Posted in: Review

Little Women (2019)

Little Women casts a spell. If you ever read Louisa May Alcott’s novel, you have a favorite March sister, one whose characteristics you relate to the most, or wish you could be. Watching writer-director Greta Gerwig’s new adaptation of Little Women, that feeling still percolates, but with generous balance. Meg, Jo, Amy, Beth, and their […]

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Jay and Silent Bob Reboot

Writer-director Kevin Smith describes Jay and Silent Bob Reboot as “the greatest high school reunion we never went to.” That’s as good a way as any to prepare casual viewers of Smith’s filmography for this blend of fan service (in the best way) and participatory theater. The theater part comes from its distribution, the Jay […]

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The Addams Family (2019)

The Addams Family reboots the satirically spooky family last seen in live-action form in the early 1990s. Although not as kooky as longtime fans of the Addamses might want, it’s ooky enough in parts to endear youngsters to the family’s amusingly macabre humor. The Addams Family starts promisingly, with the wedding of Morticia (Charlize Theron, […]

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Amaurosis

Grief can be a launching point for a decent psychological thriller, but in Amaurosis, this is an uneasy mix. Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Amaurosis starts off well enough as the type of story where a traumatized woman wonders if someone’s deceiving her or if she’s losing her mind. Unfortunately, any suspense unravels from slow […]

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JT LeRoy

In the world of JT LeRoy, people are so hungry for art that feels edgy and real that they won’t scratch the surface of a facade that turned out to be a multifaceted literary hoax. In the late 1990s, the supposedly autobiographical tales of LeRoy, a transgendered, abused teen whose mother was a truck-stop prostitute, […]

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Velvet Buzzsaw

Velvet Buzzsaw splatters a satire of the art world across a Tales from the Crypt-style morality lesson. Although not as gruesomely clever or funny as Tales, it gets in some decent barbs amid its behind-the-scenes backstabbing and bloodletting. Writer-director Dan Gilroy (Roman J. Israel, Esq.) reunites with Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo of his directorial […]

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The Remarkable Life of John Weld

John Weld was a colorful individual, at least on paper. A 1920s film stuntman turned journalist, Weld became friendly with author James Joyce and actors Clark Gable and Walter Huston, then authored eleven books. But the awe that these escapades should inspire gets lost in the documentary The Remarkable Life of John Weld. Now available on […]

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King of Thieves

At 85, Michael Caine is a king of cinematic thieves, and not just for stealing scenes. The venerable actor has found a flinty charm in tough blokes since the 1960s, memorably as the exasperated schemer in The Italian Job. (“You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”) King of Thieves casts Caine as […]

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All These Small Moments

New York City teenager Howie Sheffield spends his mornings dressing for the blonde on the city bus. Afternoons are masturbatory hangouts in front of cooking shows with his younger brother and friends. Meanwhile, his parents argue while he barely acknowledges the girl who chats him up in the school library. Such are the pieces of […]

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Bumblebee

The Transformers franchise gets a welcome jolt of eighties nostalgia and heart with Bumblebee, an Earth origin story for the fan favorite VW Beetle who evolves into a Camaro. Director Travis Knight (the acclaimed Kubo and the Two Strings) and screenwriter Christina Hodson (Unforgettable, the upcoming Birds of Prey) wisely jettison political machinations, world takeovers, […]

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The visually inventive animated adventure Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse pops off the screen like a comic book come to life. Rectangular panels spell out characters’ thoughts. Action and scenery pulse with neon colors, ink splatters, even Ben-Day dots. But this joyous concoction isn’t just a fanciful lark. It reaches into multiple dimensions, shows there’s more […]

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Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

Why should Deadpool have all the fun? The animated heroes of Teen Titans Go! To the Movies might ask the same question, spurring this cheerfully irreverent adventure for the PG set that pokes fun at superhero tropes while embracing what audiences love about them. If you’re a superhero fan—or perhaps have superhero fatigue—this deliriously funny […]

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Incredibles 2

Love for superheroes—and this super family in particular—zings throughout Incredibles 2, an invigorating all-ages adventure that slips in sly commentary about what truly makes a hero. Fourteen years ago, Disney/Pixar introduced The Incredibles, about a family with extraordinary powers forced to live incognito. “Supers” are still outlawed when Incredibles 2 begins, fresh on the original’s […]

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Ocean’s 8

Ocean’s 8 breezes along the way Debbie Ocean cruises through the luxe Bergdorf Goodman after five years in prison—light on its feet with a calculating mind. This all-female heist film gets the feel of the fizzy end of this genre (like 2003’s The Italian Job) just right. Combine an eclectic group, quick-witted dialogue, and a […]

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Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story swoops into theaters like the rakish smuggler himself—underestimated and with a reputation for trouble. Happily, this backstory for the space flyboy also is like its namesake in other ways: funny, surprising, and good at heart. When Lucasfilm parted ways with the film’s original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The […]

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Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 is like a raunchier MAD Magazine version of a superhero movie. Limbs and heads fly as thick as the dick jokes, and characters emerge unscathed. That sounds a lot like 2016’s Deadpool, actually, only with more outlandishness and a larger supporting entourage. This sequel feels like it’s working harder to give fans even […]

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Tully

Charlize Theron trudges into the first moments of Tully with a pregnant belly bursting between her top and pajama bottoms. Her character, Marlo, approaches her young son with a smile that doesn’t quite reach her eyes. Her body language says this woman is so over this but trying to put up a good front—for her […]

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Anon

Andrew Niccol is one writer-director comfortable in the kind of alternate universes that author Philip K. Dick once concocted. The screenwriter of The Truman Show and writer-director of In Time and Gattaca (one of my favorites), Niccol loves to explore how technology impacts or even tramples our identity, let alone privacy. Those themes return in […]

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The Titan

The Titan takes a timely and tantalizing premise about finding a new home after Earth becomes uninhabitable and squanders it completely. Released in the United States on Netflix, the film suffers from slow pacing, shallow characters, and faulty logic before it goes right off the rails. The year is 2048. Earth’s environment is in such poor […]

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Love, Simon

Love is precious and rare, stories say. So is a film like Love, Simon, a sweet and funny coming-out story that’s also a relatable coming-of-age tale and teen romantic comedy. There’s a temptation if not a tendency in films about acceptance to feel preachy or cloying. Love, Simon is sincere and heartfelt without patting itself […]