Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews



C | PG-13 | April 12, 2019
Here's an amusing coincidence. "Little," which is a reversal of the Tom Hanks classic "Big," was written by Tina Gordon Chism, who also wrote "What Men Want," a reversal of "What Women Want." Chism's niche, apparently, is mediocre rewrites of fantasy...

Missing Link

B- | PG | April 12, 2019
"Missing Link" is Laika's fifth gorgeously detailed work of stop-motion animation and the fourth to leave me kind of cold. Only the studio's debut, "Coraline," had the intended impact; "ParaNorman," "The Boxtrolls," and "Kubo and the Two Strings" wer...

Hellboy (2019)

C- | R | April 12, 2019
The R-rated "Hellboy" is a comedically gory but otherwise not particularly funny reboot of the comic book character (previously brought to PG-13-rated life by Ron Perlman and director Guillermo del Toro), a red-skinned, horned demon with a giant fist...

Native Son

B- | Not-Rated | April 7, 2019
••• Little had to be changed about the plot of Richard Wright’s 1940 novel "Native Son" to make it work with an adaptation set in the present, but something must have been lost in translation. As directed by first-timer Rashid Johnson (a respected C...

The Best of Enemies

C+ | PG-13 | April 5, 2019
Hollywood continues to solve racism one bigot at a time with "The Best of Enemies," a shiny, shallow trinket based on true events that, in the hands of first-time feel-good filmmaker Robin Bissell, seem made-up. It's 1971 in Durham, N.C., where th...


C- | R | April 5, 2019
The interesting thing about anti-abortion propaganda film "Unplanned" is how little it tries to persuade anyone of anything. Preaching to the choir, it presupposes that everyone already agrees abortion is murder and that no further discussion is nece...
Film Review Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary

C+ | R | April 5, 2019
The whole point of "Pet Sematary" -- both Stephen King's 1983 novel and the effective 1989 movie version -- is that you shouldn't revive the dead because they won't be the same when they come back. (It's one of those universal, timeless messages.) So...


B- | PG-13 | April 5, 2019
Despite their adventures ostensibly being aimed at kids, most superheroes aren't children themselves. Except for the Spider-Men and occasional moments with the younger X-Persons, we rarely see a superhero revel in the sheer delight of having awesome ...

Dumbo (2019)

D+ | PG | March 29, 2019
The self-cannibalization at Disney continues with "Dumbo," a turgid, labored, bloated live-action remake of the 1941 animated classic with precisely none of the original's emotion, charm, or joy. Why do these things that are obviously bad ideas to be...
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The Beach Bum

C | R | March 29, 2019
The title character in "The Beach Bum," a stoner-poet named Moondog, is the part Matthew McConaughey was born to play, and he is indeed at his McConaughey-est here: grinning, giggling, pontificating, publicly urinating, stumbling hazily from one part...


B | R | March 22, 2019
Jordan Peele, the newly minted horror auteur behind "Get Out," gives us a lot to process in the early minutes of his follow-up, the suspenseful and more overtly horrific "Us." We're told of a network of underground tunnels in the United States (the "...

Hotel Mumbai

B | R | March 22, 2019
The title character in "Hotel Mumbai" is actually called the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, or the Taj for short, and it was one of a dozen Mumbai locations attacked by Islamic terrorists on November 26, 2008, ultimately killing 174 people and injuring hund...


B+ | Not-Rated | March 22, 2019
One thing you can say for sure about "Relaxer": There will never be a gender-swapped remake of it. The story, first juvenile and then surreal, only makes sense in the context of men's craving for competition and willingness to spend absurd amounts of...

Captive State

B | PG-13 | March 15, 2019
"Captive State" is geeky, serious sci-fi told with a straight face and no comic relief. This is essential because, like most geeky sci-fi, it's a hair's breadth from cheesiness: A few missteps and the whole thing becomes a campy laughingstock. But di...

