Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews

donnybrook

Donnybrook

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 ("Dark ...
megatimesquad

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

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...
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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...
serenity2019

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

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 ...
glassmovie

Glass

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...
keepaneyeout

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...
replicas

Replicas

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...
theupside

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...
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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...
vicemovie

Vice

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, ...
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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...
destroyer

Destroyer

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 ...
holmeswatson

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...
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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...
bumblebee

Bumblebee

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...
AQUAMAN

Aquaman

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...
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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...
mortalengines

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...
themule

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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
tyrel

Tyrel

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...
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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...
favourite

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...
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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...
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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...
robinhood2018

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...
WIDOWS

Widows

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...
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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...
greenbook

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-Eternitys-Gate

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...
instantfamily

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...
CAM_FILM_STILL1

Cam

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

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 ...
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Overlord

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

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...
bodied

Bodied

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...
nobodysfool

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...
suspiria

Suspiria

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...
bohemianrhapsody

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

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...
hunterkiller

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...
thehateugive

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 --...
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Mid90s

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

Wildlife

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...
canyoueverforgiveme

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...
halloween2018

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...
beverlylufflinn

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...
theguilty2018

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 ...
beautifulboy

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 ...
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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 ...
janeandemma

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...
badtimes

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...
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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...
firstman

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,"...
happyprince

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-sundance

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

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...
astarisborn

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...
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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...

Night School

D+ | PG-13 | September 28, 2018
The premise of "Night School," an overlong, under-funny comedy starring Kevin Hart, is that a 35-year-old high school dropout named Teddy Walker has to get his GED in order to get a job. That scenario, while not inherently funny, allows for innumerab...
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Free Solo (documentary)

B+ | PG-13 | September 28, 2018
In the parlance of rock-climbers, to "free solo" means to climb alone and without a rope -- basically, to remove all margin for error. If you make a mistake, you die. What you must keep reminding yourself while watching the documentary "Free Solo" --...
little-women

Little Women (2018)

B- | PG-13 | September 28, 2018
(Full disclosure: The director of this film is the wife of a friend of mine, who is one of the producers. You shouldn't listen to anything I say about this or any other movie.) Louisa May Alcott's beloved "Little Women" gets an update in this affe...
Hold the Dark

Hold the Dark

B | Not-Rated | September 28, 2018
Continuing the "Wind River" cycle of movies about outsiders going to cold, sad Indian reservations to investigate tragedies, here's "Hold the Dark," another brutally chilling drama from "Green Room" director Jeremy Saulnier. Adapted by Saulnier's "B...
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Smallfoot

B | PG | September 28, 2018
"Smallfoot" is a light animated adventure set in a remote Himalayan village occupied by yetis, aka Abominable Snowmen (and Snowwomen), who have lived in isolation for generations. Though they have a complex societal hierarchy, the yetis are in many w...
hellfest

Hell Fest

B- | R | September 28, 2018
The rare slasher film that's not a sequel to or remake of a previous one, "Hell Fest" exploits the premise of a traveling Halloween carnival being infiltrated by an actual masked killer who avoids detection by blending in with the hired scarers. Dire...
oldmanandthegun

The Old Man & the Gun

B | PG-13 | September 28, 2018
David Lowery's last movie, "A Ghost Story," was about a ghost but wasn't a horror film. His new one, "The Old Man and the Gun," is about a career bank robber but isn't a heist thriller. Lowery keeps you on your toes if you're a judge-a-movie-by-its-t...
thesistersbrothers

The Sisters Brothers

B | R | September 21, 2018
See, they're a couple of brothers whose last name is Sisters. "The Sisters brothers." Get it? As a novel, much of what made "The Sisters Brothers" so entertaining was author Patrick DeWitt's amusingly dry way with words, his knack for turning a phras...
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The House with a Clock in Its Walls

B | PG | September 21, 2018
Jack Black opted out of the "Goosebumps" sequel in order to make "The House with a Clock in Its Walls," which is basically a "Goosebumps" movie but based on a different set of YA novels. Kids' movies are a good place for the cartoonish, rubbery actor...
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Assassination Nation

B- | R | September 21, 2018
“Assassination Nation,” based on the hashtags #woke and #metoo, is an in-your-face, self-consciously edgy satire about a town called Salem that goes witch-hunting after everyone's online accounts are hacked and their secrets (and nude pics) are expos...
thepredator

The Predator

B- | R | September 14, 2018
Unlike the late entries in some horror franchises, "The Predator" doesn't pretend any of its predecessors didn't happen, but you don't need to have seen them, either. Directed and co-written by Shane Black (who was an actor in the original 1987 "Pred...

