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CrAiGeR's REVIEW ARCHIVES

All of CrAiGeR's full-length reviews of contemporary films since Jan 2004

 

 

CrAiGeR's FOUR STAR REVIEWS

Listing of every FOUR STAR review that CrAiGeR has ever written (excludes retro-reviews)

 

 

CrAiGeR's WORST REVIEWS

Listing of every one and a half star or lower review that CrAiGeR has ever written

 

 

CrAiGeR's RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW ARCHIVES

CrAiGeR revisits classic films from

the past

 

 

CrAiGeR's YEARLY BEST/WORST LISTS

CrAiGeR dishes out his TEN BEST and TEN WORST films for every year since 2000

 

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN MOST OVER-RATED FILMS OF ALL-TIME

CrAiGeR unleashes his list of ten films that he felt did not deserve universal fan accolades and critical praise.

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN MOST INFLUENTIAL FILMS OF THE LAST 25 YEARS 

CrAiGeR ruminates on ten films he feels most directly influenced the business and making of movies since 1986.

 

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 2000's

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 1990's

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 1980's

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 1970's

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 1960's

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 1950's

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 1940's

 

 

 

 

 

 

A QUIET PLACE (PG-13) jjj1/2

Silent Movie

Something very special happened to me during my screening of the new sci-fi horror thriller A QUIET PLACE. For the first time in my twelve years as a film critic I was able to watch a movie in a jam packed cinema with an audience that remained virtually silent throughout its running time.  That's a large part of the ethereal power of director John Krasinski's mercilessly eerie and uniquely potent film...

Posted April 16, 2018

BLOCKERS (R) jjj

A teen sex comedy that's cock of the walk

Based on the one trailer that I saw for BLOCKERS beforehand, I had absolutely zero desire to screen this film.  On a pure surface level, this teen sex comedy delves into material that's been so overdone and has become pretty stale for the genre over the years - a group of ultra horny high school students desperately try to become adults and lose their virginity during prom night...

Posted April 16, 2018

PROUD MARY (R) j1/2  

Nothing to be boastful of here

PROUD MARY pulls an annoying game of bait and switch with audiences that's tipped off as early as its opening credit sequence.  This introductory montage has the look, sound, and feel of a 1970's exploitation film, which initially had me hooked.  Unfortunately, and within a few minutes into the film, it becomes abundantly clear that PROUD MARY is neither set in the 70's, nor does it cheekily embrace its blaxploitation roots...

Posted April 16, 2018

READY PLAYER ONE

(PG-13) jj1/2  

Would you like to play a game?

Steven Spielberg's READY PLAYER ONE - adapted from the popular 2011 novel of the same name by Ernest Cline - often feels like a video game with gloriously and beautifully rendered cut scenes that regrettably has somewhat lackluster gameplay.  For the uninitiated, it may feel like an odd analogy to use video games to describe a movie, but READY PLAYER ONE - both in silver screen and book antecedent form - is a massive homage filled love letter to both the games and cinema of 1980's...

Posted April 6, 2018

THOROUGHBREDS (R) jjj1/2

A pure bred black comedy/thriller

Cory Finley's ultra black comedy thriller THOROUGHBREDS is about entitled women of wealth and privilege that are so bored and lacking in empathy towards other people around them that they begin to harbor murderous thoughts.  The playwright turned director has crafted a debut film that feels like a play in terms of structure, tone, and pacing, not to mention that he allows dialogue to propel scenes forward from one intriguing moment to the next...

Posted April 6, 2018

PACIFIC RIM UPRISING

(PG-13) j1/2  

It's time to to cancel the apocalypse

PACIFIC RIM UPRISING is a wholly unnecessary and carelessly unimaginative sequel to the Guillermo del Toro 2013 directed post apocalyptic sci-fi thriller involving giant man piloted robots that battle even larger monsters to ensure the protection and survival of the human race.  I thought that the first film in this series embraced the lunacy of its wacky premise while regrettably taking it all a bit too seriously...

