Hereditary

A | R |
Would you like to watch Toni Collette have a nervous breakdown for two hours? "Hereditary" is many things -- a haunting story about a disintegrating family, a masterfully directed nightmare by first-t...

Hearts Beat Loud

B+ | PG-13 |
With a hint of wistfulness to give it some weight, "Hearts Beat Loud" is a happy, sunshiny movie about saying goodbye, letting go, and collaborating with loved ones to make sick beats. It stars Nick O...

Ocean’s Eight

B | PG-13 |
Remember how Danny Ocean needed 10 friends (and then 11, and then 12) to pull off his heists? In "Ocean's Eight," his sister, Debbie (Sandra Bullock), only needs six collaborators (plus a seventh, eve...

Hotel Artemis

B- | R |
The "John Wick" movies have a hotel, The Continental, that's exclusively for assassins, where a code of conduct (e.g., no "working" on the premises) is strictly enforced. So fascinating is the society...

Adrift

C | PG-13 |
Remember the Robert Redford movie "All Is Lost," where he was stranded at sea? "Adrift," with teen-romance veterans Shailene Woodley ("The Fault in Our Stars") and Sam Claflin ("Me Before You") lost i...

Action Point

C+ | R |
If the absence of Johnny Knoxville's "Jackass" has left a concussion-shaped hole in your life, it may be partially filled by "Action Point," a juvenile comedy with Knoxville as the owner of a rickety ...

Upgrade

B+ | R |
"Upgrade" is an offbeat futuristic techno-thriller in the tradition of B-movies about scientists tampering in God's domain, made with enthusiasm (by "Saw" and "Insidious" creator Leigh Whannell) from ...

American Animals

B | R |
"This is not based on a true story," say the onscreen titles at the beginning of "American Animals." "This is a true story." A bold assertion, but writer-director Bart Layton, whose previous film was ...

Solo: A Star Wars Story

B- | PG-13 |
While I've always liked the original "Star Wars" trilogy, I don't have the depth of knowledge (i.e., memorization) that some do, so there are probably references in the Han Solo prequel, "Solo: A Star...

Deadpool 2

B | R |
What distinguishes Deadpool from most other superheroes is that he swears, kills people, and breaks the fourth wall. That is also, of course, what distinguished the first "Deadpool" film from its doze...

On Chesil Beach

B | R |
Ian McEwan's novel "On Chesil Beach" and the movie based on it (which he also wrote) tell a story set in 1962 England that could only work as a period piece, for it is based on the premise that societ...

Book Club

D+ | PG-13 |
The imaginatively titled "Book Club," about four women in their late 60s whose love lives are rekindled by reading the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy, sounds like an extended advertisement for the boo...

Life of the Party

B+ | PG-13 |
You'll think you've seen "Life of the Party" before, or at least something very much like it: A dowdy, newly divorced mom goes back to college to finish her degree -- and it's the same college her dau...

Revenge

B | R |
••• The rape-revenge sub-genre has many entries, and everything about "Revenge" (including the title) sounds derivative until you get to the credits. How many movies on this topic were written and di...

Breaking In

C+ | PG-13 |
This week's "good enough, I guess, if you're not too picky" home-invasion thriller is "Breaking In," which offers the innovative twist of the bad guys getting inside and holding the kids captive while...

RBG (documentary)

B+ | PG |
Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg started to become a pop-culture icon a few years ago, when the court shifted rightward and she found herself writing more dissents -- scathing ones, often, on...

Bad Samaritan

C+ | R |
There are two premises in "Bad Samaritan," one that drives the plot and one that explains the villain's motives. They are middling premises, better than some you've heard, less creative than others. T...

Overboard

C | PG-13 |
Any remake of the 1987 Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russell "romantic" "comedy" "Overboard" would have to reverse the genders. A single father of three rowdy boys tricking a rich, mean amnesiac woman into believi...

Tully

B+ | R |
Diablo Cody's screenwriting career started with a pregnant teenager named Juno. She returns to the subject of maternity with "Tully," but there's a crucial difference this time: Cody has three kids of...

Let the Sunshine In (French)

B | Not-Rated |
"Let the Sunshine In," the latest film by French auteur Claire Denis ("Beau Travail," "35 Shots of Rum"), is made for two groups of people: fans of Claire Denis's elliptical, even baffling style; and ...

