Movie BS #380: ‘The Florida Project,’ ‘The Snowman,’ ‘Breathe’

This was a fun show with many delights. 0:00 - Hello, a story of a sick child (Jeff's) 6:30 - iTunes review 8:20 - There are five wide releases, of which FOUR did not screen for critics here 12:...

The Foreigner

B | R |
Jackie Chan plays the person that the title "The Foreigner" refers to, though nobody ever calls him that. They tend to call him "Chinaman," as in, "That bloody Chinaman!" Halfway through I thought: I ...

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

B+ | R |
"Wonder Woman's" fresh take on the superhero-origins movie was a welcome addition to a stagnant genre. Now here's "Professor Marston and the Wonder Women," the story of how the character was created -...

Welcome to October! Here’s what’s up

Hey, Internet friends! Happy autumn! Just wanted to check in with a status report on EDS operations. I was recently at Fantastic Fest in Austin. Here are 10 movie reviews it spawned, and here's an ...

Blade Runner 2049

C+ | R |
Having missed it as a child and then being unsure which version I was supposed to watch, I never saw Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" until the "final cut" was released in 2007. And I saw that one twice,...

Better Watch Out

B- | R |
••• It suffers a bit in the execution, but conceptually, "Better Watch Out" (originally titled "Safe Neighborhood") is the best twist on the "home invasion" thriller that the sub-genre has seen in a ...

Reviews from Fantastic Fest 2017

We’ll talk about the behind-the-scenes turmoil at Fantastic Fest in another wordpile. In the meantime, here are reviews of some of the notable films that played there. They don’t have U.S. release dat...

The LEGO Ninjago Movie

C | PG |
Whoever had "three" in the "How many LEGO movies will it take before the brand feels stale and uninspired?" pool, step up and claim your prize! (Your prize is that you do not have to watch any more of...

Stronger

A- | R |
"Stronger" isn't the first film about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, but it is the first to earn its emotions legitimately, and the first that's not an insult to the victims. Directed by the divers...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

C | R |
"That movie seemed very pleased with itself." That was a non-critic friend's assessment of "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" immediately after the screening, and it's such an apt description that I have s...

mother!

A- | R |
It's immediately clear that "mother!" is not to be taken literally, as it starts with a reverse time-lapse of a rotting corpse in a bed forming back into a sleeping Jennifer Lawrence. That sort of thi...

The Hole Problem

We need to talk about the donut situation. I know there are greater problems facing us right now, but also, from another perspective, no there aren't. For years, the standard was that donut shops w...

Home Again

C+ | PG-13 |
Hallie Meyers-Shyer is the daughter of Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer, whose marital collaborations also included the films "Irreconcilable Differences," "Baby Boom," "Father of the Bride," and "I Lov...

It

B- | R |
"It" is very long for a horror movie (135 minutes), yet covers only half of the Stephen King novel it's based on, yet is full of half-mentioned details that seem to have been crammed in hurriedly. I g...

Movie BS #373: ‘Patti Cake$,’ ‘I Do… Until I Don’t,’ ‘Birth of the Dragon’

It's a slow week for new movies, but we also talked about "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946), which we hadn't seen before. 0:00 - Hello, an iTunes review, the virtues of New Orleans, the paradox ...

Birth of the Dragon

C- | PG-13 |
In 1964, the not-yet-legendary Bruce Lee had a fight with Wong Jack Man, a Shaolin master who'd recently arrived in the Bay Area from China. The details of the match, including who won it, remain cont...

Movie BS #371: ‘Logan Lucky,’ ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard,’ ‘Brigsby Bear’

The 2017 Summer Box Office Challenge officially concludes with this episode. I won, and now Jeff has to be punished. 0:00 - Hello, community service, an iTunes review 3:35 - "Logan Lucky" review ...

Logan Lucky

B+ | PG-13 |
Steven Soderbergh tried to retire a few years ago, but it didn't take. Perhaps he can relate to Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum), the lovable West Virginian ne'er-do-well at the center of "Logan Lucky" wh...

Crown Heights

B | R |
We've seen a lot of films like "Crown Heights" lately -- true stories about black people getting screwed over by police and the justice system. The surge is a testament to the increased awareness of t...

Patti Cake$

B- | R |
The title character in "Patti Cake$," one Patricia Dombrowski (Danielle Macdonald), is a portly white New Jersey girl who aspires to be a rapper. She's quite good at it, spitting rhymes as intricate a...

The Hitman’s Bodyguard

C+ | R |
The poster for "The Hitman's Bodyguard" parodies the Whitney Houston/Kevin Costner "The Bodyguard," with Ryan Reynolds lovingly carrying Samuel L. Jackson to safety. It's a terrific spoof, and it hint...

