Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews

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Everything, Everything

C+ | PG-13 | May 19, 2017
If you don't know anything, anything about "Everything, Everything," it's based on a novel for young adults by Nicola Yoon. As a female-written YA novel, it must involve either a post-apocalyptic dystopia (preferably part of a trilogy) or a doomed ro...
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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

D+ | PG | May 19, 2017
Having seen two of the four "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" movies and disliked them both to a great degree, I have diagnosed their problem: they are live-action movies about human beings in the real world when they should be cartoons about talking animals wh...
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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

B | PG-13 | May 12, 2017
English dude-bro Guy Ritchie, having made his mark on the Sherlock Holmes mythos, turns his attention now to a famous Brit who probably actually existed. "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword," which Ritchie co-wrote with Joby Harold and Lionel Wigram, a...
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Snatched

B | R | May 12, 2017
Why aren't there more zany comedies about blond women being kidnapped by human traffickers while vacationing in South America? Seems like a goldmine. Anyway, "Snatched" is here to remedy that lack, to provide Amy Schumer with a follow-up to her break...
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The Lovers

B+ | R | May 5, 2017
Don't let the comparison oversell it, but "The Lovers" is like a Shakespearean comedy soaked in mid-career Woody Allen: urbane, well-acted, and slightly problematic. A sunny farce, albeit one with three-dimensional characters, it tells a story that e...
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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

B- | PG-13 | May 5, 2017
In this week's episode of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, entitled "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," the ragtag group of space-rogues led by self-described "Star-Lord" Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) meets a new friend: Peter's father, played by Special Gue...
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Unforgettable

C- | R | April 21, 2017
Giving a formulaic thriller a title like "Unforgettable" is an act of wishful thinking, but as middlebrow trash goes, this latest entry in the "psycho ex from hell" sub-genre isn't bad. Or maybe it's more accurate to say it's no worse than it's suppo...
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The Promise

B- | PG-13 | April 21, 2017
Stipulated: The Armenian genocide, in which some 1.5 million Armenians were murdered by the Ottoman government (we call it Turkey now) between 1915 and 1922, is underrepresented in history books and in popular culture. Among 20th-century holocausts, ...
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The Fate of the Furious

C | PG-13 | April 14, 2017
The most prominent theme in the "Fast and the Furious" movies isn't family (they didn't come up with that until a few sequels in) but conciliation. Enemies who aren't killed often become friends in the next chapter, their former misdeeds evidently fo...
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Going in Style

D+ | PG-13 | April 7, 2017
What kind of lazy, lowest-common-denominator movie is "Going in Style"? The kind where the one F-word in the script is delivered gratuitously by an old lady who has no other lines, and it's supposed to be hilarious because she's an old lady. An old l...
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Smurfs: The Lost Village

C- | PG | April 7, 2017
The lesson learned at the end of "Smurfs: The Lost Village" is that Smurfette can be anything she wants to be -- a great message for girls! -- while the boy Smurfs will continue to be defined strictly by their one dominant personality trait, which th...
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Gifted

B- | PG-13 | April 7, 2017
"Gifted" is a simple, pleasant drama that engages the emotions without manhandling them. It depicts a child-custody battle yet avoids cheap melodrama and doesn't paint anyone as a villain. It has the glistening falseness of a Nicholas Sparks weepy th...
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The Boss Baby

B | PG | March 31, 2017
"The Boss Baby," starring Alec Baldwin as the voice of a suit-wearing infant sent to an unsuspecting family to fulfill a secret mission on behalf of BabyCorp -- that's the heaven-based company in charge of the world's babies, which are treated like a...
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The Zookeeper’s Wife

C | PG-13 | March 31, 2017
One silver lining to the current political situation is that at least in a few years we'll have some new stories to tell about fighting Nazis. Without diminishing the importance of remembering the Holocaust, I respectfully submit that the films on th...
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Ghost in the Shell