Posted March 31, 2018

UNSANE (R) jjj1/2

iNSANE

I’m not sure what’s more fascinating and amazing about UNSANE: (1) That a veteran A-list Oscar winning filmmaker like Steven Soderbergh - fresh out of self-imposed retirement - shot this film using nothing but an iPhone or (2) that - in spite of 1 - his film still packs a potent visceral punch as a psychological thriller that also has his esoteric fingerprints all over it.  Once again, as he normally does, Soderbergh commits triple duties here as director, director of photography, and editor...

Posted March 31, 2018

TOMB RAIDER

(PG-13) jjj1/2

Run, Lara, Run!

 

I think it’s important for film critics to use relative benchmarks when rating films and not universal ones.  For example, when I give JOHN WICK a 4 star rating I'm not implying that it's as good as, say, a 4 star rated drama like CITIZEN KANE; rather, that Keanu Reeves flick was a 4 star action thriller...

 

Posted March 23, 2018

LOVE, SIMON (PG-13) jjj1/2

A love story for everyone

I've been noticing that an awful lot of filmgoers and critics have been comparing the new high school/coming of age comedy LOVE, SIMON to the films of John Hughes.  I find such analogies to be somewhat odd and illogical.  The film - based on Becky Albertalli's SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA - is just as shrewdly written, well acted, and crowd pleasingly funny as the best of the Hughes' body of work, but, last I checked, the late director's most iconic adolescent themed films never had homosexual protagonists...

Posted March 23, 2018

A WRINKLE IN TIME (PG) jj

Lost in space

Disney's latest live action fantasy A WRINKLE IN TIME - alongside recent examples from the studio like TOMORROWLAND and THE BFG - is yet another example of a high concept effort that gets severely undermined by a lackluster overall execution.  Based on an apparently unfilmable 1962 novel of the same name by Madeleine L'Engle (unread by me)...

Posted March 17, 2018

DEATH WISH (R)  zero stars

A remake that aims very low 

 

Eli Roth’s DEATH WISH - a remake of the 1974 Charles Bronson starring original - is not only an incredibly ill timed and wholly unnecessary movie, but it's also a numbingly sleazy one as well.  It’s sleazy for wanting to have thoughtful commentary about guns, gun violence, and vigilante justice, but only ends up celebrating its “hero’s” carnage and making him “cool."   To drive the latter point home, he's showcased in nifty montages that have AC/DC blaring on the soundtrack for added shallow effect...

 

Posted March 17, 2018

RED SPARROW (R) jjj

Two Lawrences for the price of one

As far as Cold War themed espionage thrillers go, RED SPARROW is perhaps more grippingly atmospheric, sexual graphic, shockingly and sadistically violent, and sinisterly plotted than just about any other of its kind that I've seen.  This Russian spy game genre effort will draw obvious comparisons to last year's sensational ATOMIC BLONDE, which was based on a graphic novel and celebrated its wanton neon colored Regan era trashiness like a badge of honor...

Posted March 12, 2018

MUTE 

(No MPAA Rating) j1/2  

Then we take Berlin

 

Very few filmmakers have come dashing out of the gate with as much confidence and creativity in their first two films than Duncan Jones.  His 2009 ultra low budget sci-fi thriller MOON marked an audacious beginning for his career, and he subsequently followed that up with 2011's trippy mind bending time traveler themed SOURCE CODE, which I thought was even better than his debut effort...

 

Posted March 12, 2018

ANNIHILATION (R) jjj

Thoughtful sci-fi isn't extinct

 

In a relative age when compelling speculative science fiction is an increasingly rare commodity at the cinemas, I wholeheartedly welcome in open arms genre efforts like ANNIHILATION, which is another thematically strong and viscerally immersive sci-fi film from writer/director Alex Garland, whom previously made a large splash with his superlative Oscar winning directorial debut in EX MACHINA and, before that, made a niche for himself penning SUNSHINE and 28 DAYS LATER. ...

 

Posted March 6, 2018

EARLY MAN (PG) jjj1/2

GOOOOOOOAAAAAAL!!!