Good Time

B | R |
The first character we meet in "Good Time" is Nick Nikas (co-director Benny Safdie), a unibrowed schlub with unspecified mental challenges that render him simple and compliant. Nick is with a kindly t...

Ingrid Goes West

B+ | R |
In "Ingrid Goes West," a cautionary comedy about social-media fame, Aubrey Plaza ("Parks and Recreation") plays an unstable woman fresh out of the mental ward who heads to California to stalk and befr...

Annabelle: Creation

C+ | R |
"Annabelle: Creation" is a prequel to "Annabelle," which was a spinoff of "The Conjuring," which was about the work of a pair of real-life paranormal investigators who really did once have a case invo...

Wind River

B+ | R |
A handful of innocent sheep are stalked by a coyote at the beginning of "Wind River," an intense, somber mystery-thriller set on the Wyoming Indian reservation of that name. But the coyote is soon dis...

The Dark Tower

C | PG-13 |
"The Dark Tower" is a bland, benign mediocrity that's probably significantly worse if you've read the Stephen King novels it's based on. As a non-reader (of those; I've read other books), I don't know...

Step (documentary)

B+ | PG |
"Step" is ostensibly a documentary about an inner-city high school's step-dancing team, but this crowdpleaser is more focused on the students' academic pursuits and struggle to break the poverty cycle...

Detroit

C+ | R |
"Detroit" is about one of the more unpleasant things to have happened in a city where so many unpleasant things have happened that you can elicit a feeling of despair just by naming your movie after i...

Movie BS #368: ‘Atomic Blonde,’ ‘Girls Trip,’ ‘The Lost City of Z’

Besides the reviews, the Summer Box Office Challenge is heating up in the final innings... 0:00 - Hello, here's an iTunes review, the clown costume is discussed 3:25 - "Atomic Blonde" review 16:5...

The Emoji Movie

F | PG |
Hating "The Emoji Movie" is easy, not to mention fun, necessary, and appropriate. It's like Trump. Though it represents humanity's worst tendencies (laziness, vulgarity, cynicism) and we groan under t...

Atomic Blonde

B+ | R |
To the extent that there are James Bonds in the real world -- dashing, highly skilled secret agents who can kill enemies with a rolled-up newspaper -- surely by now there are also Jane Bonds. Yet Holl...

Girls Trip

B- | R |
The raunchy, heartfelt "Girls Trip" takes the "Hangover"/"Bridesmaids" formula -- four college friends, now in their early 40s, reunite in New Orleans to get their individual and collective grooves ba...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

B- | PG-13 |
It was while making "The Fifth Element" that vibrant French madman Luc Besson realized his real calling was to adapt the futuristic "Valerian and Laureline" comic book he'd read as a child, but it too...

Dunkirk

B+ | PG-13 |
With "Dunkirk," writer-director Christopher Nolan, most famous for his Batman trilogy but even better at mind-benders like "Memento" and "Inception," applies his cerebral skillset to another familiar ...

Wish Upon

C | PG-13 |
"Wish Upon" is a dumb, silly teen-horror flick about an entitled brat who enters into a monkey's paw situation with a wish-granting music box, leading to consequences that only a sensible person who g...

Movie BS #366: ‘War for the Planet of the Apes,’ ‘Wish Upon,’ ‘Maudie’

We do this show every week, though I don't always post a link to it here. This week, we disagreed rather vociferously about a movie, which doesn't happen often. Enjoy! 0:00 - Hello, it's a nice sum...

War for the Planet of the Apes

B+ | PG-13 |
There isn't much battle action in "War for the Planet of the Apes," but it still feels like a war movie -- a World War II movie, specifically, set largely in a wintry prison camp, with some captives c...

A Ghost Story

B+ | R |
"A Ghost Story" is indeed a story about a ghost, but that's where the similarities between it and, say, "Poltergeist" stop. Written and directed by the contemplative David Lowery ("Ain't Them Bodies S...

Spider-Man: Homecoming

B+ | PG-13 |
Some superhero movies have subtitles referring to the dramatic events or villains featured therein: "Apocalypse," "The Age of Ultron," "Civil War," "The Last Stand." Then there's "Spider-Man: Homecomi...

The House

C+ | R |
When I tell you that a film with Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler isn't very good, keep in mind that I find them both very, very funny and am predisposed to liking pretty much anything they do. So if I'm ...

Despicable Me 3

C | PG |
With "Despicable Me 3," I finally put my finger on what it is about these movies that keeps them from working. The premise, as you and your children know, is that a super-villain named Gru (voiced by ...