C+ | PG-13 | March 31, 2017
Futuristic cyber-thriller "Ghost in the Shell" is loaded with advanced technology, but it's in the service of a disappointingly basic plot with few surprises. Add to that the bafflingly tone-deaf treatment of racial and cultural issues and you've rea...
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Life

B | R | March 24, 2017
Scientists talk of distant planets that could almost, but not quite, sustain life, lacking some small but essential condition. "Life" (the movie, not the cereal) is a bit like that, an effective sci-fi thriller that would be truly outstanding if it h...
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Power Rangers

C | PG-13 | March 24, 2017
"Power Rangers" is the "Batman Begins" of its franchise, the gritty reboot that tells our heroes' improbably lengthy and self-serious origin story and introduces them to a whole new generation (by which I mean the same generation as before, only 20 y...
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CHIPS

B- | R | March 24, 2017
There's a really funny R-rated buddy-cop movie starring Michael Peña as a reckless law-enforcement officer. It's called "War on Everyone," and it co-stars Alexander Skarsgard. You should see it! There's also "CHIPS," a significantly less funny tho...
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Beauty and the Beast (2017)

C | PG | March 17, 2017
The only way Disney's live-action remake of its own "Beauty and the Beast" works is if you don't compare it to the 1991 animated masterpiece. This is hard to do, though, because 1) you have seen the 1991 animated masterpiece, possibly many times, and...
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The Belko Experiment

D | R | March 17, 2017
As a movie, "The Belko Experiment" prompts the same questions that the experiment it depicts would. What was the purpose here? What were you trying to prove? Do you maybe just enjoy torturing and killing people and wanted to cover your bloodlust with...
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T2 Trainspotting

B | R | March 17, 2017
"Trainspotting," a cult favorite since the moment it arrived 21 years ago, was Danny Boyle's second movie and most of the world's first exposure to Ewan McGregor. Boyle has directed nine more films since then, and McGregor has exposed himself countle...
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The Sense of an Ending

C+ | PG-13 | March 10, 2017
It's nice to see Jim Broadbent in a starring role -- he's been a supporting actor in all but a few of the 90 films he's made -- and his warm presence is a boon to the wispy, high-minded "The Sense of an Ending." But our favorite befuddled British dad...
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Raw (French)

B+ | R | March 10, 2017
It’s fitting that “Raw” begins with a car crash since it, too, is sometimes sickening to watch but impossible to look away from, and you'll be telling people about it long after you saw it. The feature debut by French writer-director Julia Ducourn...
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Kong: Skull Island

B | PG-13 | March 10, 2017
"Kong: Skull Island" is about people barging into a place they've never been before, dropping bombs to see how solid the land is, then acting indignant when the local wildlife responds defensively. It's about humans punishing nature for being nature,...
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Table 19

B | PG-13 | March 3, 2017
In "Table 19," the title piece of furniture is at the back of a wedding reception, past the tables reserved for guests who matter. The outcasts back here are the people who were invited out of obligation on the assumption they wouldn't actually come....
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The Last Word

D+ | R | March 3, 2017
Newspapers, radio stations, relationships -- these are just a few of the things that "The Last Word" focuses on despite not understanding how they work. It's bold to write about things you're unfamiliar with, but that's what first-(and-probably-last)...
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Before I Fall

C+ | PG-13 | March 3, 2017
"Before I Fall" is what would happen if Nicholas Sparks rewrote "Groundhog Day" as a teen-angst melodrama. The same lessons are to be learned, in the same order, only instead of a funny Bill Murray learning them, it's a brooding Zoey Deutch. To be...
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Logan

B | R | March 3, 2017
"Logan" is the third standalone film for Hugh Jackman's knife-fisted X-Men maverick Wolverine, completing the weary trilogy with something fans have long waited to see: Wolverine's adamantium claws slashing through human skulls like they were piñatas...
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Get Out

B+ | R | February 24, 2017
"Get Out" is a feature-length version of the not-quite-joking sentiment among African Americans that the suburbs, with their overwhelming whiteness and cultural homogeneity, are eerie twilight zones for black people. Far from being a one-joke movie, ...
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The Girl with All the Gifts