Wonder Park

D+ | PG | March 15, 2019
The setting of "Wonder Park," a goopy pile of trash made by a third-tier animation studio, is an amusement park called ... Wonderland. Why isn't the movie called "Wonderland"? Probably because there are so many other "Wonderland" movies, most of them...
Virginia Gardner in Starfish


B- | Not-Rated | March 15, 2019
An apocalyptic event happens so subtly in "Starfish" that you almost don't notice it. The reasons for that are probably more practical than artistic -- it costs money to show widespread devastation -- but it adds to the intrigue of this melancholy sc...

Five Feet Apart

B- | PG-13 | March 15, 2019
The disease in "Five Feet Apart," the latest romantic drama about two teens in love where at least one of them has an incurable disease, is cystic fibrosis, and they both have it. They meet in the hospital. Stella (Haley Lu Richardson), our chipper, ...

Captain Marvel

B- | PG-13 | March 8, 2019
Many of the people seeing "Captain Marvel" (myself included) won't know anything about the character going in except that she's from Marvel Comics and that you'd think she'd be a bigger deal given that she's named after the company. After seeing the ...

Level 16

B | Not-Rated | March 1, 2019
••• The plucky, rough-around-the-edges Canadian thriller "Level 16" is a "Black Mirror"-lite story about teenage girls being trained in a creepy, militaristic sort of finishing school called the Vestalis Academy and located in a secret fortified bun...

A Madea Family Funeral

D | PG-13 | March 1, 2019
"A Madea Family Funeral" is typical of Tyler Perry's Madea series: excruciating and baffling with occasional flecks of bemusement at how misguided it is; garishly lit and cheap-looking, like it was shot on a sitcom soundstage (which it was); woefully...

Giant Little Ones

B- | R | March 1, 2019
Coming-out stories have become common enough that movies are starting to tell them with nuance. The "Am I gay?" question no longer has only two possible answers; there's a whole spectrum, as 17-year-old Franky Winter (Josh Wiggins) discovers in "Gian...


C | R | March 1, 2019
We're so accustomed to stalker movies now that they can be told in shorthand. "Greta" is a too-efficient example of this, in addition to being a cautionary tale about why you should never do something nice for a stranger. Directed by Neil Jordan (...
The Hole In The Ground – Still 1

The Hole in the Ground

B | R | February 26, 2019
••• In the loudly menacing "The Hole in the Ground," a solid debut from Irish director Lee Cronin, young mother Sarah (Seána Kerslake) and her son, Chris (James Quinn Markey), have just moved to an isolated house in the country -- which, not to blam...

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

B- | PG | February 22, 2019
I loved the first two animated adventures about the Viking boy and his fire-breathing friend, but "How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World" falls a bit flat. Maybe too much time has passed? It's been five years since Part 2, nine years since the f...


B | R | February 15, 2019
••• Despite its happy, Irish-sounding title, "Donnybrook" is bleak misery porn about meth and meth-adjacent Midwesterners scrambling to survive and/or kill each other. It's compelling stuff, written and directed with mean efficiency by Tim Sutton ("...

Mega Time Squad

B | Not-Rated | February 15, 2019
••• We in the Northern Hemisphere have this image of New Zealand as Australia's sillier, goofier neighbor. "Mega Time Squad" does nothing to dispel that impression, being a manic, light-hearted comedy about a nice young criminal who uses time-travel...

Fighting with My Family

B- | PG-13 | February 14, 2019
"Fighting with My Family" would be nothing more than a routine underdog sports story if it hadn't been written and directed by Stephen Merchant, the gangly Englishman responsible for most of the funny things Ricky Gervais has ever said on TV. In Merc...

Alita: Battle Angel

C+ | PG-13 | February 14, 2019
"Alita: Battle Angel," directed by Robert Rodriguez and co-written and produced by James Cameron, marks the first time the two filmmakers have collaborated. You can see Cameron's influence in the way the film is technically proficient but emotionally...
Happy Death Day 2U

Happy Death Day 2U

B | PG-13 | February 13, 2019
When we last saw plucky college student Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe), at the end of 2017's serviceable genre exercise "Happy Death Day," she had unmasked her killer and broken the time loop that was causing her to relive the day of her murder (which ...

