[A-B]  [C-D]  [E-F]  [G-H]  [I-J]  [K-L]  [M-N]  [O-P]  [Q-R]  [S-T]  [U-V]  [W-X] [Y-Z] 

[ four star reviews ]  [ CrAiGeR's Worst[ 3D Review Archives ]

 

 
 

[ ARCHIVES ]

 
     
 

Total number of print reviews in archive:

1761

 

 

FOLLOW ME

 

 

 

 

 

GREAT jjjj  

GOOD jjj  

FAIR jj  

POOR j 

CRAP zero stars

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE FRONT RUNNER (R) jj1/2 

A flawed political drama with its Hart in the right place 

Politicians having their careers tainted by scandals involving adulterous affairs hardly seems so shocking these days.  In some respects, their professional lives are hardly affected at all.  President Bill Clinton managed to finish two terms as the Commander-in-Chief during the 90s after a much publicized affair, and the current President managed to even get elected after being caught red handed in an embarrassing audio recording condoning sexual assault...

Posted December 11, 2018

BLINDSPOTTING  (R) jjj

An urban dramedy with very few creative blind spots

BLINDSPOTTING is the second film from 2018 alongside Boots Riley's SORRY TO BOTHER YOU that is set in Oakland, California and contains themes of race relations, gentrification, and how the identities of communities are all but being destroyed by corporate interests that are only in it for themselves and to make a quick buck... 

Posted December 11, 2018

GREEN BOOK  (PG-13) jjj1/2

An odd couple of a different color

I can only begin to imagine the pitch meeting for GREEN BOOK: "It's like a reverse engineered DRIVING MISS DAISY meets THE ODD COUPLE...and it'll be a funny, yet sobering take on race relations in segregationist America in the early 60s...and it'll be directed by one half of the team that made DUMB AND DUMBER, KINGPIN, and THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY..." 

Posted December 2, 2018

CREED II  (PG-13) jjj

"I must break you...again!"

At the risk of mixing sports metaphors, 2015's CREED was a real cinematic curveball thrown at audiences, especially to fans of the ROCKY series in general.  The Ryan Coogler directed soft reboot/sequel to the iconic Sylvester Stallone pugilist franchise was far greater than it had any business of being, and it imbued a renewed lease on life for a series that, to be fair, went out on a high note with 2006's ROCKY BALBOA, which in turn came out after a series of so-so to mediocre sequels over the last few decades...

Posted December 2, 2018

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD  (PG-13) jj

A prequel/sequel that needs a spell of enchantment

To quote its full tongue twisting title, FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD is a sequel that seems to have this annoying insistence on pushing me away at an uncomfortable distance instead of luring me in to its expanded upon cinematic universe.  It's the tenth overall film set in the wizard heavy mythological world of HARRY POTTER and the direct follow-up to 2016's FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM...

Posted December 2, 2018

WIDOWS  (R) jjjj

Never send in a man to do a woman's job

Steve McQueen is a filmmaker that seems positively unafraid of subject matter or genre challenge, having seriously wowed me with such diverse film offerings such as 2008's HUNGER (about the 1981 Irish hunger prison strike), 2011's SHAME (about a man dealing with a debilitating sex addiction) and 2013's 12 YEARS A SLAVE (a historical period drama about a New York African American that was kidnapped into slavery in the mid 1850s).  After a far too long absence the British director has returned to the silver screen...

Posted December 2, 2018

THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB

(R) jj1/2 

A tangled web of espionage intrigue

Considering our current Me Too movement era, a cinematic return to THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO series would seem positively fitting.  The franchise was born out of author Stieg Larsson's best selling literary works, which introduced the world to its ferociously empowered female hacker heroine Lisbeth Salander...

Posted November 26, 2018

OVERLORD (R) jjj1/2

Inglourious Nazi zombie hunting basterds

OVERLORD is like an EC Comics/Weird Science tale come lovingly to life.  Its plot concerns a bunch of American soldiers that are dropped in behind enemy lines before D-day and make some ghastly discoveries of Nazi scientific experiments that have re-animated dead soldiers, with the end result resembling what's essentially zombies.  In many respects, OVERLORD is kind of a nice companion piece to, say, Quentin Tarantino's historically sketchy INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS...

