier this week. Now,… → Read More

If Steven Spielberg directed The Babadook, it would play a lot like Come Play

Gillian Jacobs and John Gallagher Jr. star in the thriller Come Play, which is Spielbergian in giddy craftsmanship and in the sentimentality of its broken-home family drama—like one of the first and finest of Steven Spielberg mentorships, Poltergeist. → Read More

The Nightmare On Elm Street remake is better than the angry mob insisted

The 2010 Nightmare On Elm Street builds on the subtext of Wes Craven’s original in interesting ways, while productively deviating in others. It’s a fascinating misfire, not the soullessly derivative copy job so many have decried, torch and pitchfork in hand. → Read More

The best horror movies of 2020

On this week’s episode of Film Club, our critics run down their five favorite horror movies of the year, most of which will be available to watch from home by the 31st. → Read More

Robert Zemeckis zaps all the wicked black magic out of Roald Dahl’s The Witches

Attaching Roald Dahl’s name to the title of HBO Max's adaptation is misleading. This is The Witches by way of Gump. → Read More

The Commuter proved how good Liam Neeson is at playing screwups rising to the occasion

One fun aspect of the Liam Neeson grizzled-badass canon is that his characters are often flawed and occasionally incompetent—they fuck up in the way an actual retired cop might when thrown into life-and-death circumstances. → Read More

Don’t expect many scares from the first four movies in Amazon’s Welcome To The Blumhouse series

It’s a bit of a bait and switch, really: Black Box, The Lie, Evil Eye, and Nocturne are four thrillers of variable quality, low in budget but also on the scares vaguely promised by Amazon’s haunted-house marketing. → Read More

The New York Film Festival makes its French exit with a labored comedy and more Steve McQueen

We close our coverage of 2020's virtual New York Film Festival with thoughts on the comedy French Exit (starring Michelle Pfeiffer) and two more episodes of Steve McQueen's Small Axe miniseries. → Read More

A family copes with a long prison sentence on both sides of the bars in the lyrical Time

True to its title, Garrett Bradley’s documentary Time is very much about how we process the passing days, weeks, and years—a topic it tackles via an achronological structure that seems to collapse the past into the present. → Read More

What horror classic have you never seen?

Everybody has classic movies they’ve somehow never seen. On this week’s episode of Film Club, we’re addressing two of them in a new feature called The Blindspot Challenge, wherein our critics, A.A. Dowd and Katie Rife, confess and then fill in the biggest gaps in their moviegoing history. And because it’s October, both films are of the horror variety: Katie finally catches up with Richard… → Read More

Three major directors work in the shadow of their past triumphs at the New York Film Festival

We take a look at Days, The Woman Who Ran, and Undine from the New York Film Festival. → Read More

On the popularity and backlash to elevated horror

On the first of four Halloween episodes, Film Club discusses what qualifies as "elevated horror," while also getting into both the popularity and the backlash to the label and movement. → Read More

The Blair Witch game is as fun as getting lost in the woods

Like all Blair Witch sequels, this new game fundamentally misunderstands the power of that seminal found-footage experiment. → Read More

Brandon Cronenberg does his name proud with the nightmarish mind and body horror of Possessor

Brandon Cronenberg's second feature Possessor is a mindfuck without a safe word: a slick, nasty bit of science-fiction pulp that’s as interested in shredding nerves as buzzing the brain they’re attached to. → Read More

Bill Murray, Adam Sandler, and a whole lot of horror movies are coming this October

Here's what’s coming to a living room—and, yes, some theaters—near you this October. → Read More

It’s suspense as well as dark comedy that Blue Ruin borrows from the Coen brothers

Jeremy Saulnier, a cold-blooded purveyor of color-coded thrillers, has cited both Blood Simple and No Country For Old Men as influences on his taut second feature, the eccentric revenge thriller Blue Ruin. → Read More