Isn’t It Romantic

B | PG-13 | February 13, 2019
The premise of "Isn't It Romantic" is similar to last year's "I Feel Pretty" in that both involve blondes getting bonked on the head and waking up in a fantasy version of Manhattan. In "I Feel Pretty," Amy Schumer's head injury led her to believe she...

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

B+ | PG | February 8, 2019
There have been two other Lego movies since "The LEGO Movie" (a decent "LEGO Batman" and a headache-y "LEGO Ninjago"), but "The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part" is the first direct sequel to the original entry. It feels late, even though it's only been...

What Men Want

C+ | R | February 8, 2019
"What Men Want" is officially credited as a remake of 2000's "What Women Want," but the films have little in common beyond the central premise of someone being able to hear the thoughts of the opposite sex. It seems like an arbitrary distinction. Do ...

The Prodigy

B- | R | February 8, 2019
You know how sometimes your intellectually gifted 8-year-old son starts lashing out in violence? And how he also has a sudden liking for paprika and has been muttering in a foreign language in his sleep? And so you take him to the psychologist, and s...

Serenity (2019)

D | R | January 25, 2019
Even if its plot twists weren't dumb (which they are), "Serenity" would be a bad movie because of its broad, hammy acting. Written and directed by Steven Knight ("Locke"), this perplexing noir misfire has the kind of performances where people regular...

The Kid Who Would Be King

B+ | PG | January 25, 2019
There's nothing the world needs less than another King Arthur movie (unless it's another Robin Hood movie), and that's why Joe Cornish didn't make one. Instead, the man behind minor cult hit "Attack the Block" (whence came John Boyega) made "The Kid ...


B | PG-13 | January 18, 2019
Picking up a few weeks after "Split" and 18 years after "Unbreakable," M. Night Shyamalan's "Glass" concludes his weird comic book trilogy by bringing all the main players together, crossover-style. That includes David Dunn (Bruce Willis), the securi...

Keep an Eye Out (French)

B+ | Not-Rated | January 18, 2019
••• "Keep an Eye Out" is the latest absurdist lark from Quentin Dupieux, whose "Rubber" -- about a series of murders committed by a sentient automobile tire -- is one of my favorite absurdist larks of the current century. Called "Au Poste!" in its n...


D | PG-13 | January 11, 2019
It's not fair to call "Replicas" the stupidest movie of 2019. The year is only two weeks old -- and besides, it was supposed to be the stupidest movie of 2017, before it got shelved for reasons that become apparent upon viewing it. An affectless K...
2333242 – A Dog’s Way Home

A Dog’s Way Home

B- | PG | January 11, 2019
If you think you would enjoy an uncomplicated, PG-rated movie about a dog traveling 400 miles to be reunited with her humans, there's an excellent chance you will enjoy "A Dog's Way Home," which is exactly that and does exactly what you'd expect it t...

The Upside

D | PG-13 | January 11, 2019
Everything about "The Upside" feels contrived and phony, like the movie version of an inspiring-but-fake anecdote your aunt shared on Facebook. Which is impressive, considering it's a true story. Of course, it's more directly a remake of the Frenc...

Escape Room

B- | PG-13 | January 4, 2019
There's something comforting about the fact that any popular new phenomenon will eventually be turned into the premise for a horror movie. For example, escape rooms are big lately. You and a few friends get locked in a room and have to solve puzzles ...

Stan & Ollie

B+ | PG | December 28, 2018
You don't need any more than a passing familiarity with old-timey comedy duo Laurel and Hardy to enjoy "Stan & Ollie," a loving biopic set primarily during a U.K. tour in 1953, years after their heyday and some time after they'd had a falling-out...


B- | R | December 25, 2018
"Vice," about VP Dick Cheney (it's not a biopic, it's a Dick-pic), was written and directed by Adam McKay, who made the similarly themed "The Big Short." McKay is better known, though, as an "SNL" writer who became Will Ferrell's chief collaborator, ...