B+ | R | February 24, 2017
With the post-apocalyptic setting of a young-adult novel and the slavering flesh-eaters of a zombie movie, “The Girl with All the Gifts” is a clever improvement on both genres, offering a rare look at what happens after society is decimated by a cann...
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Collide

B- | PG-13 | February 24, 2017
There is a certain movie formula where an ordinary man must do something illegal and dangerous (usually to save a loved one), but the task goes awry and he spends the next 24 hours running from bad guys (usually drug traffickers), becoming increasing...
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I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore

B | Not-Rated | February 24, 2017
A disaffected title like "I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore" could fit about 75% of Sundance films, but it's particularly apt for the one that uses it, an off-kilter, low-key comedy with violent mood swings and endearing goofball performance...
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The Great Wall

B | PG-13 | February 17, 2017
That long wall they've got over there in China has inspired many stories, some true and some fictional. "This," says the title card at the beginning of "The Great Wall," "is one of the legends." The fantastical nature of Zhang Yimou's first English-l...
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Fist Fight

B- | R | February 17, 2017
Charlie Day has made a name for himself playing frenetic, high-pitched idiots in the "Horrible Bosses" movies and TV's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," so his performance in "Fist Fight" -- as a mild-mannered, reasonably intelligent high school E...
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XX

B- | Not-Rated | February 17, 2017
"XX," named after the chromosomes, is the first horror anthology written and directed entirely by women (not counting that one of the shorts is based on a Jack Ketchum story). That's a worthy achievement, especially in a genre as male-dominated as ho...
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A Cure for Wellness

B | R | February 17, 2017
Gore Verbinski has directed three "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies and "The Lone Ranger," plus "The Ring," "Rango," and "Mousehunt," as well as under-seen gems "The Mexican" and "The Weather Man." With such a varied resume that includes remakes and ...
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The LEGO Batman Movie

B | PG | February 10, 2017
Three years ago, "The LEGO Movie" surprised everyone by being very good despite having the flimsy premise of "What if we made a movie based on a toy?" What we feared would be a cynical feature-length commercial turned out to be a joyful, self-aware c...
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John Wick: Chapter 2

B- | R | February 10, 2017
When last we saw John Wick, at the end of his out-of-nowhere 2014 cult hit, the grudgingly reactivated assassin had avenged, with extreme prejudice, the murder of his dog and the theft of his car and was ready to enjoy retirement again. Alas, it was ...
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Fifty Shades Darker

D | R | February 10, 2017
Fans of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie may have been nervous when they heard the sequel, nonsensically titled "Fifty Shades Darker," would have a different director. I'm kidding, of course; people who liked "Fifty Shades of Gray" don't pay attentio...
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The Space Between Us

B- | PG-13 | February 3, 2017
As wholesome and sappy as a maple tree, "The Space Between Us" is an inoffensive teenage romantic drama, set in the near future, about a boy named Gardner (Asa Butterfield) who is the first person born on Mars, the result of a NASA astronaut's carele...
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Rings

C | PG-13 | February 3, 2017
"The Ring" was my favorite of the remakes of Asian horror films in the early aughts. I'm on the record; I'm a Ring-leader. When Samara the stringy-haired wraith comes out of the TV at the end, there's no convincing me that she can't emerge from the m...
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War on Everyone

B | R | February 3, 2017
John Michael McDonagh's first film, "The Guard," had Brendan Gleeson as a racist, drug-using, rule-ignoring Irish police officer who didn't care about smaller crimes but would put forth some effort when it came to murder. McDonagh's latest, "War on E...
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I Am Michael

B- | Not-Rated | January 27, 2017
In 2007, a prominent gay activist named Michael Glatze produced shocked gasps and not a few eye-rolls by renouncing his homosexuality, declaring himself straight, and becoming a Christian minister. "I Am Michael" covers this juicy story with sympathy...
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Split