The opening section of EARLY MAN - the latest Aardman animation studio produced and Nick Park directed stop motion film - is as spectacularly silly as any I've seen as of late.  It shows the extinction event that wiped dinosaurs off of the planet and how, via that event, mankind discovered a love of soccer.  Wait...what?!  Not joking...

Posted March 6, 2018

GAME NIGHT (R) jjj1/2

Not your typical get-together

I love having game nights myself. I play a mean game of Pictionary, and usually get very caught up in the singular pleasure of getting a teammate to properly guess what I'm drawing, especially when it's more obscure.  I do, however, remember vividly when I was given a "cyclops" to draw, and seeing as a minored in Fine Art in university I thought that this would be a slam dunk.  I mean, who doesn't know what a cyclops is...

Posted March 6, 2018

BLACK PANTHER 

(PG-13) jjj1/2

WAKANDA FOREVER!!!

BLACK PANTHER is certainly not the first major Hollywood studio super hero film featuring a black lead character (that honor goes to 1998's BLADE, which also spawned a trilogy and helped usher in the notion that Marvel Comics based silver screen outings could be popular and profitable)...

Posted February 24, 2018

THE 15:17 TO PARIS (PG-13) j1/2

A sluggish dramatic train to nowhere

No word of a lie, but at around the 45 minute mark of my screening of Clint Eastwood’s THE I5:17 TO PARIS I turned to my friend and depressingly said, “This movie feels like THE ROOM, but with a vastly larger budget and an Oscar winning director at the helm.”  That's ultimately telling and sad, seeing that I had no idea that an 87-year-old industry veteran that has directed films for a better part of five decades was capable of making something as soul crushingly dull and frequently amateurish such as this...

Posted February 24, 2018

THE POLKA KING

(No MPAA Rating) jjj

The greatest scandal...in polka history

The new Netflix comedy THE POLKA KING tells a fact based narrative about a Polish American polka band leader named Jan Lewan, whom during the 1990's was driven by the power of attaining the American Dream, albeit via deplorably unethical and illegal ways.  Now, the premise of a polka singer, beloved by many in his tight fanbase and inner circle, actually becoming a lecherous crook because he simply couldn't help himself is material that seems ripe for comedic exploration...

Posted February 19, 2018

PHANTOM THREAD (R) jjjj

PTA's finely tailored period romance

It may sound beyond strange to say this, but Paul Thomas Anderson is one of my favorite directors that has made a fair number of films that I have not liked...at least as much as other have.  When he burst onto the movie scene in the 90s with films like HARD EIGHT and especially BOOGIE NIGHTS (still his best film) and MAGNOLIA (his second best), I honestly thought we were witnessing the birth and growth of one of the most singularly talented American directors in some time.  Then came strange experimental pictures...

Posted February 19, 2018

THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX

(No MPAA Rating) jj

A mystery box not worth opening

Looking back on the first CLOVERFIELD film from 2008 and it's hard to overstate, in retrospect, what a masterpiece it was in terms of movie and viral marketing.  The J.J. Abrams produced and Matt Reeves directed monster invasion thriller was advertised with cryptic and compellingly vague trailers (the first of which didn't even attach a title to the preview).  Then came 2016's superb sort-of-sequel, sort-of-not-a-sequel 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE...

Posted February 14, 2018

DEN OF THIEVES (R) jjj

In the 'HEAT' of the night

I'm typically a real sucker for crime/heist films, even ones as blatantly derivative as DEN OF THIEVES, which appropriates the look, tone, feel, and story arcs of Michael Mann's 1995 masterpiece HEAT.  As I walked out of my screening of it I thought that there's a reasonable claim to be made that this latest cops and crooks action thriller is a pretty copy and paste remake of Mann's iconic film in multiple respects...

Posted February 14, 2018

THE SHAPE OF WATER (R) jj1/2

Beauty and the aquatic beast

I'll begin my review of the new period fantasy THE SHAPE OF WATER by saying this:  Writer/director Guillermo del Toro is a supreme cinematic visualist whose passionate enthusiasm shines through in all of his films.  The Mexican filmmaker has carved out a career of helming one arresting film after another on a level of pure escapist imagery, whether it be BLADE II,  HELLBOY I and II, his Oscar winning PAN'S LABYRINTH, and PACIFIC RIM, and in all of those films the level of innovative and loving craftsmanship on display...

