Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews

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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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...
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Slender Man

F | PG-13 | August 10, 2018
Even by the low standards of lame PG-13 horror movies about teenage girls being harassed by supernatural entities, "Slender Man" is quite bad. Based on a folkloric boogeyman created in 2009 for an internet contest, this aimless turd has New England h...
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Dog Days

B- | PG | August 8, 2018
You know those Garry Marshall ensemble comedies like "Mother's Day" and "New Year's Eve," where various strangers' lives intersect around a particular theme? "Dog Days" is like that, only not terrible! Not great, either, but it's sunny and tame and a...
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Eighth Grade

A- | R | July 13, 2018
Bo Burnham, the first YouTube comedian to leverage his online fame into a mainstream career, is 27 years old and a boy. Yet he has somehow written and directed "Eighth Grade," a marvelously, horrifically authentic dramedy about an awkward and shy 13-...
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The Darkest Minds

C+ | PG-13 | August 3, 2018
With basic-cable production values and an exceedingly generic story, "The Darkest Minds" is the latest teenage dystopian fantasy film based on a trilogy of young adult novels in which a girl learns she is Very Special and becomes a leader in the figh...
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Christopher Robin

C | PG | August 3, 2018
Disney's "Christopher Robin" is not a biography of Christopher Robin Milne, the boy featured in his father A.A.'s "Winnie-the-Pooh" books. There was a movie last year, "Goodbye, Christopher Robin," that told that story (more or less). This Disney ver...
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The Spy Who Dumped Me

C+ | R | August 3, 2018
The two main characters in "The Spy Who Dumped Me" are ordinary women who get caught up in international espionage and turn out to be -- what are the odds? -- pretty good at it. They shoot villains with relative ease and accuracy, instinctively hide ...
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (documentary)

B | Not-Rated | July 27, 2018
"Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood" is the movie version of the 2012 memoir "Full Service," in which George Albert "Scotty" Bowers shared juicy details about his decades-long pimping for Tinseltown celebrities. Shot by director Matt Tyrnauer...
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Mission: Impossible — Fallout

B+ | PG-13 | July 27, 2018
Tom Cruise has been starring in "Mission: Impossible" movies for 22 years, and his character, un-killable super-spy Ethan Hunt, has been on the job for about the same length of time. Hunt isn't an archetype like James Bond, kept forever young(-ish) b...
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Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

B- | PG | July 27, 2018
"Teen Titans Go! To the Movies," the very meta big-screen adaptation of the Cartoon Network series "Teen Titans Go!," is about a quintet of adolescent superheroes seeking to earn the same respect their adult counterparts get by doing what so many of ...
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Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

B- | PG-13 | July 20, 2018
"Mamma Mia!" was a badly written headache based on a badly written live musical, adapted for the screen by the same people who had staged it on Broadway, who leaned on the show's built-in fanbase like a crutch. (No reason to improve something that's ...
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The Equalizer 2

B | R | July 20, 2018
At the end of "The Equalizer" (2014), you probably thought everything that needed equalizing had been taken care of. Wrong, dummy! "The Equalizer 2" has non-equalized things up the wazoo, just waiting for Denzel Washington to equalize them. He usuall...
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Unfriended: Dark Web

C+ | PG-13 | July 20, 2018
"Unfriended: Dark Web" has no connection to 2015's "Unfriended" except that they adhere to the same format: Both unfold in real time entirely on someone's computer screen via their Skype sessions, Facebook chats, and so forth. This structure, a refle...
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Blindspotting

B+ | R | July 20, 2018
“Blindspotting” is an explosive racial comedy, a love letter to Oakland, and a jumpstart to the movie career of its star, Daveed Diggs, who co-wrote the screenplay with co-star Rafael Casal. Directed by first-timer Carlos Lopez Estrada, the film is s...
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Skyscraper

C | PG-13 | July 13, 2018
How you gonna hire one-legged Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to insect the safety features of your spectacular new Hong Kong high-rise, then let bad guys set the building on fire and threaten The Rock's family? You think one-legged Dwayne "The Rock" Johns...
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The Night Eats the World (French)