B+ | PG-13 | January 20, 2017
"Split," a return to form for once-beloved writer-director M. Night Shyamalan, is a psychological thriller disguised as a kidnapped-girls horror movie. After stifling himself to make the found-footage exercise "The Visit," Shyamalan's distinct style ...
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The Bye Bye Man

D+ | PG-13 | January 13, 2017
If "The Bye Bye Man" feels familiar, it's because you have seen movies before and your brain is capable of forming memories. Congratulations on that! You're more advanced than the people who made "The Bye Bye Man," who thought they were doing somethi...
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Underworld: Blood Wars

C | R | January 6, 2017
"Underworld: Blood Wars" is the fifth entry in the dimly lit, surprisingly resilient vampires-vs-werewolves franchise, but it's the first one where I generally understood what was happening and why. (And that's without having seen part 4!) It's still...
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Hidden Figures

B+ | PG | December 25, 2016
"Hidden Figures" belongs to the feel-good section of Films About Racism, the kind where racism is a problem that can be handled incrementally, with many small victories and bursts of happiness along the way. The violent confrontations and overt hatre...
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Toni Erdmann (German)

B | R | December 25, 2016
The title character in "Toni Erdmann" doesn't exist but is the alter ego of Winfried Conradi (played by Peter Simonischek), a mischievous old jokester who carries a wig and false comedy teeth with him everywhere he goes, just in case. He's a music te...
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Silence

B | R | December 23, 2016
Martin Scorsese works with two of his favorite themes in "Silence" -- Catholicism and violence -- but not in the way he's done in the past. Slowly paced and, yes, often quiet, Scorsese's adaptation of Shusaku Endo's acclaimed 1966 novel has the conte...
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Why Him?

B- | R | December 23, 2016
It's not often that Bryan Cranston and Megan Mullally are the comedic saviors of a movie, but that's 2016 for you. Their years of practice improving sitcoms ("Malcolm in the Middle" and "Will & Grace") enable them to rescue "Why Him?" from abject...
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Patriots Day

C- | R | December 21, 2016
It's hard to narrow it down, but the most damaging mistake in "Patriots Day" might be the choice to focus on a single fictional character but surrounding him with real people. Peter Berg's nakedly manipulative docudrama about the 2013 Boston Marat...
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Assassin’s Creed

D | PG-13 | December 21, 2016
In a just world, the late-December movie starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling, and Brendan Gleeson would be a lush historical epic or period drama. But since the world is garbage, it's "Assassin's Creed," an...
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Passengers

C- | PG-13 | December 21, 2016
"Passengers" sets out on a course for being good, then detours and misses good's orbit before landing clumsily on bad. It's a waste of a rich premise, excellent special effects, and a charismatic cast. And it all could have been avoided with a simple...
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Collateral Beauty

D | PG-13 | December 16, 2016
"Collateral Beauty" is soggy garbage intended to make you cry, but it's so clumsy in its manipulations that you almost feel sorry for it, the way you would if you realized the mugger trying to take your money was holding a fake knife and was actually...
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Fences

B+ | PG-13 | December 16, 2016
As any seasoned pro will tell you, there's a difference between stage acting and movie acting. In the theater, your performance must reach every seat in the house, your physical gestures big enough to be seen from the back row. Film, with close-ups a...
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Rogue One

B- | PG-13 | December 16, 2016
Since the "Star Wars" prequels were successful, beloved by all, and in no way a blemish to the franchise's reputation, the new owners of George Lucas' toybox figured they should make another one. "Rogue One" is Episode 3.9, taking place after "Reveng...
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Office Christmas Party

C+ | R | December 9, 2016
"Office Christmas Party," like many actual office Christmas parties, is poorly organized, runs too long, and isn't as entertaining as it thinks it is. You can't say there weren't red flags, though. That generic title -- clearly a placeholder that the...
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Miss Sloane

B+ | R | November 25, 2016
The title character in "Miss Sloane," played by Jessica Chastain, is a Washington D.C. lobbyist known for her tactical brilliance -- "the smartest operative on the Hill," someone calls her. That's all well and good, but what's truly revealing is when...
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La La Land