Posted February 14, 2018

MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE

(PG-13) jjj

A pretty WCKD trilogy closer

As far as the very overcrowded and mostly mediocre young adult literary adaptation genre goes, I certainly thought that 2014's THE MAZE RUNNER - adapted from the dystopian sci-fi book series by James Dashner - was a most promising start to an intriguing new film franchise.  That well oiled and consummately directed trilogy opener did a stellar job of harnessing its LORD OF THE FLIES themed narrative about a group of lost boys struggling to escape their mysterious imprisonment through a bafflingly complex labyrinth...

Posted February 5, 2018

I, TONYA  (R) jjjj

A cutting edge biopic

Tonya Harding became a media punching bag over twenty years ago.  She's infamously more well known for being linked to an attack - perpetrated by her then husband and his accomplices - against fellow figure skating competitor Nancy Kerrigan, which occurred just before the 1994 Olympics.  Even though - by her own claims - she was not directly responsible for the attack, she nevertheless had intimate links to those that were and the ensuing scandal rocked the athletic world...

Posted February 5, 2018

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

(R) jjj

Summer's rapture

It would be deceptively easy to label Luca Guadagnino's CALL ME BY YOUR NAME - adapted from the novel of the same name by Andre Aciman - as a gay love story. Yes, the early 1980's set period drama does indeed contain a central romance between two young men, but the pair never once refer to themselves as homosexual...

Posted February 5, 2018

12 STRONG (R) jj1/2

AMERICA...F--K YEAH!!!

To quote its full title, 12 STRONG: THE DECLASSIFIED TRUE STORY OF THE HORSE SOLDIERS is the latest 9/11 themed war drama that contains an utterly fascinating fact based storyline that never comes compellingly alive the way it wants to.  Based on Don Stanton's non-fiction book THE HORSE SOLDIERS (a better title than the film's), 12 STRONG deals with a previously unknown military triumph that the U.S. had in Afghanistan in direct response to 9/11...

Posted February 1, 2018

HOSTILES (R) jjjj

A trail of tears

 

Writer/director Scott Cooper specializes in films that create a remarkable evocation of time and place while grounding them with characters that have an authentically lived-in weight about them.  You gain the sense that life's hardships have weighed heavily on their souls to the point where spiritual redemption seems unlikely...

 

Posted February 1, 2018

As I proudly do every year, here's a list of TEN REASONS why you should have enthusiastically rushed out to the cinema in the year that was, followed by a detailed listing of every 2017 film that I enjoyed in one form or another.

  

Posted January 25, 2018 / Revised February 5, 2018

THE POST (PG-13) jjjj

The fight for a free press

 

The new historical political thriller THE POST deals with the true story of how the journalists of The Washington Post and New York Times published the Pentagon Papers, classified documents that dealt with previously undisclosed information about U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War as far back as the Truman administration.  The papers revealed that the government systematically lied to both Congress and the American people about enlarging the war effort in Vietnam, even though they realized it was a losing effort at best...

 

Posted January 20, 2018

THE COMMUTER (PG-13) jj1/2 

NON-STOP: PART 2

Every year around this time we get yet another entry in the Liam Neeson takes names and kicks ass action thriller genre, which joyously celebrates the sixtysomething actor giving another thanklessly grounded and committed performance that's centered in an overall narrative that ridiculously - in not entertainingly - flips the bird to earth bound logic.  I'll be the first to admit that I've largely been an apologist of these films...

Posted January 20, 2018

As I bravely do every year, here's a list of TEN REASONS why you should have avoided cinemas like the plague in the year that was, followed by a detailed listing of every 2017 film that disappointed me in one form or another.