B+ | Not-Rated | July 13, 2018
••• "The Night Eats the World" ("La nuit a dévoré le monde") has a different mood from most zombie films, which proves to be refreshing. It's less mayhem-oriented, quieter, more drama than horror (though not without its horror), with a compelling ce...
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Sorry to Bother You

B | R | July 6, 2018
It would seem rapper and activist Boots Riley watched a few Michel Gondry movies ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Be Kind Rewind," etc.) and decided to make a whimsical, alternate-reality satire of his own. It's called "Sorry to Bother You,...
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Ant-Man and the Wasp

B | PG-13 | July 6, 2018
As those still weeping over "Avengers: Infinity War" will tell you between muffled sobs, there's big doin's afoot in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But none of that matters in "Ant-Man and the Wasp," a direct sequel to "Ant-Man" that's just as cheerf...
The First Purge

The First Purge

C+ | R | July 4, 2018
The question we had when "The Purge" came out in 2013 was: Wait, how does this work? In this near-future version of America, there's a 12-hour period set aside each year during which all crime is legal. The result of this planned anarchy is that over...
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Uncle Drew

C | PG-13 | June 29, 2018
"Uncle Drew," a basketball comedy directed by Charles Stone III ("Drumline," "Mr. 3000"), ought to be about the title character, a septuagenarian who was the best street-ball player in New York in 1968 before flaming out and disappearing. Played by N...
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Sicario: Day of the Soldado

D+ | R | June 29, 2018
In "Sicario: Day of the Soldado," the grim, unpleasant sequel to the 2015 film that grappled with the morality of the drug war, there is no more grappling. What was once an ethical quagmire is now a harmless mud bath, wallowed in by swaggering, non-i...
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The Catcher Was a Spy

C | R | June 22, 2018
"The Catcher Was a Spy" begins with onscreen titles telling us that after the Nazis split the atom and put Dr. Heisenberg on the job of developing a bomb, the U.S. sent a Jewish baseball player-turned-spy to assassinate him. Color us intrigued! Alas,...
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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

C- | PG-13 | June 22, 2018
Bad news, everyone: dinosaurs are boring now. People were so preoccupied with whether they could make a fifth "Jurassic Park" movie, they didn't stop to think if they should. "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," a direct sequel to 2015's passable but fa...
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Incredibles 2

B- | PG | June 15, 2018
When "The Incredibles" came out, in November 2004, it was Pixar's sixth movie and only about the ninth superhero movie in the modern era (which archeologists agree started with "X-Men" in 2000). Focused more on adventure than comedy, with bar-raising...
Tag

Tag

C+ | R | June 15, 2018
"Tag" turns an outrageous-yet-true story into one that's just outrageous, with details that couldn't possibly be true. Based on a 2013 Wall Street Journal article, it's about five men in their late 30s who've been playing the same game of Tag since g...

SuperFly

B- | R | June 13, 2018
"SuperFly," a modern-day remake of the 1972 blaxploitation classic -- about a successful cocaine dealer of color who wants to get out of the business -- is a straight crime drama, made by a music video director but not shot like a music video. It's n...
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Hereditary

A | R | June 8, 2018
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-timer Ari Aster, a pants-besoiling horror film -- b...
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Hearts Beat Loud

B+ | PG-13 | June 8, 2018
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 Offerman as Frank Fisher, a widowed record-shop own...
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Ocean’s Eight

B | PG-13 | June 8, 2018
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, eventually, as spoiled by the title) to perpetrate an...
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Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (documentary)

B+ | PG-13 | June 8, 2018
I didn't grow up with "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" (or "Sesame Street," for that matter). We didn't have cable yet when I was that age, and our TV antenna didn't pick up the local PBS affiliate. Yet even without a personal connection or a sense of n...