Posted November 20, 2018

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY 

(PG-13) jjj

Is this the real life?  Is this just fantasy?

Freddie Mercury came an awfully long way in his relative short life from his time as a college student that worked as a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport in the early 70s.  Of course, I'm referring to the legendary frontman of the British rock group QUEEN, whose music was responsible for nearly a quarter of billion records being sold, which cemented their status as one of the best selling artists and greatest bands of all time...

Posted November 20, 2018

THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN

(R) jjj1/2

The Sundance Kid's swan song

I remember the very first time I saw Robert Redford in a film.  There was a mischievous look in his eyes that was accompanied by a disarming smile.  He gave the impression that he was winking at the camera and, in turn, audience without actually doing so.  I sat back and fully realized what star power meant in this instance, and throughout my life watching Redford's movies I'm constantly reminded of his presence as a screen performer...

Posted November 20, 2018

HUNTER KILLER (R) jj1/2

Hunter Killer!  Qu'est-ce que c'est!

All while watching the new political action thriller HUNTER KILLER I was chiefly reminded that submarines aren't inherently very interesting on a visual level.  With their simplistic shape and relatively slow pace across the screen, there's simply not much dynamism on display, which leaves it up to the director and cast to make what happens inside of the vessel all the more engaging and appealing...

Posted November 10, 2018

SORRY TO BOTHER YOU (R) jjj

This satire can have more than a minute of your time

The new absurdist black comedy SORRY TO BOTHER YOU is one of the strangest films that I've ever seen.  It's a work that - to its credit - defies basic genre classification.  It's part social/cultural satire, part  sci-fi parable, part broad workplace comedy, and part commentary piece about race, class, and capitalism run amok.  The film marks the directorial debut of Boots Riley, the Bay area rapper turned filmmaker, and his first film positively brims with audacious and bizarre originality...

Posted November 10, 2018

HALLOWEEN (R) jj1/2

Same old genre tricks, not enough new treats

It's impossible to understate the relative importance that John Carpenter's 1978 horror thriller HALLOWEEN had on its genre and on the larger movie industry as a whole.  He all but single handedly invented the mad killer "slasher" horror genre all on his own and, for better or worse, went on to inspire an unending number of copycat efforts throughout the 1980s...

Posted November 3, 2018

HOTEL ARTEMIS (R) jj1/2

Almost worth checking in

 

HOTEL ARTEMIS belongs on a list of films that I like to call PWP efforts: ones that have a great premise without payoff.  It's a new cyberpunk futuristic sci-fi thriller from writer/director Drew Pearce (making his feature filmmaking debut), who has devised a mostly unique concept for his dystopian film, which also benefits from a very strong ensemble cast, a swift and assured momentum, and a low-rent vibe and feel that somehow doesn't feel like disposable B-grade junk food...

 

Posted November 3, 2018

FIRST MAN (PG-13) jjjj

For all mankind

FIRST MAN - Damien Chazelle's first film since winning the Oscar for Best Director for 2016's LA LA LAND - tells the story of the build-up to the Apollo 11 moon landing in July 20, 1969, during which time Neil Armstrong famously became the first man to ever step foot on it.  His Herculean feat not only was a momentous moment for all of mankind, but also marked the end of the Cold War inspired space race between the US and Russia...

Posted October 27, 2018

BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE

(R) jjj

Good pulp fiction, but not quite "Royale with Cheese" good

It's amazing to consider that nearly twenty five years after its release that generation after generation of filmmaker are repeatedly still trying to recapture Quentin Tarantino's PULP FICTION lighting in a bottle style.  Directors have endeavored - with intermittent levels of success over the years - to marry Tarantino's brand of ultra violence, swiftly assured and punchy dialogue exchanges, lurid crime elements, and likeably amoral crooks...

Posted October 27, 2018

VENOM 

(PG-13) jj1/2 

"I'm Spider-Man's reckoning!"