Baby Driver

B+ | R |
Admittedly, "Baby Driver" employs a gimmick. Written and directed by the impossibly clever Edgar Wright ("Hot Fuzz," "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"), the film's main character is a getaway driver who t...

The Big Sick

B+ | R |
There's a lot happening in "The Big Sick," an autobiographical romantic comedy by Kumail Nanjiani ("Silicon Valley") and Emily V. Gordon about the early days of their relationship. It's a rom-com, com...

The Beguiled

B | R |
Sofia Coppola's "The Beguiled" is a remake of one of the two films directed by Don Siegel and starring Clint Eastwood that were released in 1971 -- the other was "Dirty Harry" -- but Coppola makes it ...

Transformers: The Last Knight

D | PG-13 |
Much of what you hear about "Transformers: The Last Knight" makes it sound more watchable than it is. Stanley Tucci hamming it up as Merlin the wizard? Marky Mark employing a small robot pterodactyl t...

Movie BS #362: ‘Cars 3,’ ‘Rough Night,’ ’47 Meters Down,’ ‘The Book of Henry’

Man, it was a bad week for new movies. Good week for the podcast, though! 0:00 - Hello, some teasers 2:00 - "Cars 3" review 14:35 - "Rough Night" review 27:10 - "47 Meters Down" review (Bayer on...

Maudie

B | PG-13 |
Folk-art buffs and extremely patriotic Canadians may already know the story of Maud Lewis, an arthritic Nova Scotian who sold her simple but charming paintings out of the tiny house she shared with he...

Rough Night

D | R |
"Rough Night" comes from two of the writers and directors of Comedy Central's very funny "Broad City," Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs, and features one of its stars, Ilana Glazer. The dark, zealously...

The Book of Henry

D | PG-13 |
"The Book of Henry" is such a mushy, misguided disaster that even its irrelevant subplots are inexplicable. The baffling wrong-headedness permeates every scene in such a way that you'd swear it was do...

Cars 3

C- | G |
Pixar's first bad movie, "Cars 2," erred in making Mater the tow truck the main character and in emphasizing a tired espionage caper over jokes. Pixar's second bad movie, "Cars 3," fixes those mistake...

Movie BS #361: ‘The Mummy,’ ‘It Comes at Night,’ ‘I, Daniel Blake,’ ‘My Cousin Rachel’

Please join me and my friend Jeff Bayer for 40 minutes of scintillating conversation about movies, interspersed with dumb conversation about movies. 0:00 - Hello, moms and technology, our T-shirts ...

The Mummy

C- | PG-13 |
The primary objective of "The Mummy," Universal's latest reboot of its 85-year-old horror property, is to establish an Avengers-style "shared universe" with the other monsters the studio owns. The sec...

It Comes at Night

B+ | R |
"It Comes at Night" opens on the lesioned face of a dying old man surrounded by tearful loved ones wearing gloves and gas masks. He has a fatal and highly contagious disease that has decimated the pop...

My Cousin Rachel

B | PG-13 |
"My Cousin Rachel" stars Rachel Weisz in the part she was born to play: a person named Rachel! Based on Daphne du Maurier's 1951 novel, it's a gothic romantic mystery set on an English estate around t...

Band Aid

B+ | Not-Rated |
"What if we turned all our fights into songs?" That's the idea hatched by a creatively and maritally frustrated L.A. couple in "Band Aid," a very funny -- and then deeply emotional -- comedy written a...

Wonder Woman

B+ | PG-13 |
You don't want to read too much into these things, but after DC Comics' bleak creative stumbles in establishing a shared movie world -- the so-so "Man of Steel," the bad "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Ju...

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

C- | PG-13 |
"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" is the fifth chapter in the apparently immortal franchise, and like most of us, it pretends part four ("On Stranger Tides") never happened. But that ...

Baywatch

D | R |
The movie version of "Baywatch" is similar to the ubiquitous '90s TV show it's based on, in that both are not very funny. The problem, of course, is that the TV show wasn't supposed to be. The movie, ...

Movie BS with Bayer & Snider: ‘Alien: Covenant,’ ‘Everything, Everything,’ ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Lon...

Kind of a dismal week for new movies. We have fun with 'em, though, and also time-travel back to this weekend in 1992. 0:00 - Hello, some remembrances of Cannes five years ago 4:20 - "Alien: Coven...

Alien: Covenant

C | R |
To watch the "Alien" prequels -- "Prometheus" (2012) and now "Alien: Covenant" -- is to marvel at the changes in astronaut-hiring practices that must have been implemented between the earlier chapters...

