Author's posts

All the Bright Places

“All the Bright Places,” based on the best-selling novel of the same name, is chock full of the kinds of Young Adult tropes that aim to make viewers swoon and soak their hankies with tears. Elle Fanning and Justice Smith are gorgeous together and have lovely chemistry as high school seniors from opposite rungs on …

Continue reading

Corpus Christi

“Each of us is the priest of Christ,” a juvenile detention center priest tells the members of his wayward flock, advice one of them takes very literally to heart in the Polish drama “Corpus Christi.” That young man is Daniel, whom Bartosz Bielenia plays with a commitment that’s both charismatic and haunting. With his chiseled …

Continue reading

Olympic Dreams

The story of how “Olympic Dreams” got made is more compelling than the movie itself. Director Jeremy Teicher, Olympic runner Alexi Pappas and comedian Nick Kroll ran around the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. They’d gotten intimate, behind-the-scenes access through the Olympic Artist-in-Residence program, and their film is a blend of fiction and …

Continue reading

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

Margot Robbie is the most adorable sociopath you’d ever want to hang out and blow stuff up with in “Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).” The sour “Suicide Squad” gave us a little taste of the artist formerly known as Harleen Quinzel in 2016, when she was the Joker’s dutifully …

Continue reading

The Rhythm Section

Blake Lively gives it her all in “The Rhythm Section,” but the movie only meets her halfway. The glamorous star gets grungy for the role of Stephanie Patrick, an ordinary young woman who transforms herself into an international assassin to avenge the killing of her family. Lively previously has shown a yearning not only for …

Continue reading

The Turning

If “The Turning” leaves you screaming, it’ll probably be out of frustration over its abrupt, unsatisfying ending and not the actual frights that precede it. This latest version of Henry James’ classic, oft-adapted novella “The Turn of the Screw” gets a grunge makeover, radiating style and mood in the hands of director Floria Sigismondi. The music …

Continue reading

A Fall From Grace

“A Fall From Grace” is Tyler Perry’s first movie for Netflix, which might suggest a certain amount of polish that’s typically lacking from his prolific filmography. But while the performances are stronger and the narrative is more coherent than you’d see in a “Madea” movie, for example, Perry’s latest still features many of the auteur’s …

Continue reading

Like a Boss

“Like A Boss” is a movie written and directed by men which bears very little resemblance to how women actually relate to each other. The comedy from director Miguel Arteta and writers Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly nestles uncomfortably on the flimsy premise that the powerful founder of a cosmetics empire would go out of …

Continue reading

Spies in Disguise

Source: RogerEbert.com

Bombshell

“Bombshell” depicts, with equal parts bemusement and outrage, the explosion that occurred when the women of Fox News Channel dared to expose the culture of sexual harassment that had prevailed for so long at the cable television juggernaut. More than a year before allegations of abuse and harassment against Harvey Weinstein would spark the #MeToo …

Continue reading

Little Joe

“Little Joe” is a cautionary tale about a mother who’s too busy with work to notice that her teenage son has been infected by the pollen from an evil plant—a plant she designed, named after him and brought home as a gift. Actually, that description makes the movie sound far more bizarre and compelling than …

Continue reading

Charlie’s Angels

“Charlie’s Angels” is the reboot you never knew you needed in your life. As writer, director, producer and co-star, Elizabeth Banks has achieved a tricky (if somewhat inconsistent) balance between reveling in the playful, escapist fun of the original 1970s TV detective series and asserting a wholly necessary and modern feminist vision. Her movie is …

Continue reading

The Report

“The Report” explores an alarming period in our country’s recent history: the CIA’s suspect detention and interrogation program following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Writer/director Scott Z. Burns’ intention is clear in illuminating the complicated and covert strategies employed, but the story he’s telling isn’t a naturally cinematic one. This is a movie about a …

Continue reading

Playing with Fire

It’s clear that we’re entering surreal territory very early on in the family comedy “Playing With Fire” – specifically, from the opening titles. The movie begins with a wildfire raging through a Northern California forest. People are stranded in their cars, roads are clogged, chaos and fear are swirling around with the smoke. The soundtrack …

Continue reading

The Best Films of the 2010s: Mad Max: Fury Road

This feature is a part of a series on the best films of the 2010s, resulting from our ranked top 25, which you can read here. This is #6. “Mad Max: Fury Road,” George Miller’s post-apocalyptic extravaganza, is a visceral thrill full of heart-pounding action sequences and brutally balletic violence. It’s one long chase that’s both …

Continue reading

Terminator: Dark Fate

In a franchise that’s all about traveling to the past and tinkering with the timeline to prevent future tragedies from occurring, it makes perfect sense that the latest “Terminator” movie would engage in some revisionist history of its own. “Terminator: Dark Fate” exists in a world (and IN A WORLD … to borrow from the …

Continue reading

Black and Blue

“Black and Blue” is a B-movie through and through—and that’s actually a compliment. Director Deon Taylor has crafted another muscular thriller, coming out just a few months after the release of the criminally under-appreciated, scream-at-the-screen stalker drama “The Intruder.” He seems to appreciate the lean, direct simplicity of these genres and executes his own vision …

Continue reading

The Current War

It may seem ironic that a movie about electrifying the United States should ultimately be so tedious and forgettable, but such is the state of the delayed and troubled drama “The Current War: Director’s Cut.” The film has that title because it is a different version than the one that premiered two years ago at …

Continue reading

Zombieland: Double Tap

The vast majority of sequels are unnecessary, but “Zombieland: Double Tap” feels particularly so, especially coming out a decade after the original. The first “Zombieland” from 2009 was a lot of fun, with its gleeful balance of gore and snark and a bouncy, self-referential nature. It was a zombie movie that knew it was a …

Continue reading

Harpoon

“Harpoon”: The title is both a noun and a verb, the promise of excitement and the threat of betrayal. It also represents a bit of a running gag in writer/director Rob Grant’s pitch-black comedy, as the weapon in question during the film’s fateful yacht trip is actually a spear gun, and not a harpoon at …

Continue reading