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2016

Hidden Figures Review

Hidden Figures Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) There’s nothing particularly remarkable the filmmaking behind Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures, but it accomplishes something none of the several dozen films I’ve watched this fall have been able to do: completely shut off the real world. It’s an odd thing to write in the context of a review (and it will certainly […]

Jackie Review

Jackie Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Jackie is a remarkable film that’s equal parts a devastating portrait of indescribable grief and a lesson on the nuts and bolts of myth making and legacy building. It takes place on a personal level — intimate, intrusive, uncomfortable — but it has national and even international implications. That scope feels appropriate […]

Tower Review

Tower Review

RATING: (4 STARS) On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman opened fire from the observation deck of “The Tower” at the University of Texas at Austin. Over the course of 90 minutes, he shot 32 men and women, killing 14. Earlier that day, he also killed his wife and mother at their respective homes. Tower, a […]

Sausage Party Review

Sausage Party Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Sausage Party follows in the tradition of so many animated films — either starting with or primarily popularized by Toy Story — wherein everyday objects are personified and an audience gets to take a glimpse of what their day-to-day world might look and feel like. After taking that glimpse of the day-to-day […]

Denial Review

Denial Review

RATING: (3 STARS) If 2016 proved anything to me, it’s that facts are as fragile as fine china. The idea that something is irrefutable doesn’t matter to people with the right mixture of ignorance, prejudice, and/or intention, and so admirers of historical and scientific truth are forced to debate where one shouldn’t be necessary. And […]

Sully Review

Sully Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) In 208 seconds, I could make a sandwich, though it might not be my best effort and there’s a decent chance I spend most of that time agonizing over spicy or dijon mustard. In January 2009, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenburger and First Officer Jeff Skiles had 208 seconds to decide the best […]

Florence Foster Jenkins Review

Florence Foster Jenkins Review

RATING: (3 STARS) The only name that matters when it comes to getting butts in front of Florence Foster Jenkins isn’t Florence Foster Jenkins, but rather Meryl Streep. Improbably, Streep has done what seemingly a dozen Hemsworths couldn’t — become a reliable box office draw based exclusively on star power. She can play a magazine […]

Bad Moms Review

Bad Moms Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) A recent trend in comedy writing and filmmaking is to turn the mundane into something debaucherous. It probably started with The Hangover, which took a typically debaucherous activity — the bachelor party — and elevated it to a level previously unthinkable. Slowly, this type of story took over movies about “regular life.” […]

Tallulah Review

Tallulah Review

RATING: (3 STARS) As I was watching Sian Heder’s Tallulah, I couldn’t shake the implausibility of the premise. A young nomadic woman steals the baby of a rich, careless mother? The film offers a title character who is easy to accept as impulsive and destructive, but a kidnapper? Please. Then something funny happened. I started […]

Star Trek Beyond Review

Star Trek Beyond Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) The term “episodic” gets thrown around a lot when it comes to major studio moviemaking. Between bifurcation of individual stories and the intense desire to turn everything into a “saga” or “cinematic universe,” the big-budget action film that mostly stands on its own is becoming an endangered species. Star Trek Beyond, then, […]

Zootopia Review

Zootopia Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Zootopia is a perfect 2016 movie. Sure, it depicts a bunny cop and a fox solving a mystery — which is utterly timeless, obviously — but what it does here and how is speak with surprising grace about stereotyping that’s pervaded both the American presidential election and interactions cops and civilians. I […]

Independence Day: Resurgence Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Review

RATING: (1 STAR) “We had 20 years to prepare,” reads the tag line for Independence Day: Resurgence. I’m not sure that’s something they should be promoting because 20 years to make a movie as startlingly terrible as this one is inexcusable. There’s nothing redeeming about Roland Emmerich’s two-decades-in-the-making sequel to his silly but entertaining mega-blockbuster […]

Finding Dory Review

Finding Dory Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) The last time Pixar produced a sequel that was a decade in the making, they gave us Toy Story 3, the best Pixar film. It relied heavily on nostalgia to hit its marks — something its latest mega-sequel, Finding Dory, curiously eschews. Yes, the forgetful Dory, the nervous Marlin, and the loving […]

The Lobster Review

The Lobster Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) The Lobster is an utterly transfixing and bewildering high-concept comedy about what the world would look like if everything we knew and liked about love was gone. In Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ English-language debut, coupling off is an obligation; We never find out why, but those without a partner are forced to […]

X-Men: Apocalypse Review

X-Men: Apocalypse Review

RATING: (3 STARS) X-Men: Apocalypse works in spite of itself. Here’s a film that takes arguably the best actor working today and turns him into a purple version of Imhotep from The Mummy. There are too many characters, not enough genuine excitement, and it runs at least 30 minutes too long. All that said, it’s […]

The Nice Guys Review

The Nice Guys Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) After a delightful foray into the world of Marvel, writer-director Shane Black has returned to the world of buddy cop movies with The Nice Guys. Well, Holland French (Ryan Gosling) and Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) aren’t cops — one’s a private eye, the other basically a tough guy for hire. They aren’t […]

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