On the Basis of Sex

B | PG-13 | December 25, 2018
The documentary "RBG" gives a fine overview of the life and work of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but the fictionalized version, "On the Basis of Sex," isn't entirely redundant. Directed by Mimi Leder ("Deep Impact," "Pay It Forward") fr...


B+ | R | December 25, 2018
"Destroyer" begins with a bedraggled, hungover L.A. police detective being summoned to a crime scene: a man with a distinctive tattoo on the back of his neck shot dead, surrounded by ink-stained money. The weathered detective, Erin Bell, played by a ...

Holmes & Watson

C+ | PG-13 | December 25, 2018
Etan Cohen didn't write "Holmes & Watson" as a vehicle for Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. Indeed, at one point Ferrell was going to play Dr. Watson, with Sacha Baron Cohen (no relation) as Sherlock. It's hard to tell how much the script changed...

Welcome to Marwen

D+ | PG-13 | December 21, 2018
"Welcome to Marwen" is the latest Robert Zemeckis film to use state-of-the-art technology in the service of a story that's cold and emotionless even though it's supposed to be the opposite of that. It's the natural evolution of the trio of animated f...


B | PG-13 | December 21, 2018
One hesitates to mention right off the bat that "Bumblebee" is a "Transformers" prequel, lest discerning readers assume "Bumblebee" is bad and should be ignored. But it is a prequel, and if the other "Transformers" movies had been like this -- smalli...


B- | PG-13 | December 21, 2018
We learn in "Aquaman" that the amphibious superhero is the product of a brief but passionate romance between a lighthouse keeper named Tom (Temuera Morrison) and Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), queen of Atlantis, who came ashore during a period of rebellion...

Mary Poppins Returns

B | PG | December 19, 2018
"Mary Poppins" is one of my all-time favorite movies, so while I'm not usually given to alarm over proposed sequels and remakes -- it's not replacing the original; get a life, nerds -- I assumed that "Mary Poppins Returns" was a bad idea and braced m...

Mortal Engines

C | PG-13 | December 14, 2018
A thousand years in the future, when the population has been decimated by war and society is starting over again, the hot new trend in municipal planning is "traction cities," where entire towns are built on massive machines that travel on enormous t...

The Mule

C+ | R | December 14, 2018
Clint Eastwood's 37th directorial effort, "The Mule," has all the hallmarks of an Eastwood enterprise -- unfussy direction, efficient but unhurried, moderately entertaining but nothing special -- and is, like most of his work this century, loosely ba...

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

A- | PG | December 14, 2018
There were two excellent Spider-Man movies in the early 2000s, followed by a mediocre one, a mediocre reboot, and a mediocre sequel to that reboot. Last year's reboot, "Spider-Man: Homecoming," balanced the scales -- three great, three not -- and our...

Clara’s Ghost

B- | Not-Rated | December 7, 2018
••• It's a family affair in "Clara's Ghost," written and directed by — am I reading this right? — “Bridey” Elliott? That seems like a typo. She’s the daughter of Chris Elliott and sister of Abby Elliott. Mom is Paula Niedert Elliott, who was a “Late...

Mary Queen of Scots

B | R | December 7, 2018
"Mary Queen of Scots" is a lavish period piece starring Saoirse Ronan as the 16th-century monarch who has a claim to the English throne occupied by Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) but is having enough trouble keeping control of Scotland. The political ma...

Vox Lux

B | R | December 7, 2018
"Vox Lux," a sober but spicy drama written and directed by actor-turned-filmmaker Brady Corbet, is about a teenage Staten Island girl named Celeste who barely survives a horrific act of gun violence that kills others, sings an earnestly cheesy song f...


C+ | Not-Rated | December 5, 2018
Prolific Chilean filmmaker Sebastian Silva had five movies play at Sundance before "Tyrel" premiered there, including two in the same year ("Magic Magic" and "Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus," 2013). He introduced a screening of "Tyrel," which i...