The character of Venom - first introduced nearly thirty years ago to the pages of Marvel Comics' Amazing Spider-Man #300  - has fully emerged over that period as not only one of the web crawler's most famous and nightmarish of villains, but also as an extremely popular fan favorite among comic readers.  This, rather predictably, led to an awfully hasty and not fully fleshed out appearance as one of the three chief antagonists in Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN 3...

Posted October 21, 2018

A STAR IS BORN (R) jjjj

An invigorating new lease on an old Hollywood story

I personally find it so achingly difficult to screen every new remake that sees the cinematic light of day as of late.  Unless you have something fresh and revitalizing to bring to the table while maintaining some semblance of faithfulness to the original (my litmus test for good remakes), then what's the point?  And A STAR IS BORN has certainly been made and remade far more times than I sometimes can keep track of...

Posted October 21, 2018

LEAVE NO TRACE (R) jjjj

Into the wild

Writer/director Debra Granik's LEAVE NO TRACE is one of the more quietly understated, but ultimately powerful character dramas that has come out this year, mostly due to her dedicated observational eye as a filmmaker, a finely attuned cast, and a compelling thematic undercurrent about the nature of survival and how parents cope with rearing their children without any conveniences of a modern technological society...

Posted October 21, 2018

LIFE ITSELF (R) jj1/2

A box of chocolates drama

The new drama LIFE ITSELF - not to be at all confused with the documentary of the same name about the life and times of late film critic Roger Ebert - is a multi-generational portrait of people that seem inexplicably drawn together via some twisted form of fate.  It's from writer/director Dan Fogelman, perhaps best known for creating the breakout TV series THIS IS US as well has having penned screenplays for films like CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE and CARS...

Posted October 11, 2018

GOTTI  (R) j1/2

Badfellas

GOTTI is the BATTLEFIELD EARTH of fact based mob dramas.  It simply has no business being as categorically awful as it is.  The film is, of course, based on the life of notorious Italian American New York residing John Gotti, who became one of the most powerful and ruthless mob bosses in the Big Apple's history...

Posted October 11, 2018

THE PREDATOR  (R) j1/2  

"Black!  You son of a bitch!"

 

THE PREDATOR is the fourth film in the science fiction series, coming after the original 1987 John McTiernan directed/Arnold Schwarzenegger starring classic, the not bad/not good 1990 sequel, and the surprisingly well oiled 2010 sequel (not including, of course, some terrible ALIEN VS. PREDATOR spin-off efforts).  Considering that THE PREDATOR (emphasis on THE to help segregate it apart from the introductory installment) has writer/director Shane Black at the helm should equal instant buzz...

 

Posted October 2, 2018

FAHRENHEIT 11/9  (R) jjj

We're on a road to nowhere

According to director Michael Moore, America and its political party system is royally screwed.  Early on in his latest documentary FAHRENHEIT 11/9 he plainly asks viewers one simple and blunt question about the current state of affairs in his home country: "How the fuck did this all happen?"  How, indeed.  Moore has made a career of out making documentaries the push buttons on multiple social/cultural/political ills...

Posted October 2, 2018

MANDY  (R) jjj1/2  

A surreal Cage-ian Death Wish

 

At the risk of sounding pretentious, MANDY is a movie that isn't designed to be passively watched, but rather actively experienced.  I can't think of any other way to relay how to view this action/horror film, which feels like a 1980s Heavy Metal album come to nightmarish life crossed morphed with an intense fever dream.  It's also an unrelentingly gory revenge thriller, but even that basic descriptor doesn't do it much justice...

.

Posted October 2, 2018

ALPHA  

(PG-13) jjj1/2  

A stone age boy and his dog

I engage in no hyperbole whatsoever in saying that there has never been a movie quite like ALPHA about man's relationship with man's best friend.  Yes, there are innumerable examples of canine centric dramas that have delicately and poignantly relayed how owning a pet can be a most special and life changing gift, but ALPHA has much vaster ambitions than that....

Posted Posted October 2, 2018

WHITE BOY RICK  (R) jjj

Diaries of a teenage informant

 

WHITE BOY RICK is a new fact based period crime drama that's painted in extremely familiar gangster genre formulas (down on his luck hoodlum rises above his station in life to become a major criminal player) and a somewhat rushed tone that could have perhaps benefited from a mini-series or long form documentary format.  Yet, it's potently and authentically acted throughout and contains a hook that's most certainly fresh and worthy of cinematic exploration...