  Posted January 13, 2018

MOLLY'S GAME (R) jjjj

Sorkin and Chastain are all in

The timing of MOLLY'S GAME could not have been any better, seeing as this reality based crime drama has been released in a post-Harvey Weinstein Hollywood and contains a story of a fiercely savvy and indomitable career minded woman that - through self-empowerment and gritty determination - becomes a success by having huge power over powerful men...and men that once had power over her...

Posted January 13, 2018

MOLLY'S GAME (R) jj1/2

Rich premise, poor execution

My main issue with Ridley Scott's new fact based crime thriller ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD is that the late breaking story behind the scenes of the making of his film has not only overshadowed it...but it's also more compelling than the final product itself.  Of course, I'm referring to the fact that as the film was nearing release Scott decided to recast Kevin Spacey in one of its more crucial roles...

Posted January 13, 2018

DOWNSIZING (R) jj1/2

Big ideas, small returns

DOWNSIZING represents an absolutely compelling change of pace for Nebraska born and raised writer/director Alexander Payne, whom up until this point in his career has made charmingly idiosyncratic dramedies of a decidedly modest scale (he made one of the best high school comedies of all time in 1999's ELECTION, followed that up with memorably strong observational pieces like SIDEWAYS and THE DESCENDANTS, and recently made the sublime NEBRASKA in 2013)...

Posted January 7, 2018

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

(PG-13) jj

There's a sucker born every minute

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN is, as far as musicals and biopics go, so trivially soft pedaled and rose covered that it almost feels like the movie screen that it was projected on was sprayed with disinfectant.  Engineered for maximum crowd pleasing entertainment value while wholeheartedly ignoring some of the sketchier aspects of its subject matter's life and legacy, the film comes off more as a saccharine TV movie of the week than it does a sprawling and epically staged musical worthy of its budget, scale, and stars...

Posted January 7, 2018

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

(PG-13) jjj

We got fun and games...

I'm not sure whether I should be shocked, embarrassed, or a strange combination of both by how much I enjoyed - to quote its full title - JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, the long awaited sort of sequel, sort of franchise reboot of the 1995 Robin Williams starring original.  There has been a loyal contingent of fans out there that have coveted that 27-year-old film, which represented, for its time, a cutting edge CGI-infused fantasy action spectacular...

Posted January 7, 2018

BRIGHT (R) jj

A dull infusion of cop thriller and fantasy

The ironically titled BRIGHT is a would-be compelling genre mishmash effort that's so dull and uninspired in terms of execution that you have to wonder where its near $100 million budget went.  Netflix's most expensive feature film in their history was able to use that capital to nab a high marquee star and director in Will Smith and David Ayer away from theatrical productions and to the streaming service, and the end results clearly reveal that their talents were never fully utilized...

Posted January 7, 2018

DARKEST HOUR (R) jjj1/2

Never, never, never give up

 

It's positively baffling to consider that Gary Oldman - one of our greatest living actors - has never won an Academy Award.  Even more shocking is the fact that he has only been nominated once during his entire illustrious career, one that has seen the chameleon-like thespian play roles as varied as Sid Vicious, Lee Harvey Oswald, Beethoven, Count Dracula, and Commissioner Gordon, just to name a few...

 

Posted January 7, 2018

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

(PG-13) jj1/2

A disturbance in the Force

Reviewing any STAR WARS movie has always been difficult for me, mostly because I have a painfully thorny task of placing myself within a tightly sealed critical bumble apart from my obsessive fandom of this series, which began as soon as I was relatively out of diapers.  Part of my vocal disappointment for the first Disney helmed entry in this iconic space fantasy saga...

Posted December 21, 2017

THE DISASTER ARTIST (R) jjj1/2

Finding cinematic success in absolute failure

 

Like Tim Burton's ED WOOD before it, the infectiously entertaining THE DISASTER ARTIST is a fact based comedy about a spectacularly awful filmmaker that also happens to be spectacularly passionate about making films, despite his genuine lack of talent.  Of course, I'm talking about the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau, the writer, director, producer, star and financial backer of the 2003 drama THE ROOM, a film that took me three tries to get through, but once finished I realized what a special class of aggressive mediocrity it achieved..

