Movie Review: FANTASY ISLAND

FANTASY ISLAND movie poster | ©2020 Sony Pictures

Rating: PG-13 Stars: Michael Pena, Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell, Jimmy O. Yang, Portia Doubleday, Ryan Hansen, Michael Rooker, Parisa Fitz-Henley Writers: Jeff Wadlow & Chris Roach & Jillian Jacobs, based on the TV series created by Gene Levitt Director: Jeff Wadlow Distributor: Sony/Columbia Release Date: February 14, 2020 FANTASY ISLAND spends most of its running time urging viewers to try to figure out what’s going on here. This isn’t a problem of coherence, but rather setting up a mystery of how four seemingly unconnected plot strands will come together, and how exactly the island works. Consequently, FANTASY ISLAND […]Read On »

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Movie Review: BIRDS OF PREY (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

BIRDS OF PREY movie poster | ©2020 Warner Bros.

Rating: R Stars: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ewan McGregor, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Ella Jay Basco, Chris Messina Writer: Christina Hodson Director: Cathy Yan Distributor: Warner Bros. Release Date: February 7, 2020 A movie about Batman villainess/Joker paramour Harley Quinn doesn’t exactly sound like a blast. Harley is sometimes depicted as a creative sadist and sometimes as a completely dizzy engine of destruction, both devoted to the Joker and neither someone who seems like a good figure to build a movie around. Well, surprise. BIRDS OF PREY has found the right balance for Harley (Margot Robbie, reprising the character […]Read On »

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Movie Review: COME TO DADDY

COME TO DADDY movie poster | ©2020 Saban Films

Rating: R Stars: Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, Martin Donovan, Madeleine Sami, Garfield Wilson, Michael Smiley Writer: Toby Harvard, idea by Ant Timpson Director: Ant Timpson Distributor: Saban Films Release Date: February 7, 2020 COME TO DADDY is the kind of movie that causes a reviewer to think long and hard about how difficult it is to complete a movie and secure distribution. These things are no small achievement, and filmmakers who reach this finish line deserve congratulations. With this in mind, it should be noted that COME TO DADDY is shrewdly cast, very well-acted, and has clever twists, great production […]Read On »

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Movie Review: GRETEL & HANSEL

GRETEL AND HANSEL movie poster | ©2020 Orion Pictures

Rating: PG-13 Stars: Sophia Lillis, Alice Krige, Samuel Leakey, Jessica De Gouw, Charles Babalola Writer: Rob Hayes Director: Osgood Perkins Distributor: Orion Pictures Release Date: January 31, 2020 GRETEL & HANSEL is Exhibit A for the argument that it’s possible to make an excellent movie from source material that everybody already knows, so long as the filmmakers have a strong point of view and actually care what they’re doing. Yes, director Osgood Perkins and screenwriter Rob Hayes are bringing us another version of the Hansel & Gretel story. GRETEL & HANSEL actually feels somewhat spiritually akin to filmmaker Robert Eggers’s […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE GENTLEMEN

THE GENTLEMEN movie poster | ©2019 STX Films

Rating: R Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Hugh Grant, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding, Tom Wu, Chidi Ajufo, Eddie Marsan Writer: Guy Ritchie, story by Guy Ritchie and Ivan Atkinson & Marn Davies Director: Guy Ritchie Distributor: STX Films Release Date: January 24, 2020 THE GENTLEMEN boasts a mostly welcome return to early form by filmmaker Guy Ritchie. With THE GENTLEMEN, Ritchie is back in the realm of British crime, which he played with so successfully in his first feature, LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS, and just slightly less delightfully in his follow-up SNATCH. Ritchie directed […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THREE CHRISTS

THREE CHRISTS movie poster | ©2020 IFC Films

Rating: R Stars: Richard Gere, Peter Dinklage, Walton Goggins, Bradley Whitford, Charlotte Hope, Kevin Pollak, Julianna Margulies, James Monroe Iglehart, Stephen Root, Jane Alexander Writers: Eric Nazarian & Jon Avnet, based on the book THE THREE CHRISTS OF YPSILANTI by Dr. Milton Rokeach Director: Jon Avnet Distributor: IFC Films Release Date: January 10, 2020 THREE CHRISTS is neither theological nor Biblical. Instead, it’s a (seemingly loosely) fact-based drama set largely in a Michigan medical institution in 1959 and 1960. Director Jon Avnet and his co-screenwriter Eric Nazarian have taken Dr. Milton Rokeach’s nonfiction book THE THREE CHRISTS OF YPSILANTI and […]Read On »

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Movie Review: 1917

1917 movie poster | ©2019 Universal Pictures

Rating: R Stars: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Colin Firth, Andrew Scott, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Richard Madden, Adrian Scarborough, Claire Duburcq Writers: Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns Director: Sam Mendes Distributor: Universal Pictures Release Date: December 25, 2019 1917 is a World War I movie that (we are told by a supertitle) begins on April 6. Two young British lance corporals, Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman), are ordered by General Erinmore (Colin Firth) to take a message across what until recently was enemy territory. It seems that a British colonel has mistaken a German strategic retreat for an opportunity. […]Read On »

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Movie Review: STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER | ©2019 Lucasfilm

Rating: PG-13 Stars: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, Joonas Suotamo, Keri Russell, Ian McDiarmid, Kelly Marie Tran, Naomi Ackie Writers: Chris Terrio & J.J. Abrams, story by Derek Connolly & Colin Trevorrow and Chris Terrio & J.J. Abrams, based on characters created by George Lucas Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures Release Date: December 20, 2019 All movies are Rorschach tests to some extent. What we feel about them, what we want from them and what we see in them derives from who we are when we go into the theatre. Even […]Read On »

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Movie Review: LITTLE JOE

LITTLE JOE movie poster | ©2019 Magnolia Pictures

Rating: Unrated Stars: Emily Beecham, Ben Whishaw, Kerry Fox, Kit Connor, Lindsay Duncan Writers: Jessica Hausner and Geraldine Bajard Director: Jessica Hausner Distributor: Magnolia Pictures Release Date: December 6, 2019 LITTLE JOE, from its logline, sounds like it’s going to be a science-bound riff on LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. In the loosest sense, it is, in that it’s about a plant that wants to take over the world by influencing humans. LITTLE JOE winds up more closely resembling INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, with people beginning to act not quite like themselves. Under Jessica Hausner’s direction, LITTLE JOE is never […]Read On »

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Movie Review: KNIVES OUT

KNIVES OUT movie poster | ©2019 Lionsgate

Rating: PG-13 Stars: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Riki Lindhome, Edi Patterson, Frank Oz, K Callan, Noah Segan, M. Emmet Walsh, Marlene Forte Writer: Rian Johnson Director: Rian Johnson Distributor: Lionsgate Release Date: November 27, 2019 KNIVES OUT is at once the epitome of a modern drawing-room murder mystery, and a movie that turns some conventions inside out. There’s a murder, and there’s a mystery, but what we wind up trying to figure out isn’t exactly what we expected. Director/writer Rian Johnson obviously […]Read On »

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