Hotel Artemis

B- | R | June 8, 2018
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 hinted at (they even use their own currency) that...
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Adrift

C | PG-13 | June 1, 2018
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 in the Pacific on a storm-damaged yacht, is like th...
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Action Point

C+ | R | June 1, 2018
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 amusement park who tries to compete with a fancy n...
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The Texture of Falling

D | Not-Rated | June 1, 2018
At the risk of making it sound more interesting than it is, "The Texture of Falling" is a lurid, Portland-set meta-drama about a timid filmmaker named Louisa (Julie Webb) who starts dating a dull married pianist, Luke (Patrick D. Green), while trying...
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Upgrade

B+ | R | June 1, 2018
"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 the spare parts of other sci-fi stories. It has so...
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American Animals

B | R | June 1, 2018
"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 the unbelievably engrossing documentary “Impostor,...
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Solo: A Star Wars Story

B- | PG-13 | May 25, 2018
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 Wars Story," that I didn't catch. That's besides ...
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Deadpool 2

B | R | May 18, 2018
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 dozens of siblings way back in 2016. "Deadpool 2" grap...
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On Chesil Beach

B | R | May 18, 2018
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 society expects newlyweds to be virgins, and that many o...
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Book Club

D+ | PG-13 | May 18, 2018
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 books, but it really isn't. It's just the catalyst fo...
lifeoftheparty

Life of the Party

B+ | PG-13 | May 11, 2018
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 daughter is attending! Collision course with wackines...
REVENGE

Revenge

B | R | May 11, 2018
••• 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 directed by women? This one, a cool, synth-scored em...
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Breaking In

C+ | PG-13 | May 11, 2018
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 the mom is locked outside and has to "break in," ...
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RBG (documentary)

B+ | PG | May 4, 2018
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 subjects that America was newly (re-)interested i...
bad-samaritan

Bad Samaritan

C+ | R | May 4, 2018
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. They're executed with average skill by director Dea...
overboard

Overboard

C | PG-13 | May 4, 2018
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 believing she's his wife -- that is to say, cook, nanny, ...
tully

Tully

B+ | R | May 4, 2018
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 her own now, an experience that informs her painf...
Let-the-Sunshine-In

Let the Sunshine In (French)

B | Not-Rated | April 27, 2018
"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 fans of Juliette Binoche who want to see the actre...
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Avengers: Infinity War

B- | PG-13 | April 27, 2018
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 with its own sequel (due 52 weeks from now), and the...
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Super Troopers 2

B- | R | April 20, 2018
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 twice, let alone cult-favorite lightning.) "Super...
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I Feel Pretty

C | PG-13 | April 20, 2018
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 Marc Silverstein, the duo behind such mediocritie...
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Traffik

C- | R | April 20, 2018
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"), this lurid, clumsy thriller is 30 minutes old befo...
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Truth or Dare

C | PG-13 | April 13, 2018
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 dare. Directed by Jeff Wadlow ("Cry_Wolf," "Kick-Ass...
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Rampage

C+ | PG-13 | April 13, 2018
"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 lizard, or giant wolf as your avatar, you destroy...
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Beirut

B | R | April 11, 2018
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 Machinist," "Session 9") and written by Tony Gilroy ("M...
Film Title: Blockers

Blockers

B | R | April 6, 2018
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" different from the typical raunch-com -- that, and the fa...
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Chappaquiddick

B- | PG-13 | April 6, 2018
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 its point of view is different from its main charac...
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A Quiet Place

B+ | PG-13 | April 6, 2018
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 its characters in a situation where making noise is...
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You Were Never Really Here

B+ | R | April 6, 2018
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 different sort of experience, immersing us in impres...
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Ready Player One

C | PG-13 | March 29, 2018
"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 and with whatever fictional characters they choose (...
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Ismael’s Ghosts (French)

B- | R | March 23, 2018
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 filmmaker Ismael Vuillard (Mathieu Amalric), who shares De...
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Pacific Rim Uprising

C | PG-13 | March 23, 2018
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 stop the destruction was to build giant Transformer...
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Sherlock Gnomes

C+ | PG | March 23, 2018
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't see but which I assume was also uninspired nons...
Unsane

Unsane

B- | R | March 23, 2018
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 he didn't even use a new iPhone. The shots are ni...
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7 Days in Entebbe