.

Posted September 21, 2018

PEPPERMINT  (R) jj1/2

A minty revenge thriller with a bad aftertaste

 

The ridiculously titled PEPPERMINT - taken from, I kid you not, an ice cream flavor - is the fourth revenge porn action thriller that I've seen in 2018 alone, proving that the lurid genre is all the current rage.  It's also the second one I've seen featuring a female protagonist, coming on the heels of Coralie Fargeat's evocatively stylish REVENGE..

.

Posted September 21, 2018

HEREDITARY  (R) jj1/2

Be careful what you pass on

 

HEREDITARY is a new supernatural horror thriller that's a visceral masterpiece in terms of generating nail biting tension, haunting atmosphere, and a chillingly eerie vibe of intrigue throughout.  It contains moments of profoundly unsettling imagery that could aptly be described as Kubrickian.  Tonally and aesthetically, writer/director Ari Aster's feature film debut is astonishingly well crafted, and the manner that he maintains - throughout most of the film's running time - a bona fide nerve wracking tone is to his rookie filmmaking credit...

 

Posted September 21, 2018

BLACKkKLANSMAN  (R) jjjj

Going undercover...the hard way

Writer/director Spike Lee has made a career out of making racially charged dramas that push all kinds of buttons with his unique brand of in-your-face bluntness.  BLACKkKLANSMAN boldly and proudly continues this trend for the acclaimed filmmaker, which finds inspiration in a highly bizarre, yet absolutely real story that's set forty years ago, but somehow manages to hold up a mirror to our current divisive times...

Posted September 11, 2018

THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS

(R) 1/2j

A happy time at the movies...it ain't

In my 43 years on the planet I've never required - nor have ever asked - for any Muppet character to curse up a storm in order to be appealing and funny in a movie.  Not.  Once.  Part of what made, for example, the late Jim Henson's iconic Muppet characters so endlessly endearing was that they were all, in their own respective and unique ways, as charming as any of the human characters that surrounded them...

Posted September 11, 2018

UPGRADE (R) jjj

"Gentleman: we can rebuild him...we have the technology..."

 

The futuristic science fiction thriller UPGRADE is made up of a considerable number of regurgitated thematic parts from countless other past efforts in the genre in terms of man's symbiotic, but strained relationship with machines and AI technology.  It also contains obligatory elements of the revenge thriller thrown in for good measure that we're all seen before...

 

Posted September 11, 2018

SUMMER OF '84 (R) jjj

Stranger things are afoot in small town Oregon

The nostalgically titled SUMMER OF '84 conjures up memories for me of walking to the local video store during my teen years and cruising through the B-grade horror section and seeing a lot of box art that echoes this film's poster.  And I mean that as a sincere compliment.  This Canadian/American production concerns a group of four suburban teens that are amateur sleuths and believe - in their heart of hearts - that one of their kindly neighbors is indeed a vile serial killer of children...

Posted September 11, 2018

MILE 22 (R) j1/2

ESCORT MISSION: THE MOVIE

 

The new espionage action thriller MILE 22 is one of the most frustratingly over-directed and hyperactively edited films that I've seen this year.  It's almost as if director Peter Berg was high on massive quantities of speed while making it, seeing as the resulting film is so headache inducing and eye straining that cinemas should be handing out Aspirins to patrons after they exit their screenings of it...

 

Posted August 30, 2018

THE MEG  

(PG-13) jjj

Somewhere...beyond the...deep blue sea

 

THE MEG takes its name from the "Megaldon," a 75 foot long prehistoric shark the size of a whale.  It's an action thriller about of group of intrepid and courageous scientists that take on this aquatic menace to ensure that it doesn't lay waste to the rest of humanity that likes to reside on beachfront property.  It's also based, so I've been told by many, on the 1997 novel of the same name by Steve Alten, and as to whether or not it's a faithful appropriation of the source material I couldn't say...