Avengers: Infinity War

B- | PG-13 |
You can go crazy trying to understand the thinking of people who make and sell Hollywood blockbusters, but what they've done with "Avengers: Infinity War" is fascinating. It was filmed concurrently wi...

Super Troopers 2

B- | R |
Experience has taught us not to get our hopes up about long-awaited sequels, especially sequels to films whose charms were obscure or quirky to begin with. (It's hard enough to catch regular lightning...

I Feel Pretty

C | PG-13 |
There are some good ideas and thoughtful insights buried in the very messy "I Feel Pretty," a comedy about female self-image that is unsure of its own identity. Directed by screenwriters Abby Kohn and...

Traffik

C- | R |
You can tell "Traffik" is a serious movie about scary things because it's spelled with a "k." "Traffic," who cares? But "traffik"?? Watch out! Written and directed by Deon Taylor ("Meet the Blacks"), ...

Truth or Dare

C | PG-13 |
It's laudable to convert harmless childhood games into horror premises, but "Truth or Dare" does it with such rote blandness that the movie is actually less suspenseful than a real game of truth or da...

Rampage

C+ | PG-13 |
"Rampage" is one of the better video-game-based movies, a low bar that it clears only by forsaking the entire premise of the game. The mid-80s arcade hit had one objective: with a giant gorilla, giant...

Beirut

B | R |
Few actors are better suited to play a diplomat than Jon Hamm, and the erstwhile Don Draper brings his gregarious A-game to "Beirut," a compelling espionage flick directed by Brad Anderson ("The Machi...

Blockers

B | R |
It is a time-honored tradition that teens in movies make pacts with one another to lose their virginity, but seldom are those teens female girls of the young lady gender! That makes "Blockers" differe...

Chappaquiddick

B- | PG-13 |
Based on the infamous 1969 incident in which a young woman drowned after a probably-drunk Sen. Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge into a pond, "Chappaquiddick" is unusual for a docudrama in that i...

A Quiet Place

B+ | PG-13 |
As a proponent of the "shut up and watch the movie" school of thought, I have a special fondness for films that actively encourage silence. The tense and thrilling "A Quiet Place" does it by putting i...

You Were Never Really Here

B+ | R |
Some movies provide so much vivid detail about a character that you could practically write a biography. Lynne Ramsay's mesmerizing "You Were Never Really Here" (based on Jonathan Ames' novel) is a di...

Movie BS #400: ‘Ready Player One,’ ‘Isle of Dogs,’ ‘7 Days in Entebbe’

Not only is this Ep. 400, it's also the eighth anniversary of Ep. 1! The only effect that my new not-going-to-press-screenings status will have on Movie B.S. is that we moved the show to Mondays inste...

Ready Player One

C | PG-13 |
"Ready Player One" is set in a future where people spend most of their time in a virtual-reality world called OASIS that allows them to play games and have adventures in whatever fictional settings an...

Seeing movies like a civilian again

I'm no longer going to press screenings. I'll tell you the whole story later (of course there's a story) , but first let me explain how this changes things vis-a-vis my reviewing movies: Hardly at ...

Ismael’s Ghosts (French)

B- | R |
There are no literal hauntings in "Ismael's Ghosts," a wry, lyrical, but often plodding drama from director Arnaud Desplechin ("A Christmas Tale"), only metaphorical ones. Freewheeling French filmmake...

Pacific Rim Uprising

C | PG-13 |
You remember, of course, how a breach at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean produced a gateway through which extra-dimensional Godzillas entered our universe and wrecked our cities, and the only way to s...

Sherlock Gnomes

C+ | PG |
You know what happens when you come up with the title first and then try to build a movie around it? You get uninspired nonsense like "Sherlock Gnomes," a sequel to "Gnomeo & Juliet," which I didn...

Unsane

B- | R |
Steven Soderbergh's latest film, the shrewd, exasperating psychological thriller "Unsane," is one of his experimental projects, shot entirely on an iPhone. It looks awful -- harsh, garish, cheap, like...

7 Days in Entebbe

C | PG-13 |
Hijacking an airplane was trendy in the 1970s, and evidently not very hard. The incident recreated in "7 Days in Entebbe," from 1976, was at least the 40th hijacking of the decade, perpetrated by two ...

Love, Simon

B | PG-13 |
"Love, Simon" is the first film about a gay teenager's coming out ever distributed in wide release by a major studio. We've seen mainstream films with queer youth as supporting characters, and numerou...

