The Fate of the Furious

C | PG-13 |
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 th...

Gifted

B- | PG-13 |
"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 ...

Raw (French)

B+ | R |
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 fea...

Movie BS with Bayer and Snider #353: ‘Going in Style,’ ‘Coloss...

Rarely does one have the opportunity to hear men in their early 40s discuss the Smurfs. 0:00 – Hello, an iTunes review, discussion of beer ingredients, it’s a bad week for movies 5:20 – “Going in ...

Going in Style

D+ | PG-13 |
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 t...

Smurfs: The Lost Village

C- | PG |
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...

Friday movie roundup – March 31

Happy spring! Here are the reviews I've posted in the last few weeks, in case you missed any precious drops of wisdom. "Beauty and the Beast" (PG) C "The Belko Experiment" (R) D "The Boss Baby" ...

Movie BS with Bayer and Snider #352: ‘Ghost in the Shell,’ ‘Th...

We have this week's movies, plus a little catch-up on last week's. And don't miss "Raw," which is great and has been bothering us for several months. 0:00 - Hello, Jeff has a new beverage, an iTune...

Ghost in the Shell

C+ | PG-13 |
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 trea...

The Boss Baby

B | PG |
"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 char...

The Zookeeper’s Wife

C | PG-13 |
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 Hol...

CHIPS

B- | R |
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! Th...

Life

B | R |
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-f...

Power Rangers

C | PG-13 |
"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 whi...

Movie BS with Bayer and Snider #351: ‘T2 Trainspotting,’ ‘Life...

"Life" (which is a pretty solid alien thriller) screened at the last minute and I haven't written my review yet, so the podcast is your only option for the time being. The rest of the show is also val...

T2 Trainspotting

B | R |
"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 si...

The Belko Experiment

D | R |
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 kill...

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

C | PG |
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 1...

Movie BS with Bayer and Snider #350: ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘...

We disagree on "Beauty and the Beast," which is always good for a laugh. We also talk about new goals and rewards for our Agents (formerly known as patrons) and give away a Blu-ray of "Fences." 0:0...

The Sense of an Ending

C+ | PG-13 |
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 ...

The Last Word

D+ | R |
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 unfamili...

Movie BS with Bayer and Snider #349: ‘Kong: Skull Island’

"Kong: Skull Island" is our only new film this week, so the show's shorter than usual. It's the normal width, though.  0:00 - Hello; Jeff keeps showing movies to his kid; Eric had to steer a 10-yea...

Kong: Skull Island

B | PG-13 |
"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...

Friday movie roundup – March 3

Greetings, friends (and others). Here are the reviews that I've secreted from my review orifice over the last few weeks, in descending order of quality: "Get Out" (R) B+ "The Girl with All the Gif...

Table 19

B | PG-13 |
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 obligat...

Logan

B | R |
"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 sl...

Before I Fall

C+ | PG-13 |
"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 le...

Crooked Scoreboard: Everything from January and February

Crooked Scoreboard is a sports-and-culture website that is transitioning to an everything-and-culture website, with yours truly in charge of the movie section (mostly just editing for now; I plan to s...

The Girl with All the Gifts

B+ | R |
••• 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 lo...

Collide

B- | PG-13 |
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 gu...

The Great Wall

B | PG-13 |
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 f...

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore

B | Not-Rated |
••• 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...

Get Out

B+ | R |
"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 f...

Fist Fight

B- | R |
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 m...

XX

B- | Not-Rated |
••• "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 ach...

A Cure for Wellness

B | R |
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." Wi...

Friday movie roundup – Feb. 10

It's a week of Number 2's -- sequels, not poop. (OK, some poop.) Actually, the only one of the three that's better than its predecessor is "Fifty Shades Darker," which gets a D instead of a D-. "The L...

John Wick: Chapter 2

B- | R |
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 ...

Fifty Shades Darker

D | R |
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 w...

The LEGO Batman Movie

B | PG |
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 ...

My 2017 Sundance Film Festival Diary

Listen! Do you smell that? It's the Sundance Film Festival, back for another year of showcasing new independent films and terrorizing the helpless town of Park City, Utah. The mood is slightly mute...

The Space Between Us

B- | PG-13 |
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 bor...

Rings

C | PG-13 |
"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...

War on Everyone

B | R |
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 wh...

January: An Exhaustive Report

Hello there! Quite a month it's been, no? January was a little light on movie reviews due to a perfect storm of factors: - More movies than usual opened without being screened for critics. - More ...

I Am Michael

B- | Not-Rated |
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...

Call Me by Your Name

A- | Not-Rated |
"Call Me by Your Name," a gay coming-of-age romance set at an Italian villa in the summertime (the best possible location for such a story), isn't sexual so much as hormonal. It's not about doin' it; ...

Split

B+ | PG-13 |
"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...