A- | PG-13 | December 9, 2016
"La La Land" is a musical from the writer-director of "Whiplash" (my favorite film of 2014), starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, set in Tinseltown, heavily influenced by "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (one of my all-time favorite films). In other wor...
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Jackie

A- | R | December 2, 2016
The first thing we hear in "Jackie" is Mica Levi's groaning, indispensable musical score, which conveys sonically the sensation of having the ground fall out from under you. It accompanies our first sight of Natalie Portman as the newly widowed Jacki...
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Lion

B+ | PG-13 | November 25, 2016
"Lion" is the incredible true story of why you should never have children in India. Based on Saroo Brierley's memoir "A Long Way Home," the film, an inspiring drama that earns tears without jerking them, begins with 5-year-old Saroo (played by a boun...
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Rules Don’t Apply

C | PG-13 | November 23, 2016
Warren Beatty has been thinking about making a Howard Hughes biopic for 40 years, yet somehow the creaky, lurching “Rules Don’t Apply” is what he came up with. Though rife with glossy Hollywood charm, the film is strangely disjointed and unfocused, s...

Bad Santa 2

C+ | R | November 23, 2016
It’s a delicate art, making a film that offends and entertains in equal measure, and “Bad Santa 2” botches it. Where its vulgar 2003 predecessor – with Billy Bob Thornton as an alcoholic, lascivious, safe-cracking department-store Santa – was an enjo...

Moana

B | PG | November 23, 2016
“Moana” is an animated Disney film about a headstrong girl in the middle of the ocean whose kingly, overprotective father fears the world beyond their realm and forbids her from engaging with it. But after singing a song about how she yearns for more...
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Manchester by the Sea

B+ | R | November 18, 2016
Some movies are about people being broken by tragedy and finding a way to carry on. "Manchester by the Sea" is about someone who was broken several years ago, who is now prompted by new circumstances to finally look into the possibility of fixing him...
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The Edge of Seventeen

B+ | R | November 18, 2016
With painful accuracy and often hilarious insight, writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig’s “The Edge of Seventeen” explores the difficulties of being a “difficult” adolescent better than nearly any film of its type. Its authenticity makes it a Rorschach...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

C+ | PG-13 | November 18, 2016
It wasn’t until I watched the Harry Potter prequel “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” that I realized what made J.K. Rowling’s books and the movies based on them work so well, something that’s missing from “FBAWTFT”: children, and a sense of d...
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Bleed for This

C | R | November 18, 2016
There’s been a lot of misinformation out there lately, and we’re starting to see the consequences. For example, it used to be common knowledge that football, baseball, basketball, and auto racing were the most popular sports in America. But someone s...

Shut In

D | PG-13 | November 11, 2016
“Shut In” has some of the right ingredients for a good thriller, but it has them in the wrong proportions. (It also has some ingredients that are just wrong.) When the story’s central mystery is explained, it comes across as ludicrous and unmotivated...
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Arrival

A | PG-13 | November 11, 2016
Dr. Louise Banks, a linguistics expert, knows how important word choice is when she tells her daughter, "I used to think this was the beginning of your story." We hear this at the beginning of "Arrival," accompanied by images of the girl's birth and ...
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Elle (French)

B+ | R | November 11, 2016
"Elle" begins at the end of a rape: Michele Leblanc (Isabelle Huppert), an intense fiftysomething businesswoman, attacked in her home by a masked assailant. Though traumatized (she replays it in her head, sometimes imagining that she successfully fou...
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Doctor Strange

B+ | PG-13 | November 4, 2016
With its trippy inter-dimensional mysticism and heady philosophy, "Doctor Strange" marks the first time in a while that a Marvel Cinematic Universe™ movie has offered anything new to look at or think about. It's yet another origin story (and similar ...
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Hacksaw Ridge

B- | R | November 4, 2016
"Hacksaw Ridge" begins with soldiers being set on fire in slow motion while someone recites Bible-y platitudes in a Southern drawl. In other words, it's a Mel Gibson film, his first opportunity since "Apocalypto," 10 years ago, to depict stoic men be...