Anna and the Apocalypse

B+ | R | November 30, 2018
"Anna and the Apocalypse" is a Scottish zombie high school musical comedy set at Christmastime. Does it fulfill every magical possibility of that delicious combination of themes? No, but let’s be reasonable. It’s a remarkably self-assured and polishe...
Possession of Hannah Grace

The Possession of Hannah Grace

C | R | November 30, 2018
Hannah Grace is already possessed when "The Possession of Hannah Grace" begins, and she dies during a botched exorcism before the opening credits roll. The movie isn't about her anyway: It's about Megan Reed (Shay Mitchell), a young ex-cop haunted by...

The Favourite

A | R | November 23, 2018
You wouldn't want to make them the staple of your cinematic diet, but movies where the main characters are all corrupt or vain are often satisfying because they let us enjoy the au...

Ralph Breaks the Internet

B- | PG | November 21, 2018
The premise of Disney's "Wreck-It Ralph," you'll recall, was, "What if 'Toy Story' but with video game characters?" For the sequel, "Ralph Breaks the Internet," it's, "What if 'Toy Story' but with the internet?" We'll get to see how our favorite onli...

Creed II

B- | PG-13 | November 21, 2018
The financial and artistic success of "Creed," a "Rocky" sequel that was thoughtful and character-driven in a way that most "Rocky" sequels aren't, inspired optimism that subsequent chapters would follow suit. At the center was a dynamic new characte...

Robin Hood (2018)

C | PG-13 | November 21, 2018
The latest familiar story to be revised by a narrator who implores us to "forget what think we know" about it is the tale of Robin Hood, captured in "Robin Hood" (not to be confused with the 11+ other films called "Robin Hood," or the 70+ other film...


B+ | R | November 16, 2018
"Widows," a sprawling crime drama from director Steve McQueen ("12 Years a Slave"), begins with a sharp, fragmented sequence that ends with the deaths of four Chicago men and the creation of the title characters. The grieving women's husbands were cr...

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

C- | PG-13 | November 16, 2018
After seven books and eight movies, we really came to love those Harry Potter characters, didn't we? We watched them grow and learn and evolve -- not just the kids, but the adults too. The prequel franchise assumes, without evidence, that our affe...

Green Book

B- | PG-13 | November 16, 2018
Racism is solved one moron at a time in "Green Book," a lighthearted, vaguely true story set in 1962, with bigoted Bronx-Italian meathead Tony "Lip" Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) hired as chauffeur and bodyguard for refined black concert pianist Dr. D...

At Eternity’s Gate

C | PG-13 | November 16, 2018
Fans of Vincent van Gogh who have been clamoring for a lifeless, inert biopic, your prayers are answered! "At Eternity's Gate," from director Julian Schnabel ("The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"), flirts with greatness by casting the excellent Willem...

Instant Family

B+ | PG-13 | November 16, 2018
"Instant Family" may not be the most wonderful movie of the year, but it's certainly the most surprisingly wonderful. Inspired by a true story, the premise threatens a sappy, manipulative Hallmark movie: White childless couple Pete (Mark Wahlberg) an...


B- | Not-Rated | November 16, 2018
Most of us don't have the exact problems that Alice in "Cam" has because most of us aren't webcam performers who make a living doing sexy shows online for tips (not that we're judging). But this intriguing if underdeveloped thriller from first-time ...

The Grinch

B- | PG | November 9, 2018
"The Grinch," an 85-minute animated retelling of Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" -- which was already adapted perfectly in 1966 as a 26-minute Chuck Jones cartoon -- is fitfully amusing, harmless, and negligible. It neither detracts from ...