The Bye Bye Man

D+ | PG-13 |
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...

Patriots Day

C- | R |
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 ...

Silence

B | R |
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...

Hidden Figures

B+ | PG |
"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 t...

Underworld: Blood Wars

C | R |
"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. (...

Mormons of Portland! Come watch me talk to the gays!

Portland-area Mormons! Do you want to hear me speak in public about being gay and Mormon, and tell stories on that subject from my BYU and "Snide Remarks" days, and perform some of my fun-time songs o...

Fences

B+ | PG-13 |
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...

Media Inventory: What I Watched and Read in 2016

This will not be on the midterm. This is not valuable information to anyone but me and those who stalk me (hi, Tim!). It's just a list of what I watched and read this year. MOVIES As it happens, I w...

Patreon 2016: The Reckoning

Last November, I launched a Patreon campaign, wherein patrons contribute $1 (or more) per month and I review as many new films as I reasonably can. As we conclude the first full year of this new syste...

2016 films: miscellaneous data

Based on my own research. Additions welcome (@ me), will update accordingly.   Total wide releases: 160 Remakes, reboots, sequels, prequels, and franchises: 45 Based on novels: 19 B...

The Best and Worst Movies of 2016

It has not been a very good year, except for movies. And really, what else matters? THE BEST MOVIES OF 2016 1. "Arrival" I'm not particularly a science-fiction guy, but I know what I love, ...

Everything I wrote in 2016

As a writer, I often write things. I may write many things over the course of a year. For example, in 2016, I wrote these things. Thank you. Movie reviews: HERE. (Sorry they're not sortable. We ne...

Wide releases of 2016: a handy list

The end of the year is a great time for people like me who love lists of things. Here's a list of every wide-release film (600+ screens) that opened in the U.S. in 2016. Movies that opened small in 20...

Moonlight (2016)

A | R |
"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, in...

Passengers

C- | PG-13 |
"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...

Toni Erdmann (German)

B | R |
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...

Friday movie roundup – Dec. 23

Merry Christmas or happy Hanukkah, as applicable! I hope you're spending it with loved ones, or with whomever you prefer to spend holidays with. Here are this week's reviews: "Assassin's Creed" (PG...

Why Him?

B- | R |
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 & Gr...

Assassin’s Creed

D | PG-13 |
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...

La La Land

A- | PG-13 |
"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"...

Manchester by the Sea

B+ | R |
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 ...

Lion

B+ | PG-13 |
"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 th...

Friday movie roundup – Dec. 16

Happy holidays, friends! There's been a lot going on here at EDS.com lately, which we'll get to in a minute. But first, here are all the reviews I've posted since the last update. "Arrival" (PG-13)...

Collateral Beauty

D | PG-13 |
"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 yo...

Rogue One

B- | PG-13 |
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. "Rog...

Miss Sloane

B+ | R |
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...

Office Christmas Party

C+ | R |
"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. Th...

Jackie

A- | R |
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 s...

Yes, EricDSnider.com has had some work done

EricDSnider.com turned 18 this past July, which is fairly old for a website. No surprise it needed a facelift. And now, finally -- only several years after realizing the need for it -- we've delivered...

Rules Don’t Apply

C | PG-13 |
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 Edge of Seventeen

B+ | R |
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 ...

Bad Santa 2

C+ | R |
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, ...

Moana

B | PG |
“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 ...

The Eagle Huntress (documentary; Kazakh)

B+ | G |
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...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

C+ | PG-13 |
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 ...

Bleed for This

C | R |
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...

Shut In

D | PG-13 |
“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 expla...

Elle (French)

B+ | R |
"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 h...

Arrival

A | PG-13 |
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 "Arriva...

Friday movie roundup – Nov. 4

Here are the reviews I've posted recently, arranged in order of quality. (Quality of the movie, I mean. The reviews are uniformly stellar.) -- "Doctor Strange" (PG-13) B+ -- "American Honey" (R) B...

Hacksaw Ridge

B- | R |
"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 ...

Doctor Strange

B+ | PG-13 |
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 ...

King Cobra

C- | Not-Rated |
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...

Inferno

C | PG-13 |
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 t...

Friday movie roundup – Oct. 21

A few good options out there (and on VOD), along with many mediocre ones. -- "The Accountant" (R) B -- "Christine" (R) B+ -- "In a Valley of Violence" (R) B-  -- "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" (...

Boo! A Madea Halloween

C | PG-13 |
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 grandmo...

The Handmaiden (Korean/Japanese)

B+ | Not-Rated |
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 er...

Keeping Up with the Joneses

C+ | PG-13 |
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-d...

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

C | PG-13 |
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 p...

Ouija: Origin of Evil

B+ | PG-13 |
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, a...

In a Valley of Violence

B- | R |
"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...

Kevin Hart: What Now?

B- | R |
"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...