The Eagle Huntress (documentary; Kazakh)

B+ | G | November 2, 2016
To see a heartening example of affectionate parents encouraging their daughter to develop her talents even if it flies in the face of masculine tradition, we need look no farther than Mongolia! That’s where “The Eagle Huntress,” a grin-inducing docum...
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Inferno

C | PG-13 | October 28, 2016
Did you like "The Da Vinci Code" and its sequel, "Angels & Demons"? Then don't bother -- wait, you did? Really? Huh. Well, I guess I have good news, then. The third one, "Inferno," is a lot like the first two, but with fewer puzzles and less acti...
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Moonlight (2016)

A | R | October 21, 2016
"Who is you?" That question, phrased in the vernacular of a demographic that is often scorned, ignored, or pitied, is asked more than once in "Moonlight," a quiet, poignant movie about many things, including identity, race, sexuality, poverty, and ma...
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King Cobra

C- | Not-Rated | October 21, 2016
Despite being a true story of jealousy and murder in the world of gay porn, “King Cobra” is neither thoughtful enough to find meaning in it nor seedy enough to turn it into trashy fun. Instead, it’s a blandly watchable but ultimately pointless melodr...
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Keeping Up with the Joneses

C+ | PG-13 | October 21, 2016
In "Keeping Up with the Joneses," a mild, superfluous action comedy, Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher play Jeff and Karen Gaffney, parochial suburbanites who are enchanted by their exciting new cul-de-sac neighbors, Tim and Natalie Jones (Jon Hamm a...
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The Handmaiden (Korean/Japanese)

B+ | Not-Rated | October 21, 2016
One of South Korea's chief cinematic exports is vengeance, and one of its top manufacturers is Park Chan-wook ("Oldboy," "Stoker"), whose 10th film, "The Handmaiden," is a deliciously black-humored erotic thriller about thieves using a long con to bi...
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Boo! A Madea Halloween

C | PG-13 | October 21, 2016
I saw 10 of the 11 movies that Tyler Perry made between 2005 and 2011, then missed the next five (spanning six years -- he slowed down!). So I didn't see it when Madea, the giant sassy Atlanta grandmother who is Perry's signature character, went into...
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In a Valley of Violence

B- | R | October 21, 2016
"I promised my dog I wasn't going to kill anybody on this trip." That's a great thing for a gunman in a Western to growl at somebody who's trying his patience, and Ethan Hawke growls it with aplomb in Ti West's "In a Valley of Violence." You won't be...
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Ouija: Origin of Evil

B+ | PG-13 | October 21, 2016
I "missed" (if that is the right word) the 2014 film "Ouija," based on the pretend-satanic board game beloved by imaginative adolescents since time immemorial. It got almost nothing but bad reviews, and I'll take my colleagues at their collective wor...
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Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

C | PG-13 | October 21, 2016
When "Jack Reacher" came out, in 2012, its box-office performance was only so-so, leading fans to worry that the snappy, raucous action flick wouldn't get a sequel. What a happy day when those fears proved false! And what a sad day when the follow-up...

Christine

B+ | R | October 14, 2016
If you know the name Christine Chubbuck, you also know how her story turned out, as she's one of those unfortunate souls who were only made famous by tragedy. To make a film about such a person is tricky. If the only notable thing about her was a sin...
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The Accountant

B | R | October 14, 2016
Having already played Batman, Ben Affleck now sets his sights on another vigilante superhero: The Accountant! Prepare for number- and bone-crunching justice!* That's not entirely a joke, either. In this tantalizing, mildly ludicrous action drama f...
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Max Steel

C | PG-13 | October 14, 2016
This may come as a shock, but "Max Steel," a film based on a line of toys and dumped into 2,000 theaters without promotion by a small distributor, isn't very good. A retread of every superhero origin story with a dash of "Transformers" thrown in, thi...
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Kevin Hart: What Now?