 

Posted August 30, 2018

EIGHTH GRADE (R) jjjj

Growing pains

There have seen an awful lot of movies about high school life, but so very few that have dealt with the awkward and sometimes anxiety plagued transition that kids make while moving from elementary to high school, which is what makes writer/director Bo Burnham's very specifically titled EIGHTH GRADE so ultimately invigorating for an extremely over packed genre...

Posted August 30, 2018

LIFE OF THE PARTY (PG-13) jj

BACK TO SCHOOL...redux

I'm literally going to start my review of the new Melissa McCarthy led college comedy LIFE OF THE PARTY in the exact same manner as I did when I opened my review of her last comedy THE BOSS: I donít hate Melissa McCarthy.  I really donít, contrary to what many of you may think.  Sheís talented.  That much is clear...

Posted August 30, 2018

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN  

(PG) jjj

A bear named Winnie

 

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN is the kind of sweet and good natured family film that are simply not made in abundance anymore.  Dripping with good natured and infectious charm, the latest live action Disney effort (seeking inspiration from one of their classic and iconic animated films) reminds viewers of the enjoyable virtues of simply told fables, and ones done without any semblance of annoying cynicism or forced edge...

 

Posted August 17, 2018

THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS  

(PG-13) jjj1/2

You couldn't possibly make this up

I want you all to tap into the recesses of your imaginations to help me set up the new documentary THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS.  Close your eyes:  Imagine, if you would, that you're a bright and eager minded teenager about to attend your very first day of college.  As a brand new student for the academic year you enter into post-secondary studies knowing...that you know nobody at this school...

Posted August 17, 2018

THE RIDER  (R) jjjj

A western drama from a different prerogative

I've seen so many countless permutations of the western genre over the years that I've frankly lost count, but THE RIDER is in a whole other ultra rare breed altogether.  Just how ultra rare, you may ask?  It's a genre busting effort featuring indigenous cowboys from reservations starring non-actors playing semi-fictionalized versions of themselves who are all directed by a female Chinese filmmaker...

Posted August 17, 2018

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT  

(PG-13) jjjj

An impossibly great sequel

This really, really shouldn't be happening.  Every fiber of my film critic being is telling me otherwise, but this fifth MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE sequel - defying all odds and past cinematic precedents - has triumphantly emerged as arguably the very best entry in twenty-plus year old espionage series, something that I've been finding myself saying rather inexplicably and somewhat impossibly when every new sequel hits theaters...

Posted August 8, 2018

THE EQUALIZER 2 (R) jjj

The sequalizer   

THE EQUALIZER 2 has a sensationally effective opening sequence.  During it we are re-introduced to ex-CIA agent turned big box store employee turned revenge dispensing machine Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) disguised as a devout Muslim traveling through Turkey via high speed train.  Don't ask...just hear me out...

Posted August 8, 2018

I FEEL PRETTY (R) j1/2

I feel cheated

I FEEL PRETTY is a new comedy with awfully sweet and honorable intentions in terms of its core message and themes, but the manner with which it executes them is kind of maddeningly sloppy and counterproductive.  Without question, this latest Amy Schumer starring vehicle - via its somewhat high concept narrative - advocates a message of believing in oneself and the overall importance of having inner self confidence...

Posted August 8, 2018

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP  

(PG-13) jj1/2

Larger scaled sequel nets tiny returns

Considering the galactic solemnity and unfathomably dire stakes at the climax of the very recently released AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, one could easily argue that a return to the frivolous merriment of the ANT-MAN films would feel like relative comfort food right about now...

Posted July 29, 2018

THE FIRST PURGE  (R) jj1/2 

A prequel cleansing

I will never feel bad - nor will I ever apologize - for enjoying a majority of THE PURGE movies.  No one should ever confuse them with high art.  They're sleazy B-grade trash, but they're - in reasonable dosages - enjoyable and competently made trash.  Whereas the first film in writer/director James DeMonaco's dystopian sci-fi horror thriller series sort of stumbled out of the blocks as a semi-serious social/political satire crossed morphed with a home invasion thriller...

Posted July 29, 2018

SKYSCRAPER

(PG-13) jj

Dying hard in a towering inferno

I think one of the essential problems with Dwayne Johnson's recent film career is that he's favoring an aggressive paycheck grabbing quantity of films to quality of films approach to selecting his projects.  There's a reason The Rock is the highest paid actor working in contemporary movies: It has everything to do with the fact that he's taking just about any job given to him...