.

Posted December 18, 2017

GOOD TIME (R) jj1/2

Ironically titled

I have to be completely honest upfront in this review:  Robert Pattinson has never been an actor that I would describe as having any level of range and/or charisma; I've rarely liked him in anything.  Watching GOOD TIME, though, has forced me to re-evaluate that stance, seeing as former sparkly vampire heartthrob from TWILIGHT so fully immerses himself in his role here of a lowlife criminal that memories of Stephanie Meyers' laughably awful young adult series is all but forgotten...

Posted December 18, 2017

LADY BIRD (R) jjjj

Youth is wasted on the young

There have been many coming of age films that have traversed the life and times of an adolescent going through a tumultuous year in school, but very few are as exceptionally well written, flawlessly acted, and authentically rendered as LADY BIRD.  Written and directed with great observational honesty by Greta Gerwig - making her solo directorial debut - the film deals with a rather troubled young girl as she tries to make it through her final year at her Catholic high school...

Posted December 12, 2017

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (R) jjjj

To catch a killer

Martin McDonagh's intoxicating and masterfully constructed THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI is one of the better films that I've seen as of late that's able to seesaw rather delicately and confidently between emotionally ravaging drama and ultra black comedy.  It's a film punctuated by multiple flawed and tortured characters - in one form or another - that coalesce together and are forced head on to deal with their own respective baggage...

Posted December 12, 2017

INGRID GOES WEST (R) jjj

#InstaStalker

Social media is a fundamentally powerful force in modern culture, especially as a mass communication medium.  However, it also has a decidedly macabre underbelly as a highly dangerous force of ill will when utilized by the wrong people, which is precisely the main message contained within the exceedingly bleak black comedy INGRID GOES WEST, which concerns a fanatically and clinically sick woman that goes well beyond normal means to become friends with another woman that she's been essentially stalking online via her Instagram page...

Posted December 6, 2017

TULIP FEVER (R) j1/2

A dramatically wilted period romance

Very few period dramas featuring Academy Award winners both in front of and behind the camera are as criminally dull and amateurishly constructed as TULIP FEVER.  This laughably wrongheaded film stars the likes of Oscar winners Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz, and Judi Dench and is written by Tom Stoppard (who won a Best Screenplay Oscar for SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE decades ago) and finds very few ways to properly harness their not so inconsiderable talents...

Posted December 6, 2017

WONDER (PG-13) jjj1/2

Never judge a book by its cover

When I stop and think about how eye rollingly sentimental and shamefully manipulative WONDER could have been under the wrong direction it literally makes me shiver.  Here's an uplifting and inspirational coming of age family drama - based on the 2012 novel of the same name by R.J. Palacio - that concerns a 10-year-old boy that suffers from a socially distancing congenital disorder that has horribly deformed his face...

Posted November 30, 2017

JIM AND ANDY: THE GREAT BEYOND

(No MPAA rating) jjj1/2

"Thank you very much!"

Nearly twenty years ago when I heard that Jim Carrey was going to be playing Andy Kaufman in the Milos Forman directed biopic MAN ON THE MOON it felt like a cinematic marriage made in heaven.  Kaufman himself made a huge and notorious name for himself as a cult comic until his cancer related death in 1984, whose absurdist antics on shows like TAXI, SNL and appearances on Late Night with David Letterman were largely well ahead of their time and the stuff of performance art legend...

Posted November 30, 2017

JUSTICE LEAGUE  

(PG-13) jjj

Super friends united

There are two distinct ways that I could sum up my thoughts about JUSTICE LEAGUE, the long awaited super hero team up film and fifth entry in the DC Extended Universe.  The 10-year-boy in me that plays with action figures and reads comic books unequivocally loved JUSTICE LEAGUE.  It's a living manifestation of my wildest childhood fantasies come thrillingly to life...