B- | R | October 14, 2016
"Kevin Hart: What Now?" is the comedian's fifth stand-up film since 2009 (the third to be released theatrically), comprising a total of around 6 1/2 hours of stage time. That's an extraordinary amount of new material for one comedian (there's no over...
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The Birth of a Nation

B | R | October 7, 2016
The greatest accomplishment of Nate Parker's "The Birth of a Nation" might be reclaiming that title from the important and influential but irredeemably racist "Birth of a Nation" released 101 years earlier. That "Birth" said blacks and whites could n...
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The Girl on the Train

C+ | R | October 7, 2016
"The Girl on the Train" is feel-bad misery porn that desperately wants to be "Gone Girl" but lacks that story's surprises and cathartic, twisted resolution. Based on Paula Hawkins' bestselling novel and directed by Tate Taylor ("The Help"), this drea...
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Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life

B- | PG | October 7, 2016
As preteen fare goes, "Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life" is better than its bland, glib title, with some heart and soul beneath its pour-paint-on-the-principal shenanigans. Amid the cliches, it manages a neat trick or two. Rafe (Griffin G...
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The Greasy Strangler

B | Not-Rated | October 7, 2016
The makers of "The Greasy Strangler" won't be offended when I say that it's not a film so much as an endurance test, an intentionally off-putting anti-comedy meant to try the patience even of people who like this sort of thing. It's about Big Ronnie ...
Deepwater Horizon’ film – 2016

Deepwater Horizon

C+ | PG-13 | September 30, 2016
This week's dramatization of a recent disaster is "Deepwater Horizon," in which director Peter Berg ("Lone Survivor," "Battleship") tells how the offshore-drilling rig went kablooey in April 2010, killed 11 people, and eventually dumped 210 million g...

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

B | PG-13 | September 30, 2016
Tim Burton directed "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children," and while it's a perfect fit for the whimsically macabre filmmaker, he doesn't do much to make it his own. No, the bulk of the story's Halloweenish delights come straight from the Ran...
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American Honey

B+ | R | September 30, 2016
"American Honey" won't make you feel very hopeful about The Kids These Days, but it may fill you with compassion for a generation of unwanted young Americans left to fend for themselves in a cratered economy and a collapsed middle class. With a pe...
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Queen of Katwe

C+ | PG | September 23, 2016
"Queen of Katwe" is a mild Disney film telling the true story of a slum-dwelling Ugandan girl who becomes a chess master (mistress?). Directed by the esteemed Mira Nair, a sensitive chronicler of cultural conflicts ("Monsoon Wedding," "The Namesake")...

The Magnificent Seven

B+ | PG-13 | September 23, 2016
Except for some slightly more graphic violence and language than its forebears used to get away with, the new version of "The Magnificent Seven" is a Western in the old-fashioned style. That's mostly a compliment, though not entirely. With its shooto...
myblindbrother

My Blind Brother

B | R | September 23, 2016
As a general rule, we do not make jokes at the expense of the handicapped. The bitterly funny, just-sweet-enough "My Blind Brother" gets away with it because the jokes aren't about his blindness per se, and because the vision-impaired gentleman in qu...
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Bridget Jones’s Baby

B- | R | September 16, 2016
"Bridget Jones's Baby," in which our favorite diary-keeping singleton has a (spoiler alert) baby, begins with Ms. Jones (Renee Zellweger) alone on her 43rd birthday, listening to "All By Myself." This tells us two things: that the music choices in th...
snowden

Snowden

C | R | September 16, 2016
"Snowden," the story of a man blowing the whistle on a secret government surveillance program, seems like a perfect match for Oliver Stone, a paranoid moonbat who loves a good rant. Yet his docudrama about Edward Snowden is restrained, almost dispass...
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Blair Witch

B- | R | September 16, 2016
Not that "The Blair Witch Project" needed a sequel, but if had to get one, the team of director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett were a good choice. They've made a handful of intense horror features in the last six years, including "You're Next"...