Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews

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 emerg...
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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...
GB2

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...
tales-from-the-hood-2

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...
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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...
assassnation

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...
mandy_still

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)...
ColdSkin1

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 ...
operation-finale

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"...
the-happytime-murders

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....
we-the-animals

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...
slenderman

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...
Dog-Days-Movie-FTR

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...
the_darkest_minds

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...
christopherrobin

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...
the-spy-who-dumped-me

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...
mi0.0

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...
teentitansgo

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 ...
mammamia2

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 ...
equalizer2

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...
unfriendeddarkweb

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...
Blindspotting-3

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...
skyscraper

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...
eighthgrade4

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-...
The-Night-Eats-the-World

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...
sorrytobotheryou

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,...
antmanandthewasp

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...
uncle-drew

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...
Sicario2

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...
TCWAS

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,...
jurassic_world_fallen_kingdom

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...
incredibles2

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...
hereditary

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...
hearts-beat-loud

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...
wontyoubemyneighbor

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...
adrift

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...
actionpoint

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...
The-Texture-of-falling

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...
upgrade-movie-2018

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...
americananimals

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,...
soloastarwarsstory

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 ...
deadpool-2

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...
On-Chesil-Beach

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...
bookclubmovie

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," ...
rbg

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...
InfinityWar_TA_Thanos

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...
truthordare0413

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...
rampage0413

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...