A Simple Favor

B | R | September 14, 2018
Based on Darcey Bell's novel, which must have been inspired by Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl," "A Simple Favor" is a funny, dark-edged, lurid mystery-melodrama starring Anna Kendrick as a naive stay-at-home mom named Stephanie Smothers who turns detecti...
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Mandy

B- | Not-Rated | September 14, 2018
••• “Mandy” stars Nicolas Cage, with Andrea Riseborough as his wife, the two of them living a lumberjack’s life in the Pacific Northwest in 1983. Intercut with scenes of their idyllic existence, reading fantasy novels and talking about which planets...
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White Boy Rick

B+ | R | September 14, 2018
It's unlikely (I hope) that the Wershe family of Detroit will remind you of your own clan. As portrayed in "White Boy Rick," a compelling if familiar fact-based drama set in 1984-88, the Wershes are low-class ignoramuses, the type of family where the...
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The Nun

C+ | R | September 7, 2018
You know how sometimes a horror movie will have various creepy apparitions, and how it doesn't really matter why those particular images were chosen, the point is just to be creepy? But then you know how sometimes a horror movie makes a lot of money,...
peppermintmovie

Peppermint

C | R | September 7, 2018
In yet another "Death Wish" update teaching the valuable lesson that violence is the answer, "Peppermint" presents Jennifer Garner as Riley North, a Los Angeles woman who seeks revenge after her husband (Jeff Hephner) and little girl (Cailey Fleming)...
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Cold Skin

B | Not-Rated | September 7, 2018
••• "Cold Skin" starts with the Nietzsche quote about how monster-hunters must beware lest they become monsters themselves, staring into the abyss may result in the abyss staring back at you, yada yada. It's pretty on-the-nose for the story that ...
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Operation Finale

B | PG-13 | August 29, 2018
As we've seen, the end of Adolf Hitler didn't mean the end of the Nazis. Those suckers are hardy! "Operation Finale" recounts how one of the Naziest of the Nazis, Adolf Eichmann, was found hiding in Buenos Aires in 1960 and captured by Israeli Mossad...
Arizona

Arizona

C+ | Not-Rated | August 24, 2018
"Arizona" is a dark horror/comedy set after the housing collapse in 2009, an era that ought to have inspired more dark horror/comedies than it has. It stars Rosemarie DeWitt as a divorced mom in an Arizona suburb who’s about to lose her house while s...
searching

Searching

B- | PG-13 | August 24, 2018
When teenage Margot (Michelle La) goes missing, her widowed father, David (John Cho), with whom she has always enjoyed a close relationship, realizes he doesn't actually know any of her friends and has no idea where to start looking. Thus "Searching"...
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The Happytime Murders

C- | R | August 24, 2018
"The Happytime Murders" is a dismal execution of a great premise, in which puppets (think Muppets) live alongside humans in Los Angeles as second-class citizens, the way toons and people did in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." When the felt cast members of...
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A.X.L.

B- | PG | August 24, 2018
"A.X.L.," a wholesome boy-and-his-dog adventure and an inoffensive PG trifle, is patterned after "The Iron Giant" -- a good role model for any movie to emulate, though obviously a hard one to measure up to. It also has shades of "Short Circuit," "E.T...
Papillon

Papillon

B | R | August 24, 2018
"Papillon" is based on the memoirs of Henri Charrière, a 1930s French safecracker who was sent to an inescapable penal colony from which he subsequently (spoiler alert) escaped. But it's also based on the 1973 film version of those memoirs (screenwri...
mile-22

Mile 22

D+ | R | August 17, 2018
Peter Berg, director of good movies like "Friday Night Lights" and "The Rundown," has fallen in with a bad crowd lately, and that crowd's name is Mark Wahlberg. After an auspicious start with "Lone Survivor," each of their subsequent collaborations -...
alpha-movie

Alpha

B | PG-13 | August 17, 2018
They don't make a lot of movies that are set in 18,000 B.C. and told entirely in made-up caveman languages, perhaps for obvious reasons. Nor is the theme of "where dogs came from" often explored in film, though that angle sounds a lot more lucrative....
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We the Animals

A- | R | August 17, 2018
All is tranquil at the beginning of "We the Animals" before it evolves into a gentle, aching coming-of-age story for 10-year-old Jonah (Evan Rosado), who will soon learn that you have to take the moments of joy wherever you can find them. Up till now...
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Crazy Rich Asians

B | PG-13 | August 15, 2018
There are two things about "Crazy Rich Asians" that separate it from most romantic comedies. One is that it's good. Based on Kevin Kwan's bestselling novel and directed by John M. Chu ("Step Up 2: The Streets," "Now You See Me 2"), it uses one of the...
themeg

The Meg

C+ | PG-13 | August 10, 2018
Like most action movies, "The Meg" begins with its tough-guy hero (who is the best of the best at what he does) performing a mission that goes awry, causing him to blame himself, quit the business, and feel haunted. Then it's a few years later and we...
SUMMER-OF-84-cast

Summer of 84

D | Not-Rated | August 10, 2018
••• "Summer of 84" is by the trio of Canadian directors -- François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell, known collectively as RKSS (Roadkill Superstars) -- who made "Turbo Kid," a daffy, post-apocalyptic, '80s-style "futuristic" adventu...