Everything, Everything

C+ | PG-13 |
If you don't know anything, anything about "Everything, Everything," it's based on a novel for young adults by Nicola Yoon. As a female-written YA novel, it must involve either a post-apocalyptic dyst...

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

D+ | PG |
Having seen two of the four "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" movies and disliked them both to a great degree, I have diagnosed their problem: they are live-action movies about human beings in the real world whe...

Episode 357: ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,’ ‘Snatched,’ ‘The Lovers’

We're in the critical minority this week -- we both liked "King Arthur" and "Snatched." What's wrong with us? Listen and find out! 0:00 - Hello, here's an iTunes review 3:40 - "King Arthur: Legend...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

B | PG-13 |
English dude-bro Guy Ritchie, having made his mark on the Sherlock Holmes mythos, turns his attention now to a famous Brit who probably actually existed. "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword," which Ritc...

Snatched

B | R |
Why aren't there more zany comedies about blond women being kidnapped by human traffickers while vacationing in South America? Seems like a goldmine. Anyway, "Snatched" is here to remedy that lack, to...

The Lovers

B+ | R |
Don't let the comparison oversell it, but "The Lovers" is like a Shakespearean comedy soaked in mid-career Woody Allen: urbane, well-acted, and slightly problematic. A sunny farce, albeit one with thr...

Episode 356: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,’ ‘Buster’s Mal Heart,’ Summer Box Office Challenge draft

Welcome to summer blockbuster season! We're back this week with "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," "Buster's Mal Heart," and the always-popular Summer Box Office Challenge draft, plus a recap of The Ov...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

B- | PG-13 |
In this week's episode of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, entitled "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," the ragtag group of space-rogues led by self-described "Star-Lord" Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) meets a...

What You Missed at the Overlook Film Festival

A certain breed of movie fan knows immediately why something called The Overlook Film Festival would be held at a place called the Timberline Lodge. The Timberline Lodge? In Oregon? Why, that’s the pl...

Slow movie week(s)

I'm writing this update from the Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, about 60 miles from Portland. The exterior of the hotel was featured in Stanley Kubrick's movie version of "The Shining," making it a fin...

Unforgettable

C- | R |
Giving a formulaic thriller a title like "Unforgettable" is an act of wishful thinking, but as middlebrow trash goes, this latest entry in the "psycho ex from hell" sub-genre isn't bad. Or maybe it's ...

Movie BS with Bayer and Snider #355: ‘The Promise,’ ‘Free Fire,’ Pitch Me

It's a light week, or at least it is when the studios don't show critics the movies they're opening. But we reviewed two of them and brought out an old game, too! For fun! 0:00 - Hello, there are a...

The Promise

B- | PG-13 |
Stipulated: The Armenian genocide, in which some 1.5 million Armenians were murdered by the Ottoman government (we call it Turkey now) between 1915 and 1922, is underrepresented in history books and i...

Movie BS with Bayer and Snider #354: ‘The Fate of the Furious,’ ‘Gifted,’ ‘The Void’

0:00 - Hello; the ethics of laser pointers; the abandonment of Bayer 3:50 - "The Fate of the Furious" review 19:25 - "Gifted" review (Snider only) 25:10 - "The Void" review (Snider only) 27:20 - M...

The Fate of the Furious

C | PG-13 |
The most prominent theme in the "Fast and the Furious" movies isn't family (they didn't come up with that until a few sequels in) but conciliation. Enemies who aren't killed often become friends in th...

Going in Style

D+ | PG-13 |
What kind of lazy, lowest-common-denominator movie is "Going in Style"? The kind where the one F-word in the script is delivered gratuitously by an old lady who has no other lines, and it's supposed t...

Smurfs: The Lost Village

C- | PG |
The lesson learned at the end of "Smurfs: The Lost Village" is that Smurfette can be anything she wants to be -- a great message for girls! -- while the boy Smurfs will continue to be defined strictly...

Movie BS with Bayer and Snider #353: ‘Going in Style,’ ‘Colossal,’ ‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’

Rarely does one have the opportunity to hear men in their early 40s discuss the Smurfs. 0:00 – Hello, an iTunes review, discussion of beer ingredients, it’s a bad week for movies 5:20 – “Going in ...

Gifted

B- | PG-13 |
"Gifted" is a simple, pleasant drama that engages the emotions without manhandling them. It depicts a child-custody battle yet avoids cheap melodrama and doesn't paint anyone as a villain. It has the ...

The Boss Baby

B | PG |
"The Boss Baby," starring Alec Baldwin as the voice of a suit-wearing infant sent to an unsuspecting family to fulfill a secret mission on behalf of BabyCorp -- that's the heaven-based company in char...