C | PG-13 | March 16, 2018
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 Palestinians and two German revolutionaries hoping...
love-simon-review (1)

Love, Simon

B | PG-13 | March 16, 2018
"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 numerous coming-out-centered films that played the arthou...
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Tomb Raider

C+ | PG-13 | March 16, 2018
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 much as unlocked with a key, but we're counting it...
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I Can Only Imagine

B- | PG | March 16, 2018
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 into singing and songwriting after a high school inju...
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A Wrinkle in Time

C | PG | March 9, 2018
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, least of all L'Engle, liked), so Disney's new big-...
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The Death of Stalin

A- | R | March 9, 2018
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 "The Thick of It" (he also created HBO’s "Veep") tha...
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Thoroughbreds

B+ | R | March 9, 2018
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 ago, and are hanging out again now. Lily's father ...
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The Hurricane Heist

B- | PG-13 | March 9, 2018
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 agent stop a band of thieves from robbing a Treasu...
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The Strangers: Prey at Night

C | R | March 9, 2018
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's no place the evils of the world can't reach us....
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Mohawk

B- | Not-Rated | March 2, 2018
••• 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"), finds compelling drama in this overlooked skirmish...
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Death Wish

C | R | March 2, 2018
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 violence while a police car containing a gunshot cop s...
RED SPARROW

Red Sparrow

C | R | March 2, 2018
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, though, and when we do, it's not the kind of espionage...
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Every Day

B- | PG-13 | February 23, 2018
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 Vow"), is a fine piece of misty-eyed teenage pulp...
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Game Night

B+ | R | February 23, 2018
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 Bug's Life" (which are all the same movie, as you ...
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Annihilation

B+ | R | February 23, 2018
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 interviewed by three men in hazmat suits who want to k...
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Samson

D+ | PG-13 | February 16, 2018
"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 approval before being undone by a duplicitous dame ...
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Early Man

B- | PG | February 16, 2018
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, called "Early Man." Excitement is the appropriate react...
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Black Panther

B | PG-13 | February 16, 2018
"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 from the obligatory Stan Lee cameo and references ...
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Fifty Shades Freed

D | R | February 9, 2018
"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 together, makes any human sense. The plot of the fil...
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The 15:17 to Paris

C | PG-13 | February 9, 2018
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 heroes are played by themselves. This is supposed ...
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Peter Rabbit

B- | PG | February 9, 2018
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 (voiced by James Corden) into a Bugs Bunny type, with...
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Winchester

C+ | PG-13 | February 2, 2018
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 wealth when her husband died. It's supposed to be hau...
MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE

The Death Cure

B- | PG-13 | January 26, 2018
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 young adults). As I was forcing myself to finish re...
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12 Strong

B- | R | January 19, 2018
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," based on journalist Doug Stanton's book "Horse Sold...
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Forever My Girl

C | PG | January 19, 2018
"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 because they like those things. Adapted from H...
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Den of Thieves

C+ | R | January 19, 2018
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 generic, testosterone-driven crime dramas that offer n...
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Mom and Dad

B- | R | January 19, 2018
••• 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" demonstrating that he doesn’t need any help coming up with ...
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Proud Mary

C+ | R | January 12, 2018
"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-slinging Pam Grier type who fights against The Man. That...
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Paddington 2

B+ | PG | January 12, 2018
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 comes to live with a human family in London. Based on ...
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The Commuter

B- | PG-13 | January 12, 2018
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 are on the evening train from Manhattan to Poughke...
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Insidious: The Last Key

B- | PG-13 | January 5, 2018
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. Franchise writer Leigh Whannell has configured things ...
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Molly’s Game

B | R | December 25, 2017
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 that is every inch An Aaron Sorkin Film. Walking and ...
All The Money in the World

All the Money in the World

C+ | R | December 25, 2017
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 would have been), a terrible miser who refuses to p...
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Downsizing

B+ | R | December 22, 2017
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 Alexander Payne. Co-writing with regular collaborator J...