B- | R | November 9, 2018
Hard to imagine what could have given filmmakers in 2018 the idea that moviegoers want to see Nazis get killed, but hey, we'll take 'em. "Overlord," a violent, horror-tinged, sci-fi take on Germany's World War II atrocities, recalls the Nazisploitati...
The Girl in the Spider’s Web

The Girl in the Spider’s Web

C | R | November 9, 2018
After "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" author Stieg Larsson died, his publisher hired David Lagercrantz to write more sequels, like those Jason Bourne books that weren't by Robert Ludlum. Coincidentally, the movie version of "The Girl in the Spider'...
The Front Runner

The Front Runner

B- | R | November 7, 2018
"The Front Runner," Jason Reitman's political dramedy and light satire about Gary Hart, is set in a quaint, bygone era when adultery could derail a politician's career and when there were no news networks trying to fill 24 hours of programming each d...

Boy Erased

B | R | November 2, 2018
The Australian filmmaker Joel Edgerton, who directed "The Gift" and played Uncle Owen in the "Star Wars" prequels, is not gay. This felt apparent to me, a gay, watching "Boy Erased," which Edgerton adapted and directed from Garrard Conley's memoir ab...


A- | R | November 2, 2018
My understanding of battle rap — informed entirely by Joseph Kahn’s "Bodied," a devastatingly funny social commentary — is that it’s like a no-holds-barred comedy roast except the jokes have to rhyme, with participants insulting each other in loosely...

Nobody’s Fool

C- | R | November 2, 2018
Though written and directed by Tyler Perry, "Nobody's Fool" starts out bearing little resemblance to a Tyler Perry film. For one thing, it's just called "Nobody's Fool," not "Tyler Perry's Nobody's Fool." And instead of a clumsy melodrama, it's a clu...


B+ | R | November 2, 2018
"Suspiria," from "Call Me by Your Name" director Luca Guadagnino, is a remake of a 1977 cult favorite by Italian horrormeister Dario Argento -- but don't feel bad if that means nothing to you. Argento, a legend in horror circles for his genre-definin...

Bohemian Rhapsody

C | PG-13 | November 2, 2018
I'm far from the first one to point this out, but "Bohemian Rhapsody" -- a biopic of Freddie Mercury (and, to a lesser extent, the band he fronted, known as Queen) -- is the sort of watered-down pablum that should be embarrassed to show its face in a...

Burning (Korean)

B- | Not-Rated | November 2, 2018
"Burning" is a mystery. I don't mean that its plot involves a mystery (although it does), but that the film itself is hard to pin down. Based on a short story ("Barn Burning") and directed by South Korea's Lee Chang-dong, it's long and ponderous, it'...

Johnny English Strikes Again

C | PG | October 26, 2018
Johnny English, Rowan Atkinson's bumbling James Bond character who is a more talkative version of his Mr. Bean character, returns for a third outing in "Johnny English Strikes Again," a family-friendly spy spoof whose only flaw is that it has zero in...

Hunter Killer

B- | R | October 26, 2018
The rather arbitrarily titled "Hunter Killer" is a submarine movie for dads, based on a novel called "Firing Point" (another random title) that looks like it is probably only for sale in airports. The dividing line on movies of this nature is thin an...

The Hate U Give

B- | PG-13 | October 19, 2018
It takes its time getting there, but you know "The Hate U Give" is going to turn serious on us because it starts with our narrator, 16-year-old Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), telling us about the time when she was 9 and her dad gave her The Talk --...


B | R | October 19, 2018
For maximum nostalgia, "Mid90s" is presented not in widescreen but in 4:3, the way it would have looked on TV or videotape back in the day. "Maximum nostalgia" is the motivating factor for almost everything in Jonah Hill's directorial debut (which he...
Wildlife – Still 1


B | PG-13 | October 19, 2018
Based on a 1990 novel by Richard Ford, "Wildlife" has a literary feel to it and comes across as a well-acted, well-produced drama for adults. Its protagonist is a kid, though: 14-year-old Joe Brinson (Ed Oxenbould), an only child who's witnessing the...

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

B+ | R | October 19, 2018
Lee Israel was a cranky journalist who made a living writing biographies before falling on hard times after the failure of her unauthorized 1985 Estee Lauder book, which Lauder undermined by preemptively releasing an autobiography. The excellent "Can...