Posted July 29, 2018

WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?  

(PG-13) jjjj

It's a beautiful day in the cinema...

There's a moment in the Morgan Neville's brilliant  documentary WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? that brought me as close to tears as any other recent movie.  A depressed young boy is relaying to Fred Rogers how his cat recently died.  Speaking to the child directly and sincerely through a feline puppet, Rogers displays enormous empathy while consoling the grieving lad.  Within no time, the downtrodden boy eventually smiles...

Posted July 16, 2018

FIRST REFORMED (R) jjjj

Lost enlightenment

Paul Schrader's FIRST REFORMED is a faith-in-crisis drama about a man of the cloth that's being thrust down a dark chasm of complete emotional and spiritual breakdown.  Calling this a religious movie almost doesn't do it any justice, seeing as Schrader has decidedly more up his sleeve than exploring his character's belief in the almighty...

Posted July 16, 2018

SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO

(R) jjj

A complicated war on drugs

Upon reflecting on 2015's SICARIO - which, at the time of its release, I thought was one of the best films of its respective year - I never once thought that it was a film with sequel and/or franchise potential written all over it.  With the coldly calculating direction of Denis Villeneuve and intense scripting by Taylor Sheridan, the first SICARIO was a pulse pounding and compellingly layered war on drugs thriller with palpable real world reverberations....

Posted July 16, 2018

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM  

(PG-13) j1/2

Oh, how a once mighty series has fallen

Remember what it was like to see a living, breathing dinosaur come lovingly and thrillingly to life for the first time in Steven Spielberg's original JURASSIC PARK?  It was a legitimately awe inspiring moment that instilled in viewers a sense of childlike wonder in ways that few films of its era could (that, and this moment ushered in - for better or worse - a wide-sweeping computer generated visual effects revolution whose ripple effects can still be felt to this very day...

Posted July 3, 2018

THE DEATH OF STALIN (R) jjjj

The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!

Somewhat like Stanley Kubrick's DR. STRANGELOVE, Armando Iannucci's THE DEATH OF STALIN is a hilariously macabre work of political satire that seems both broadly divorced from reality while simultaneously holding up a mirror up to it.  This grim historical farce - based on a French graphic novel - is hysterical, yes, but it's also a work of unnerving bleakness that pains to show the Soviet Union's Joseph Stalin for what he was - a brutal and cruel dictator... 

Posted July 3, 2018

INCREDIBLES 2  

(PG) jjj

Where...is...my...super suit!?

 

Upon reflection, the super hero movie genre was not at its peak when Brad Bird's THE INCREDIBLES was released back in 2004.  This was years before the first IRON MAN was released and before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was even a pop culture entity.  Hell, THE INCREDIBLES even predated Christopher Nolan's groundbreaking DARK KNIGHT Trilogy, which fundamentally altered the makeup and landscape of the genre in incalculable and influential ways... 

 

Posted June 29, 2018

TAG (R) jj1/2

You're it!

Full disclosure: I was never a big Tag fan growing up.  I never felt that every player was on an equal playing field and it absolutely favored the most dexterous and quick.  Now, Hide and Seek...oh boy... that was a great game, and far more democratic minded.  You could be absolutely athletically challenged and still succeed at it, especially if you had good instincts and could disappear in the most unlikely and difficult to find areas...

Posted June 29, 2018

GRINGO  (R) jj1/2

A south of the border crime comedy that goes south really fast

The new Amazon Studios production GRINGO is a crime comedy that's so tonally schizophrenic throughout that I left my screening having no real idea what kind of movie it was really trying to be.  Disappointingly directed by Australian filmmaker Nash Edgerton - the actor/stuntman turned director that made one of the best least seen noir thrillers of the last decade in 2008's THE SQUARE...

Posted June 29, 2018

OCEAN'S 8  (PG-13) jjj

Never send a man to do a woman's job

Somewhat confusingly, OCEAN'S 8 comes numerically before the previous OCEAN'S films - comprised of Steven Soderbergh's 2001 remake of the 1960s Rat Pack fuelled heist flick, followed by two increasingly inferior sequels in 2004's OCEAN'S TWELVE and 2007's OCEAN'S THIRTEEN.  This may throw casually filmgoers for a loop...