Posted November 25, 2017

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS  

(PG-13) jjj

Everyone's a suspect

There have been so many countless Agatha Christie inspired whodunit murder mystery movie thrillers over the decades that one has to wonder whether or not a literal adaptation of the author's literary work, at this stage in the cinematic game, is even creatively worthwhile.  Her 1934 classic novel MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS has been appropriated on the silver screen before, most famously in the Sidney Lumet directed 1973 version, not to mention a 2001 made for TV iteration...

Posted November 20, 2017

DADDY'S HOME 2 (PG-13) jj

A sluggish homecoming

Outside of massive paydays for all involved, I'm frankly stumped as to why anyone thought that DADDY'S HOME 2 was a sequel worth exploring. It's the follow-up film to 2015's sort-of-okay, but sort-of-mediocre Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg revenge comedy featuring a pair of dads - one a biological father and the other a stepfather - ferociously waging war on one another for the ultimate affection of their family members...

Posted November 20, 2017

THOR: RAGNAROK  

(PG-13) jj1/2 

The god of thunder...ous quips

In my original review of the first THOR movie - a Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise installment that I was in the minority for greatly enjoying - I spoke of what a thanklessly difficult job Chris Hemsworth had in playing the titular character: Too much self aware camera mugging and the Norse God would approach levels of high camp, but a performance too needlessly solemn and the character would be a monotonous bore...

Posted November 14, 2017

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US

(PG-13) jj 

A mountain of survival drama clichés

There are only two things that help elevate the new outdoor survival/romance drama THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US above the moniker of a cheaply disposable and utterly forgettable TV movie of the week: (1) The committed performances by stars Kate Winslet and Idris Elba that work relative wonders with such relatively mediocre material and (2) it contains a few moments of natural beauty that looks sensational on the silver screen...

Posted November 14, 2017

SUBURBICON (R) jj

Pleasantville it ain't

SUBURBICON is a new black comedy/social satire that's constantly at war with itself.  The problem with this film is not that it lacks narrative and thematic ambition, but rather that it has no idea whatsoever how to marry all of its discordant tones and story threads smoothly together to create a unifying and meaningful whole...

Posted November 7, 2017

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE 

(R) jjj

A war on the homefront

Movies about the hellishly brutal nature of war and combat and the effects that it has on soldiers after they leave the battlefield and return home are not only a relative dime a dozen, but are also a very tricky genre to pull off effectively, mostly because of the overt familiarity with the underlining material...

Posted November 7, 2017

  

 

 

GEOSTORM

(PG-13) 1/2j

 

BATTLE OF THE SEXES

(PG-13) jjj  

 

THE SNOWMAN

(R) j  

 

THE FOREIGNER

(R) jjj1/2

 

THE BOOK OF HENRY

(R) zero stars

 

THE BEGUILED

(R) jjj1/2

 

HAPPY DEATH DAY 

(PG-13 ) jjj

 

BLADE RUNNER 2049 

(R) jjj

 

AMERICAN MADE

(R) jjj1/2

 

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE

(R) jjj

 

STRONGER

(R) jjjj

 

THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE

(PG-13)

jj1/2

 

AMERICAN ASSASSIN

(R) jjj

 

GOON: LAST OF THE ENFORCERS

(R) j1/2  

 

IT (R) jjj

 

GOON: LAST OF THE ENFORCERS

(R) j1/2  

 

ROUGH NIGHT

(R) j1/2   

 

WIND RIVER

(R) jjjj

 

BIRTH OF THE DRAGON

(PG-13) jj

 

THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD

(R) jj

 

LOGAN LUCKY

(PG-13) jjj

 

THE GLASS CASTLE

(PG-13) jj1/2

 

COLOSSAL

(R) jj1/2

 

THE LOST CITY OF Z

(PG-13) jj1/2

 

THE DARK TOWER

(PG-13) j

 

A GHOST STORY

(R) jjjj

 

DETROIT

(R) jjj1/2

 

ATOMIC BLONDE

(R) jjj1/2

 

TO THE BONE

(No MPAA Rating) jjj

 

UNFORGETTABLE

(R) j

 

DUNKIRK

(PG-13) jjj

 

VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS

(PG-13)

jj

 

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES 

(PG-13) jjjj