Tomb Raider

C+ | PG-13 |
Say what you will about the new "Tomb Raider," it shows a tomb being raided less than 20 minutes after it starts. It's actually a false tomb with a secret room hidden under it, and it's not raided so ...

I Can Only Imagine

B- | PG |
First recorded in 1999, MercyMe's "I Can Only Imagine" is the best-selling, most-played contemporary Christian song since the invention of the radio, written by a Texan named Bart Millard who fell int...

A Wrinkle in Time

C | PG |
Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time," first published in 1962, is one of the most beloved young adult novels not to have already been turned into a movie (except for a 2003 TV version that nobody, ...

The Death of Stalin

A- | R |
Armando Iannucci has written and directed two films in his career, and they’re both among the best political comedies ever made. First there was "In the Loop," an extension of his British TV series "T...

Thoroughbreds

B+ | R |
The well-bred teenagers in the audacious dark comedy "Thoroughbreds" are Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke), affluent Connecticut girls who used to be friends, drifted apart a few years ...

The Hurricane Heist

B- | PG-13 |
The dream of the '90s is alive in "The Hurricane Heist," a skillfully made formula flick that in a previous era would have starred someone named Skeet or Keanu as the ordinary joe who helps a federal ...

The Strangers: Prey at Night

C | R |
The home invasion thriller, once a sparsely populated sub-genre, has proliferated in the 21st century, perhaps reflecting our growing fear (note the simultaneous rise of the cyber-thriller) that there...

Mohawk

B- | Not-Rated |
••• The Civil War gets all the attention when it comes to 19th-century American conflicts, but what about the War of 1812? "Mohawk," a contemplative bloodbath by Ted Geoghegan ("We Are Still Here"), ...

Death Wish

C | R |
The way the "Death Wish" remake starts, you think it's going to be exactly what you feared/hoped it would be. We're in Chicago (not New York this time), hearing a flurry of news reports about gun viol...

Red Sparrow

C | R |
Eventually, the cold and pitiless "Red Sparrow" is about a young Russian woman who becomes a spy and gets tangled up with a CIA operative running a counter-mission. It takes a while to get there, thou...

Every Day

B- | PG-13 |
Like a lot of fantasy romance premises, the one in "Every Day" is creepy if you think about it, so don't. This affable adaptation of David Levithan's young adult novel, directed by Michael Sucsy ("The...

Game Night

B+ | R |
The very funny "Game Night" belongs to the comedy sub-genre of People Think They're Pretending But It's Actually Real, a class that includes such fine entries as "Three Amigos," "Galaxy Quest" and "A ...

Annihilation

B+ | R |
What we know at the beginning of "Annihilation" is that a lighthouse was struck by a projectile that fell from the sky (seldom a good omen) and that Natalie Portman, in hospital clothes, is being inte...

Samson

D+ | PG-13 |
"Samson" is a rather enjoyably bad (but still bad) Old Testament adaptation starring beefy Neanderthal Taylor James as the long-haired Israelite strongman who murders numerous Philistines with God's a...

Early Man

B- | PG |
Perhaps you get excited when you hear that Nick Park, creator of the beloved "Wallace & Gromit" movies (plus "Chicken Run"!), has directed and co-written a new claymation film about cavemen, calle...

Black Panther

B | PG-13 |
"Black Panther" is a bold entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not (just) because there are hardly any white people in it but because there's almost nothing connecting it to the other films. Apart ...

Fifty Shades Freed

D | R |
"Fifty Shades Freed" (the title is nonsense) is the story of an entitled snob who marries a snob-in-training who enjoys being treated like garbage, apparently. None of their behavior, separately or to...

The 15:17 to Paris

C | PG-13 |
If you have been exposed to more than a second of advertising for "The 15:17 to Paris," Clint Eastwood's dramatization of the 2015 terrorist attack thwarted by three Americans, you are aware that the ...

Peter Rabbit

B- | PG |
Nobody involved with "Peter Rabbit" seems to have been taking it very seriously, which has pros and cons. On the one hand, it's cheeky and vaguely self-aware, turning the vegetable-thieving rabbit (vo...

Movie BS #393: ‘Hostiles,’ ’12 Strong,’ ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’

We also talk about "The Howling" (1981), which we'd never seen before. 0:00 - Hello, we're back from Sundance but here's a little more about Sundance, plus a Dogcat cameo 4:10 - Not much happening...

