Posted in: Review

Dolphin Reef

Since 2009, Disney’s nature-documentary label Disneynature has generally celebrated Earth Day by releasing a new movie in theaters, and while nearly all movie theaters are shut down this year, that hasn’t stopped the tradition from continuing. Dolphin Reef is one of two new Disneynature movies premiering on Disney+ to commemorate Earth Day (Elephant is the […]

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Champs

It’s the only sport that matters. Feverish fans of hockey, football, baseball and basketball can argue all they want, of course. But  boxing is fundamentally different. Two warriors enter a ring. One walks out victorious. The other may not walk out at all. It’s stakes like that which give the sport its savage excitement, a […]

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Onward

If Onward were produced by any other major CG-animation studio (DreamWorks, Illumination, Blue Sky, etc.), it would be a major achievement. It’s sweet and funny and gorgeously animated, full of clever details in a richly imagined world. But from the geniuses at Pixar, Onward feels like a bit of a step down, especially coming less […]

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The Invisible Man (2020)

After Universal’s Dark Universe initiative failed spectacularly with 2017’s big-budget action dud The Mummy, the studio stepped back from trying to launch a cinematic universe around its classic monster characters and instead shifted to making smaller-scale, standalone films reimagining those characters in a modern context. That strategy is off to a good start with The […]

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Sonic the Hedgehog

Yes, they fixed Sonic’s teeth. The biggest outrage when the original trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog was released last April was that the furry blue video-game character had disturbingly human-looking teeth, and the movie’s release date was ultimately pushed back three months so that the filmmakers could make various adjustments to the CGI character. So at […]

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Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

DC’s uneven approach to its film slate continues with the extravagantly titled Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), which carries vestiges of the largely abandoned shared-universe approach (it is, at least nominally, a spin-off of 2016’s Suicide Squad) but also works hard to forge its own identity. It’s a chaotic […]

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Love Is Not Love

Writer/director/star Stephen Keep Mills seems to have a lot on his mind in Love Is Not Love, but the largely abstract movie remains pretty much impenetrable, whatever it’s trying to say about love getting lost in scenes that come off like mannered, self-conscious acting-class exercises, the kind of thing that Bill Hader’s character would struggle […]

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Dolittle

Somewhere on some studio hard drive may exist a version of Stephen Gaghan’s Dolittle that preserves the director’s original vision, but it’s hard to imagine it could be worse than the disjointed, hastily pasted-together version that’s being released in theaters. Gaghan, who previously directed serious dramas like Syriana and Gold, seems like an odd choice […]

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1917

Incredible ambition and impeccable craft are, at once, the engines that propel 1917 and the brakes that keep it from reaching takeoff speed. It’s a fascinating frustration, this film so meticulously constructed that the construction dominates the viewing experience, consuming whatever narrative power might otherwise exist in a more traditional film form – the storytelling […]

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Queen & Slim

Although Queen & Slim opens like an indie romantic comedy, there’s an undercurrent of uneasiness from the first moments of director Melina Matsoukas’ feature debut. The title characters (who are unnamed until the film’s epilogue) are on an awkward first date, clearly with different aims for the evening. The woman (Jodie Turner-Smith) is aloof and […]

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Frozen II

The massive success of Frozen pretty much guaranteed a sequel (Disney is not the kind of company to let it go when it comes to exploiting intellectual property), but it’s taken six years for the movie’s original creators to put together a follow-up that has the potential to stand alongside the original. It’s clear that […]