Posted in: Review

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot

The life of cartoonist John Callahan seems tailor-made for an awards-friendly biopic: Paralyzed in a car accident at age 21, Callahan triumphed over adversity on multiple fronts, as a quadriplegic and an alcoholic, and created work that was provocative and often controversial. Writer-director Gus Van Sant delivers a disjointed portrait of Callahan’s life in Don’t […]

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Skyscraper

Given how many franchises Dwayne Johnson has been recruited to enhance and/or revive (G.I. Joe, Fast and Furious, Jumanji, Rampage, etc.), it’s probably only fair that the guy gets to headline his own original blockbuster launch. Calling Skyscraper “original” might be a bit of a stretch, though, even if it’s not directly based on any […]

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The First Purge

The concept of the Purge makes no logical sense. Consequently, the more that the Purge movies try to delve into the inner workings of the future America where all crime is legal for one night a year, the less believable the movies become. The Purge itself was essentially just a background justification for the main […]

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Sicario: Day of the Soldado

In 2015’s Sicario, the characters played by Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro were menacing enigmas, government agents of nebulous provenance who ignored protocol, morality and decency in their pursuit of dubious goals, leaving Emily Blunt’s upstanding FBI agent in the dust—and on the hook for their misdeeds. In the new sequel Sicario: Day of […]

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

For a movie series based on a novel full of detailed scientific explanations, the Jurassic franchise has become almost mind-bogglingly dumb. The idea of cloned dinosaurs interacting with (and eating) humans has always had a kind of pulpy B-movie vibe, but Steven Spielberg managed to turn it into something majestic, awe-inspiring and genuinely scary in […]

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Adrift

In 1983, Tami Oldham survived 41 days lost at sea in a damaged sailboat, relying on her wits, her sailing knowledge, a few salvaged pieces of equipment and the vagaries of nature to get her back to civilization after a massive storm nearly destroyed the yacht she was on with her fiancé Richard Sharp and […]

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Mary Shelley

The circumstances under which Mary Shelley conceived of and began writing Frankenstein have become almost as well-known as the novel itself, and have been dramatized onscreen going all the way back to the prologue to James Whale’s 1935 Bride of Frankenstein. Although titled Mary Shelley, Haifaa Al-Mansour’s film focuses only on a short period in […]

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Book Club

Book Club opens with a series of painfully fake-looking photos featuring the younger versions of its main characters, supposedly four college friends who started the group for reading and discussing literature (but mostly drinking wine and gossiping) as undergraduates. Never mind that there are 15 years between the ages of the oldest and youngest actresses […]

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Revenge

When Jen (Matilda Lutz) first shows up onscreen in Revenge, she’s literally sucking on a lollipop, like a caricature of a ditzy blonde sex doll. She’s accompanying her married boyfriend Richard (Kevin Janssens) on a trip to a lavish vacation home in the middle of nowhere, to have a little time away from both Richard’s […]

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Festival Report: TCM Classic Film Festival 2018

A little over halfway through the screening of 1928 silent comedy Show People at this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, the fire alarm in the Egyptian Theater went off, and as the lights in the theater came on, the picture stuttered and then went dark, and pianist Ben Model stopped playing his live […]

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I Feel Pretty

When Amy Schumer made her debut as a big-screen lead with 2015’s Trainwreck, she brought a strong personal perspective to the movie, as both the writer and star, drawing material from her own life to tell a funny and relatable (if a bit overlong and overstuffed with subplots) story about an aimless woman getting her […]

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Truth or Dare

The very first thing that alleged best friends Olivia (Pretty Little Liars’ Lucy Hale) and Markie (Violett Beane) do in the moronic horror movie Truth or Dare is attempt to sabotage each other’s plans for their final spring break of college. Self-righteously wholesome Olivia has planned a trip to build houses for Habitat for Humanity, […]

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Beirut

When Tony Gilroy first wrote the screenplay for Beirut in 1991, it was considered too politically risky to make. While movie producers may be bolder about taking on political topics in 2018 (and thus Gilroy’s screenplay is now viable as a feature film), the style of the story hasn’t changed, making Brad Anderson’s belated big-screen […]

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Blockers

The selling point in the trailers for Blockers has been its over-the-top comedy featuring stars Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz as overprotective parents attempting to stop their teenage daughters from losing their virginity on prom night. But there’s a better movie trying to assert itself inside Blockers, a coming-of-age story featuring those teenage […]

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Where Is Kyra?

There are plenty of easy jokes to make about the title of Where Is Kyra?, given how purposely underlit the entire movie is. But director and co-writer Andrew Dosunmu (Mother of George) takes everything about his story very, very seriously, which works when the movie is a low-key character study about a woman dealing with […]

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Outside In

Director Lynn Shelton’s most successful movies (including Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister and Laggies) have deftly balanced emotionally resonant drama with gentle comedy, but with Outside In she leaves humor behind, telling a story that’s often powerful, even if it sometimes takes itself too seriously. Co-written by Shelton and Jay Duplass, Outside In stars Duplass as […]

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Midnight Sun

Teenager Katie Price (Bella Thorne), the main character of Midnight Sun, suffers from a real disease known as xeroderma pigmentosum, but she might as well suffer from movie-star-itis, given how conveniently the filmmakers mold the symptoms of the extraordinarily rare condition to the heavy-handed romantic tragedy they’re putting together. Based on a 2006 Japanese movie, […]

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I Kill Giants

The giants that young teenager Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe) claims to kill in I Kill Giants are almost certainly not real, but for most of its running time, the movie remains successfully ambiguous about the nature of the creatures that Barbara believes are a threat to her small Long Island town. Sullen and apparently friendless, […]

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7 Days in Entebbe

The opening of 7 Days in Entebbe lays out its historical context in title cards that appear to the rhythm of a dance troupe’s performance, but the rest of the movie is much less effective at integrating those kinds of artistic touches into a straightforward true-life narrative. Director José Padilha helmed the forgettable 2014 remake […]