Winchester

C+ | PG-13 |
The Winchester Mystery House is a real place in San Jose, Calif., built in 1883 and expanded upon by its owner, Sarah Winchester, who married into the rifle-making family and inherited much of its wea...

My 2018 Sundance Film Festival Diary

MOVIES: "American Animals" "Arizona" "Assassination Nation" "Beast" "Blindspotting" "Clara's Ghost" "An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn" "The Guilty" "The Happy Prince" "Hereditary" "Juliet,...

The Death Cure

B- | PG-13 |
The "Maze Runner" trilogy has turned out to be a pleasant surprise among adaptations of post-apocalyptic book series aimed at young adults (of which there are astonishingly many) (books, I mean, not y...

12 Strong

B- | R |
It's going to take a few more years, but someday the movies about 9/11 and its aftermath will outnumber the movies about World War II (which at least had the decency to END, you know?). "12 Strong," b...

Forever My Girl

C | PG |
"Forever My Girl" is too innocuous to be "bad," but it certainly belongs to the category of mediocre, wholesome, vaguely Christian movies with country soundtracks that they're hoping people will watch...

Den of Thieves

C+ | R |
Christian Gudegast, writer of "A Man Apart" (2003) and "London Has Fallen" (2016), makes his directorial debut with "Den of Thieves," and it's everything he's been building toward as a creator of gene...

Mom and Dad

B- | R |
••• Brian Taylor, who co-directed the "Crank" movies, "Gamer," and "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" with fellow adrenaline junkie Mark Neveldine, strikes out on his own with "Mom and Dad" demonstra...

Proud Mary

C+ | R |
"Proud Mary," about Boston crime families battling each other, is a film at war with itself. One faction really wants it to be a throwback to '70s blaxploitation, with Taraji P. Henson as a gun-slingi...

Paddington 2

B+ | PG |
If you missed "Paddington" three years ago, you missed one of the most thoroughly delightful children's movies in recent memory, about an anthropomorphic Peruvian bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) who come...

The Commuter

B- | PG-13 |
If it's January, Liam Neeson must be punching people (or wolves). In "The Commuter," directed by regular Neeson wrangler Jaume Collet-Serra ("Non-Stop," "Run All Night"), the people who need punching ...

Insidious: The Last Key

B- | PG-13 |
First of all, the number of sequels with "Last" or "Final" in the title that have actually turned out to be the last one is vanishingly small, so don't take "Insidious: The Last Key" at its word. Fran...

2017 Films: Miscellaneous Data

Based on my own research. Additions and corrections welcome (@ me), will update accordingly.   Total wide releases (600+ theaters): 155 Sequels, prequels, remakes, reboots, and franchises:...

Media Inventory: What I Watched and Read in 2017

For the 14th year in a row I kept track of what I watched and read and report it now to you, if you're interested. If you're not interested, you can skip this. I'll never know! MOVIES I watched 339 ...

Patreon 2017: The Reckoning

We've just finished the second full year of my Patreon campaign, wherein patrons pay $1 (or more) per month and I review as many films as I can. With gratitude for everyone who has contributed, I offe...

The Best and Worst Movies of 2017

So. 2017. How about that? This was the year that I started switching to saying "twenty-seventeen" instead of "two thousand seventeen." I expect to be fully converted to the "twenty-" system by the end...

Everything I Wrote in 2017

With the birth of Crooked Marquee, where for some reason I am the editor, this year I scaled back my writing for other sites and concentrated on that one and this one (the one you're reading now, Eric...

Wide releases of 2017: a handy list

Here’s a list of every wide-release film (600+ screens) that opened in the U.S. in 2017 -- 155 of 'em. Movies that opened small and eventually expanded to wide release are included, as are movies (mar...

Molly’s Game

B | R |
After writing several wordy screenplays and a few endearingly verbose TV shows for other people to direct, Aaron Sorkin takes command of the whole operation with "Molly's Game," a fact-based story tha...

All the Money in the World

C+ | R |
Just in time for Christmas comes "All the Money in the World," the story of billionaire oilman J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer, much better suited for the role than Kevin Spacey in old-age makeup w...

Downsizing

B+ | R |
Among the many curious surprises offered by "Downsizing," a social satire about mankind's efforts to reduce the entire population down to an average height of five inches, is that it was made by Alexa...

