Author's posts

John Lewis: Good Trouble

The documentary “John Lewis: Good Trouble” is a celebration of the ageless octogenarian, tracing his activism from key moments in the civil rights movement of the 1960s through his efforts today to preserve and protect Americans’ ability to vote, which is increasingly in peril nationwide. Director Dawn Porter’s film is an intimate homage to both …

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My Spy

For many of us critics, “My Spy” was the last screening we attended before COVID-19 shut down the world—including our beloved movie theaters. So it’s unexpectedly welcome to revisit the action comedy now and remember that it’s actually pretty entertaining, besides being an inadvertent time capsule of simpler, happier days. “My Spy” originally was supposed …

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Miss Juneteenth

The first time we see Nicole Beharie’s character in “Miss Juneteenth,” a former beauty queen named Turquoise Jones, she’s reminiscing about her pageant glory of yore. She sits alone in her bedroom, unpacking the sparkly tiara and spectacular gown she wore when she won the title: a vibrant explosion of canary-yellow tulle that’s striking against …

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Artemis Fowl

It took 20 years for an “Artemis Fowl” movie to come out, and now that it’s here, the film itself feels like it’s in a hurry to be over already. After cycling through various directors and scripts, getting mired in the Harvey Weinstein morass and postponed following both the Disney/20th Century Fox merger and the Coronavirus …

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Judy & Punch

“Judy & Punch” is about a megalomaniac, self-aggrandizing con man whose primary motivation is riling up his audiences so he can bask in their adoration and applause. He is merciless in the verbal and emotional abuse he inflicts upon the people he supposedly loves, and he has the sociopathic tendency of believing his own lies …

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I’m No Longer Here

“I’m No Longer Here” (“Ya no estoy aqui”) is one of those Netflix movies you’ll wish you’d watched on the big screen. The film from Mexico City-born writer/director Fernando Frias de le Parra is so gorgeously shot and offers such a rich sense of place that it’s always visually compelling, even when the narrative tends …

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Military Wives

Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan do their best to elevate “Military Wives” from a simple tune to a symphony, but the notes just aren’t there on the page. The two stars have a pleasingly prickly chemistry with each other in this familiar, feel-good dramedy from “The Full Monty” director Peter Cattaneo. Like that 1997 …

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Scoob!

Perhaps the most positive result that can come from agreeing to watch “Scoob!” with your kids is that it might inspire them to learn more about Greek mythology. During these dark and troubled times, it’s important to find rays of sunlight wherever you can. Otherwise, “Scoob!” is a frantic jumble of retro kitsch and random …

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Walkaway Joe

“Walkaway Joe” shares its title with the classic, 1992 Trisha Yearwood tune about a mother warning her daughter to stay away from the charming but dangerous young man who’s stolen her heart. (The video features a baby-faced Matthew McConaughey as the titular bad boy, in case you’re curious.) But the song accomplishes more in about four …

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Becoming

“I am from the south side of Chicago,” Michelle Obama explains during an interview in the documentary “Becoming,” which follows the former first lady on her nationwide book tour. “That tells you as much about me as you need to know.” The warm, down-to-Earth accessibility that statement implies is certainly on display throughout the film …

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The Half of It

The pieces may seem familiar in “The Half of It,” but the way Alice Wu assembles them results in a fresh and inspired whole. The writer/director’s queer take on “Cyrano de Bergerac” features several of the kinds of characters we so often see in Young Adult films and novels: hyper-verbal teenagers given to expressing their …

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Bad Education

Pushy parents basking in the reflected glory of driving their kids toward extreme excellence is not exactly a new phenomenon. Long before the college admissions scandal that brought down corporate executives and Hollywood stars alike, the pursuit of academic superiority—real or imagined—has inspired perfectly sensible people to go to insane lengths. The right neighborhood with …

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Lazy Susan

It’s hard to tell how “Lazy Susan” feels about Lazy Susan. Sean Hayes stars as the frumpy, stunted woman and co-wrote the script that follows the title character as she stumbles out of her self-absorbed shell and into the harsh daylight of the real world. Theoretically, Hayes feels affection for Susan, as do co-writers Carrie Aizley and …

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Onward

This originally ran on March 6, and we are re-running because of its early VOD drop. “Onward” springs from a deeply personal place and nestles on a heartbreaking premise: the possibility of being able to spend just one more day with a parent who has passed away. But the high-energy, pop-culture-heavy result feels frantically eager …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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