Friday movie roundup – March 31

Happy spring! Here are the reviews I've posted in the last few weeks, in case you missed any precious drops of wisdom. "Beauty and the Beast" (PG) C "The Belko Experiment" (R) D "The Boss Baby" ...

The Zookeeper’s Wife

C | PG-13 |
One silver lining to the current political situation is that at least in a few years we'll have some new stories to tell about fighting Nazis. Without diminishing the importance of remembering the Hol...

Movie BS with Bayer and Snider #352: ‘Ghost in the Shell,’ ‘The Boss Baby,’ ‘Raw,’ ‘The Zookeeper&...

We have this week's movies, plus a little catch-up on last week's. And don't miss "Raw," which is great and has been bothering us for several months. 0:00 - Hello, Jeff has a new beverage, an iTune...

Ghost in the Shell

C+ | PG-13 |
Futuristic cyber-thriller "Ghost in the Shell" is loaded with advanced technology, but it's in the service of a disappointingly basic plot with few surprises. Add to that the bafflingly tone-deaf trea...

Life

B | R |
Scientists talk of distant planets that could almost, but not quite, sustain life, lacking some small but essential condition. "Life" (the movie, not the cereal) is a bit like that, an effective sci-f...

Power Rangers

C | PG-13 |
"Power Rangers" is the "Batman Begins" of its franchise, the gritty reboot that tells our heroes' improbably lengthy and self-serious origin story and introduces them to a whole new generation (by whi...

CHIPS

B- | R |
There's a really funny R-rated buddy-cop movie starring Michael Peña as a reckless law-enforcement officer. It's called "War on Everyone," and it co-stars Alexander Skarsgard. You should see it! Th...

Movie BS with Bayer and Snider #351: ‘T2 Trainspotting,’ ‘Life,’ ‘The Last Word’

"Life" (which is a pretty solid alien thriller) screened at the last minute and I haven't written my review yet, so the podcast is your only option for the time being. The rest of the show is also val...

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

C | PG |
The only way Disney's live-action remake of its own "Beauty and the Beast" works is if you don't compare it to the 1991 animated masterpiece. This is hard to do, though, because 1) you have seen the 1...

Movie BS with Bayer and Snider #350: ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘The Sense of an Ending,’ ‘Personal Shopper’...

We disagree on "Beauty and the Beast," which is always good for a laugh. We also talk about new goals and rewards for our Agents (formerly known as patrons) and give away a Blu-ray of "Fences." 0:0...

The Belko Experiment

D | R |
As a movie, "The Belko Experiment" prompts the same questions that the experiment it depicts would. What was the purpose here? What were you trying to prove? Do you maybe just enjoy torturing and kill...

T2 Trainspotting

B | R |
"Trainspotting," a cult favorite since the moment it arrived 21 years ago, was Danny Boyle's second movie and most of the world's first exposure to Ewan McGregor. Boyle has directed nine more films si...

Movie BS with Bayer and Snider #349: ‘Kong: Skull Island’

"Kong: Skull Island" is our only new film this week, so the show's shorter than usual. It's the normal width, though.  0:00 - Hello; Jeff keeps showing movies to his kid; Eric had to steer a 10-yea...

The Sense of an Ending

C+ | PG-13 |
It's nice to see Jim Broadbent in a starring role -- he's been a supporting actor in all but a few of the 90 films he's made -- and his warm presence is a boon to the wispy, high-minded "The Sense of ...

Raw (French)

B+ | R |
It’s fitting that “Raw” begins with a car crash since it, too, is sometimes sickening to watch but impossible to look away from, and you'll be telling people about it long after you saw it. The fea...

Kong: Skull Island

B | PG-13 |
"Kong: Skull Island" is about people barging into a place they've never been before, dropping bombs to see how solid the land is, then acting indignant when the local wildlife responds defensively. It...

Friday movie roundup – March 3

Greetings, friends (and others). Here are the reviews that I've secreted from my review orifice over the last few weeks, in descending order of quality: "Get Out" (R) B+ "The Girl with All the Gif...

Table 19

B | PG-13 |
In "Table 19," the title piece of furniture is at the back of a wedding reception, past the tables reserved for guests who matter. The outcasts back here are the people who were invited out of obligat...

The Last Word

D+ | R |
Newspapers, radio stations, relationships -- these are just a few of the things that "The Last Word" focuses on despite not understanding how they work. It's bold to write about things you're unfamili...

Before I Fall

C+ | PG-13 |
"Before I Fall" is what would happen if Nicholas Sparks rewrote "Groundhog Day" as a teen-angst melodrama. The same lessons are to be learned, in the same order, only instead of a funny Bill Murray le...
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