The Post

B+ | PG-13 |
Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black wrote that the Founding Fathers enshrined freedom of the press in the First Amendment because "the press was to serve the governed, not the governors." That quotation ...

Pitch Perfect 3

C | PG-13 |
To use a musical term the Bellas would understand, "Pitch Perfect 3" is a diminished third. Set three years after "Pitch Perfect 2," it has Beca (Anna Kendrick), Amy (Rebel Wilson), and the rest (the ...

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

B | PG-13 |
The premise of "Jumanji," a holiday hit 22 Christmases ago, was that a board game brought jungle animals into the real world to chase Robin Williams around the house. "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,"...

The Greatest Showman

B- | PG |
By the time I saw "The Greatest Showman," my 13-year-old niece had seen it four times. She's not interested in P.T. Barnum as a historical figure (she and the movie have that in common), but she does ...

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

A- | PG-13 |
There was a comforting sense of deja vu in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," which kicked off a new trilogy by mimicking the plot structure of the original film. Don't worry about falling into a rut, th...

Ferdinand

C | PG |
"Ferdinand" is a colorful animated comedy about bullfighting, from the point of view of the bulls. You must see the problem almost immediately: cartoons are for kids, but bullfighting is a cruel, barb...

I, Tonya

B+ | R |
This is the story of "I, Tonya," not I, Eric, but let me begin with a relevant personal detail. When the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan brouhaha was dominating news coverage in early 1994, I was an LDS ...

The Shape of Water

A- | R |
Like many fairy tales, "The Shape of Water" is a fantastical story about a lonely person who finds fulfillment through interaction with a magical creature. Unlike most fairy tales, "The Shape of Water...

The Disaster Artist

B+ | R |
"The Room" (not to be confused with "Room," about the kidnapped woman and her son) is a thoroughly incompetent melodrama from 2003 that won the pop-culture lottery by becoming a cult favorite. Dozens,...

Call Me by Your Name

A- | R |
"Call Me by Your Name," a gay coming-of-age romance set at an Italian villa in the summertime (the best possible location for such a story), isn't sexual so much as hormonal. It's not about doin' it; ...

The Man Who Invented Christmas

B | PG |
"Invented" is a rather melodramatic overstatement, but "The Man Who Invented Christmas" is an affable and gentle holiday biopic, perfect for a matinee with visiting relatives who need something to shu...

Coco

B+ | PG |
There are plenty of cartoons about holidays like Christmas and Halloween, but the genius-nerds at Pixar saw an unfilled need and came up with "Coco," the first major animated film about Día de Muertos...

Darkest Hour

B+ | PG-13 |
"Darkest Hour" is about a controversial leader's steadfast refusal to engage in peace talks in favor of going to war. Not the sort of message you'd expect people to support these days -- but I should ...

Justice League

C+ | PG-13 |
Superman is dead. He was killed by a monster (not Batman) at the end of "Batman v Superman" and is still dead when "Justice League" picks up the story some time later. The titular coalition of superhe...

The Star

B- | PG |
You thought you knew the story of the first Christmas -- BUT YOU WERE WRONG! As explained by "The Star," a timidly respectful animated story aimed at Christian families, an adventure-seeking donkey ac...

Wonder

B | PG |
"What's the deal with your face?" That's what the jerky fifth-grader, Julian (Bryce Gheisar), asks the new boy with the birth defect, Auggie (Jacob Tremblay), at the beginning of "Wonder," an unabashe...

Thelma (Norwegian)

B | Not-Rated |
"Thelma," a reserved but piercing supernatural coming-of-age drama from director Joachim Trier ("Oslo, August 31st"), begins with a young girl hunting a deer with her father in the snow. Her eyes fixe...

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

A- | R |
Martin McDonagh, who was born and raised in London but has Irish parents and dual citizenship, examined the squalid, petty lives of his countrymen in several caustically funny stage plays before turni...

Murder on the Orient Express

C+ | PG-13 |
In 1934, when Agatha Christie published "Murder on the Orient Express," trains were still a popular means of transportation, and Asia was still called "the Orient." Much has changed in the last 83 yea...

Lady Bird

A- | R |
Greta Gerwig, the pixie-like pillar of indie film and an indomitable screen presence, recently starred in and co-wrote "Frances Ha" and "Mistress America" with her boyfriend, Noah Baumbach, who direct...