Halloween (2018)

B- | R | October 19, 2018
The 2018 "Halloween" is a direct sequel to the 1978 "Halloween," and it exists in a timeline where there were never any other sequels, not even the one that erased the other ones. Michael Myers killed four people that night (that's not counting his s...

An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn

D | R | October 19, 2018
••• “An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn” is Jim Hosking's followup to his infamously irritating/amusing “The Greasy Strangler," which I enjoyed as a you-gotta-see-this provocation. I was curious to see what else Hosking could do, but it seems "Greasy...

The Guilty (Danish)

B+ | R | October 19, 2018
••• “The Guilty” is a tight, efficient, 85 minutes set in a single location: the 911 call center in Copenhagen. (Except it’s not 911 over there, it’s 112. What a country!) Police officer Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren) is on temporary desk duty taking ...

Beautiful Boy

B | R | October 12, 2018
In 2008, journalist David Sheff and his son Nic published parallel memoirs, "Beautiful Boy" and "Tweak," detailing Nic's struggles with drug addiction and David's efforts to help him. Both books are credited as source material for the film "Beautiful...
The Oath

The Oath

B- | R | October 12, 2018
The premise behind Ike Barinholtz's dark comedy "The Oath" is ripe with possibilities: A liberal man and his wife host his conservative relatives for Thanksgiving week, which coincides with a particularly divisive political issue tearing the country ...

Terrified (Spanish)

B- | Not-Rated | October 12, 2018
Buenos Aires is rife with supernatural activity in Demian Rugna's "Terrified" ("Aterrados"), much of it centralized to a particular street (perhaps because of zoning?). The manifestations are frequently chilling, as when a man who hears a recurring ...

Jane and Emma

B | PG | October 12, 2018
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or MOTCOJCOLDS for short) know Emma Hale Smith, wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith, as a loving spouse who put up with a lot of garbage. Long before her husband was murdered in 1844, she endur...

Bad Times at the El Royale

B | R | October 12, 2018
Drew Goddard wrote for TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Lost" before he started making movies, and it shows. His first film as writer/director, "The Cabin in the Woods," had a Buffy-like self-awareness and deconstructionist attitude, and his seco...

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

B- | PG | October 12, 2018
The first "Goosebumps" movie wasn't an adaptation of one of R.L. Stine's tween-horror books but a story about the "Goosebumps" books, in which Stine (played by Jack Black) had the power to bring his scary imaginings to life merely by writing them. Wi...

First Man

B | PG-13 | October 12, 2018
Ryan Gosling is a handsome man, but it's his profile that's most aesthetically pleasing. We saw a lot of it in "Drive," where he sat behind the wheel of a car and was was often photographed from the passenger seat, and we see it again in "First Man,"...

The Happy Prince

C | R | October 10, 2018
As a very funny gay person who never has enough money, I am the target audience for an Oscar Wilde biopic. But despite Rupert Everett's passion as writer, director, and star -- this is clearly the movie he was born to make -- "The Happy Prince" is a ...

Private Life

B | R | October 5, 2018
The title of "Private Life," starring Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn as an upscale Manhattan couple trying to have a baby, is ironic. There are fertility issues for both of them — he’s 47; she’s 41 (they're both four years older than that in real li...

Venom (2018)

C | PG-13 | October 5, 2018
Iron Man, Captain America, and the others in the Marvel Cinematic Universe would probably like to make it clear that "Venom" isn't part of their program (though it's better than at least one of the "Thor" movies). The Spider-Man villain, seen briefly...

A Star Is Born

B+ | R | October 5, 2018
Because of her outlandish costumery and made-up name, it's easy to dismiss Lady Gaga as a gimmicky pop star. What we discover in the sturdy, old-fashioned "A Star Is Born" (if we hadn't already) is that she has a strong, beautiful singing voice and a...

Tales from the Hood 2

B | R | October 2, 2018
••• I never saw "Tales from the Hood," but if "Tales from the Hood 2" is any indication, I must go back and watch it posthaste -- though I wonder if the racial climate of 1995 could have inspired as much righteous anger and caustic satire in writ...