‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Review: About As Much Fun As You Could Have At The Movies
On top of Star Wars: The Force Awakens two years ago, and the side trip last year to the stand-alone Rogue One, Disney has now more than confirmed the wisdom of rebooting Lucasfilm’s crown jewel saga with what just might be the best film in the entire series that started 40 years ago in the mind of George Lucas. That first movie, 1977’s Star Wars, is to date still the only one (and one of the very few science fiction films, period) to have garnered a Best Picture Oscar… Read
‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle’ Review: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart & Jack Black Are In The Game, But Laughs Don’t Come Easily
It is not like anyone was asking for a new Jumanji movie, but we got one anyway just in time for Christmas.
Sorry to bah humbug all over this thing, but the 1995 attempt to bring Chris van Allsburg’s 1981 children’s book to the screen wasn’t exactly all that to begin with, despite attempts by star Robin Williams and a menagerie of animals to bring it to life. In this reinvention, the board game of the original is now an early-model video game from the 1990s, which is… Read
‘Counterpart’ Review: Twice The JK Simmons One Of Many Treats In Spy Series
Ever since his stint on those six seasons of Oz, there are more than a few people in the world (and I would include myself among them) who would you tell you there is almost no such thing as too much JK Simmons. Well, there is a double dose of Simmons in Starz's complex and compelling conspiracy drama Counterpart.
Originally set to debut on the premium cabler January 21, Starz is now playing a highly valued promotional card and previewing the Justin Marks-created… Read
‘Phantom Thread’ Review: Daniel Day-Lewis Fashionably Unforgettable In Film He Says Is His Swan Song
Daniel Day-Lewis is being a bit enigmatic when he says Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread shall be his exit from acting, especially as he mysteriously seems to be blaming the apparently disturbing experience of making the film as Exhibit A for his thespian finale. If that is the case, then at least we will always have the odd but mesmerizing delights of the 1950s-set homage to fashion, in particular designers who treat their creations as the second coming — or at least… Read
‘I, Tonya’ Review: Skating Scandal Pic Spins Into Supreme Acting Showcase For Margot Robbie & Allison Janney
Who would have thought the saga of disgraced Olympic figure-skating star Tonya Harding would have made for anything but a sleazy exploitative tale of scandal that someone like Lifetime might want to make? But in the hands of smart screenwriter Steven Rogers and equally sharp director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl), I, Tonya turns out to be one of the year’s most welcome and darkly funny surprises.
Covering the waterfront of Harding’s life from when her… Read
‘The Post’ Review: Meryl Streep & Tom Hanks Excel In Spielberg’s Urgent And Timely Newspaper Drama
Let’s just cut right to the chase: Steven Spielberg has crafted yet another masterpiece with The Post, and it fits right in line as the third part of what I will label a trilogy of his recent films about the right people coming along at just the right time to do the right thing. With the precision of a surgeon, Spielberg zeroes in on those significant moments that become greater than any one of us but are possible because of one of us. There was Lincoln, then Bridge of Spi… Read
‘The Crown’ Season 2 & ‘Peaky Blinders’ Season 4 Review: Rule Britannia, Again
The death of Christine Keeler at age 75 on December 4 is both a 20th century footnote now and a poignant reminder of the sweep of history sought in Netflix’s The Crown.
Although rarely seen on screen, the woman at the heart of the Profumo affair scandal that pulled back the veil on the British upper classes in 1963 is a big part of the December 8-launching second season of the Elizabeth II-chronicling series created by Peter Morgan.
Along with the excellent-as0always… Read
‘Happy!’ & ‘Knightfall’ Review: Syfy & History Series Proudly Display Their Influences
In the age of Peak TV, you can do a lot worse that add a slug of watered down Fight Club and Game of Thrones to your holiday viewing mix. With a bellyful of that, December 6 brings the premieres of both Happy! on Syfy and Knightfall on History. You could call Wednesday the “Night of the Derivatives,” or you could settle in for two potentially well-timed homages that have identified a void or two on the small screen are have leaped in to fill them, as I say in my video… Read
‘The Disaster Artist’ Review: James Franco Turns The Making Of A Very Bad Movie Into A Very Good One
Leave it to James Franco to find inspiration for a smart screen comedy from the shambles of perhaps the worst movie ever made.
That is exactly what he has done with The Disaster Artist, a good-natured tribute in some ways to the godawful 2003 “drama” The Room. As I say in my video review above, this is not to be confused with the recent Brie Larson Oscar winner Room. Far from it, in fact about as far as it is possible to get from it.
Based on the book by Greg Sestero and… Read
‘The Shape Of Water’ Review: Guillermo Del Toro’s Magical Masterpiece Is A Romantic Fever Dream Of A Movie
Director Guillermo Del Toro has been responsible for a number of visual wonders on the screen, from his Oscar-winning Pan’s Labyrinth to bigger-budgeted efforts such as Crimson Peak, Pacific Rim, Hellboy and many more. His lifelong love of monsters has informed much of his work, but nothing prepared me — or probably him — for the sweeping romantic magic of The Shape of Water. Although this sumptuous fantasy also involves a new Del Toro creation, a kind of Creature from… Read
‘Call Me By Your Name’ Review: Beautiful Story Of First Love During An Italian Summer Hits Right In The Heart
Having seen director Luca Guadagnino's gorgeously vibrant films I Am Love and A Bigger Splash, I thought I knew what to expect from his latest film, Call Me by Your Name, which focuses on a simmering summertime story of first love in a small-town Italy. Visually, it is every bit as sumptuous and inviting as Guadagnino’s previous work, but what I didn’t expect was how deeply affecting it was going to be.
Based on Andre Aciman's 2007 novel, which has been adapted for the… Read
‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Review: Lots To Be Thankful For In ‘Gilmore Girls’ Creator’s New Amazon Series
With traffic jams and family affairs upon us for Thanksgiving, there are really just two things you need to know about Amazon's November 29-launching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
First, the adjective in the title of the Amy Sherman-Palladino-created series is more than apt, and the Beat Generation-set dramedy starring Rachel Brosnahan is well worth a binge. Second, what was Jeff Bezos’ streaming service thinking scheduling Mrs. Maisel for next week? As I say in my video… Read