Posted June 20, 2018

THE HURRICANE HEIST (PG-13) j

A water logged crime thriller

The hilariously named THE HURRICANE HEIST most definitely contains - ahem! - a heist and a hurricane, so in terms of advertised promises this action thriller wholeheartedly delivers.  It's also a spectacularly stupid movie, but one that regrettably never harnesses its silliness like a badge of honor, nor does it really even engage in any self-referential winking to the audience that it knows what kind of film it is...

Posted June 20, 2018

ADRIFT  (PG-13) jjj

All is lost...redux

ADRIFT is a new fact based outdoor survival thriller that's cross morphed with a romance drama, which immediately doesn't sound particularly enticing on paper.  Yet, it tells the harrowing true story of Tami Oldman, whom in September of 1983 sailed into a rather powerful hurricane in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and came out of it alive with a severely damaged boat, very little water and rations and no radio support...

Posted June 12, 2018

YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE

(R) jjjj

You talkin' to me?

Very few vigilante thrillers are as unnervingly suspenseful, uncompromisingly bleak, and thoroughly disturbing as Lynne Ramsay's YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE, which is as brutally punishing to endure in its swift and refreshingly economical running time of 90-plus-minutes as any I've seen.  I mean that last part as a sincere compliment.  Based on the book of the same name by Jonathan Ames, Ramsay's film bares a superficial comparison to Martin Scorsese's TAXI DRIVER...

Posted June 12, 2018

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY

(PG-13) jj

I got a very bad feeling about this...

I knew that SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY was going to be creatively lethargic and uninspired within my first 60 seconds of watching it.  During that time viewers are introduced to three stanzas worth of exposition heavy title cards that are kind of blandly and lazily thrown up on screen.  Now, one of the most iconic and memorable images of the entire STAR WARS franchise is the sight of the film's opening title cards migrating up the screen...

Posted June 3, 2018

  

 

 

WINCHESTER

(PG-13) jj

 

DARK CRIMES

(R) j

 

DEADPOOL 2

(R) jjj

 

REVENGE

(R) jjj1/2

 

CHAPPAQUIDDICK

(R) jjj

 

TULLY

(R) jjj

 

THE MIRACLE SEASON  

(PG) jj1/2 

 

FIFTY SHADES FREED

(R) j1/2

 

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR

(PG-13)

jjj

 

FOREVER MY GIRL

(PG-13)  j1/2

 

SUPER TROOPERS 2

(R) jjj

 

BORG VS. McENROE

(R) jjj1/2

 

ISLES OF DOGS

(PG-13) jjj1/2

 

RAMPAGE

(PG-13) jj

 

BLOCKERS

(R) jjj

 

PROUD MARY

(R) j1/2  

 

A QUIET PLACE

(PG-13) jjj1/2

 

READY PLAYER ONE

(PG-13)

jj1/2  

 

THOROUGHBREDS

(R) jjj1/2

 

PACIFIC RIM UPRISING

(PG-13)

j1/2 

 

UNSANE

(R) jjj1/2

 

TOMB RAIDER

(PG-13

jjj1/2

 

LOVE, SIMON

(PG-13) jjj1/2

 

A WRINKLE IN TIME

(PG) jj

 

DEATH WISH

(R)  zero stars

 

RED SPARROW

(R) jjj

 

MUTE 

(No MPAA Rating) j1/2  

 

EARLY MAN

(PG) jjj1/2

 

ANNIHILATION

(R) jjj

 

GAME NIGHT

(R) jjj1/2

 

BLACK PANTHER

(PG-13

jjj1/2

 

THE 15:17 TO PARIS

(PG-13) j1/2

 

THE POLKA KING

(No MPAA Rating)

jjj

 

PHANTOM THREAD

(R) jjjj

 

THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX

(No MPAA Rating

jj

 

DEN OF THIEVES

(R) jjj

 

MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE

(PG-13) jjj

 

12 STRONG

(R) jj1/2