Movie Review: "Ouija: Origin of Evil" B+ October 25, 2016
I "missed" (if that is the right word) the 2014 film "Ouija," based on the pretend-satanic board game beloved by imaginative adolescents since time immemorial. It got almost nothing but bad reviews, and I'll take my colleagues at their collective word. So the prequel, "Ouija: Origin of Evil" -- from "Oculus" and "Hush" director Mike Flanagan and co-writer Jeff Howard -- is a pleasant, creepy surprise, a stylish funhouse that, like Flanagan's other films, finds new life in old scenarios.
Movie Review: "American Honey" B+ October 24, 2016
"American Honey" won't make you feel very hopeful about The Kids These Days, but it may fill you with compassion for a generation of unwanted young Americans left to fend for themselves in a cratered economy and a collapsed middle class.
Eric's Blog October 21, 2016
A few good options out there (and on VOD), along with many mediocre ones.
Movie Review: "In a Valley of Violence" B- October 21, 2016
[In theaters and Video on Demand.] ••• "I promised my dog I wasn't going to kill anybody on this trip." That's a great thing for a gunman in a Western to growl at somebody who's trying his patience, and Ethan Hawke growls it with aplomb in Ti West's "In a Valley of Violence." You won't be disappointed to learn that he's soon forced to break that pledge; you might, however, feel let down when you realize how basic the film's plot is, and what a missed opportunity it is for a filmmaker with proven talent.
Movie Review: "The Handmaiden (Korean/Japanese)" B+ October 21, 2016
One of South Korea's chief cinematic exports is vengeance, and one of its top manufacturers is Park Chan-wook ("Oldboy," "Stoker"), whose 10th film, "The Handmaiden," is a deliciously black-humored erotic thriller about thieves using a long con to bilk an heiress out of her fortune.
Movie Review: "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" C October 20, 2016
When "Jack Reacher" came out, in 2012, its box-office performance was only so-so, leading fans to worry that the snappy, raucous action flick wouldn't get a sequel. What a happy day when those fears proved false! And what a sad day when the follow-up, "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back," turns out to be a bland disappointment that bleaches nearly every colorful thing about the character. Instead of Jack Reacher, he's any garden-variety prime-time TV detective, goin' around, solvin' crimes, and this is a run-of-the-mill episode. The credits even use the "Law & Order" font.
Movie Review: "Keeping Up with the Joneses" C+ October 20, 2016
In "Keeping Up with the Joneses," a mild, superfluous action comedy, Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher play Jeff and Karen Gaffney, parochial suburbanites who are enchanted by their exciting new cul-de-sac neighbors, Tim and Natalie Jones (Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot), sophisticated jet-setters who might be spies.
Movie Review: "The Greasy Strangler" B October 20, 2016
The makers of "The Greasy Strangler" won't be offended when I say that it's not a film so much as an endurance test, an intentionally off-putting anti-comedy meant to try the patience even of people who like this sort of thing. It's about Big Ronnie (Michael St. Michaels), a vulgar old man, and his oily loser son, Brayden (Sky Elobar), who finally gets a girlfriend (Elizabeth De Razzo) but has to compete with his dad for her affections. At night, Big Ronnie slathers himself up in Crisco and murders people.
Movie Review: "Kevin Hart: What Now?" B- October 19, 2016
"Kevin Hart: What Now?" is the comedian's fifth stand-up film since 2009 (the third to be released theatrically), comprising a total of around 6 1/2 hours of stage time. That's an extraordinary amount of new material for one comedian (there's no overlap), especially considering he's been in 21 other movies during that time, too.
Movie Review: "Max Steel" C October 15, 2016
This may come as a shock, but "Max Steel," a film based on a line of toys and dumped into 2,000 theaters without promotion by a small distributor, isn't very good. A retread of every superhero origin story with a dash of "Transformers" thrown in, this is the pitiful tale of one Max McGrath (Ben Winchell), a high school student who discovers he has poorly defined supernatural abilities -- his hands produce "liquid energy," which basically means electrical interference -- possibly as the result of the work that his scientist father (Mike Doyle) did before dying in a lab accident. When these powers start to emerge, Max is contacted by Steel (voice of Josh Brener), a wise-cracking alien that looks like a drone and is tasked with helping Max use his abilities to save the Earth from whatever.
The last 60 days:
- The Accountant B
- American Honey B+
- The Birth of a Nation B
- Blair Witch B-
- Bridget Jones's Baby B-
- Christine B+
- Deepwater Horizon C+
- The Girl on the Train C+
- The Greasy Strangler B
- The Handmaiden (Korean/Japanese) B+
- In a Valley of Violence B-
- Jack Reacher: Never Go Back C
- Keeping Up with the Joneses C+
- Kevin Hart: What Now? B-
- The Magnificent Seven B+
- Max Steel C
- Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life B-
- Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children B
- Morgan C+
- My Blind Brother B
- Other People B-
- Ouija: Origin of Evil B+
- Queen of Katwe C+
- Snowden C
- Sully C+
- Yoga Hosers F