‘I Can Only Imagine’ Review: Faith-Based Music Biopic Of MercyMe’s Smash Song Hits All The Right Notes
I can only imagine why distributors Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate made the decision seemingly to hide, from most critics at least, their new faith-based film I Can Only Imagine. It became a surprise hit this weekend, making around $17 million, way over-performing estimates and earning an A+ CinemaScore audience rating. Apparently they had no faith themselves, at least as far as reviews go. Does this sound like a film where you try to keep critics at bay, especially… Read
‘Augie’ Review: Fitness Giant’s ALS Struggle Makes For Moving Love Story
On its surface, Augie, the story of a fitness giant who contracted ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig’s disease), might be a downer of a documentary to watch. That would be wrong. Instead, Augie turns out to be a love story like no other and an unforgettable journey that gives us all hope. In many ways it shares some of the same attributes as the Oscar-nominated Alzheimer’s docu Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, which detailed the singer’s valiant fight against a… Read
‘Tomb Raider’ Review: Alicia Vikander’s In On The Action In Far-Fetched But Fun Reboot
Apparently after winning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar all roads lead to Lara Croft. That certainly was the case with Angelina Jolie after she won for Girl, Interrupted in 2000 and then starred in the first of two Lara Croft Tomb Raider movies in 2001 and 2003. Now, Alicia Vikander , after picking up the same Oscar for The Danish Girl, is showing off her action-hero cred in the new reboot simply called Tomb Raider.
This one from director Roar Uthaug actually takes its… Read
‘7 Days In Entebbe’ Review: Even A Top Israeli Dance Troupe Can’t Rescue Yet Another Telling Of The 1976 Hijack Drama
If you are going to make yet another movie about Israel’s brave and heroic rescue of the hostages during the 1976 hijacking of an Air France jet en route from Tel Aviv to Paris, it would be wise to come up with a fresh angle. After all, as I say in my video review (click the link above to watch) there were several film projects already made including two quickies from the year the June incident happened (Raid On Entebbe, Victory at Entebbe), several documentaries, and an… Read
‘Love, Simon’ Review: Winning Comedy About Gay High Schooler Is One From The Heart
Although on the surface it looks no different than many a mainstream major studio comedy, Love, Simon is almost radical in the sense that it revolves around the everyday life of a gay 17-year-old high school student and doesn’t try to hide that fact on screen or in the marketing materials, which happen to be aimed at teen audiences among others. That kind of subject matter is usually reserved for indie-centric fare like the recent Oscar-winning Call Me By Your Name (also… Read
‘A Wrinkle In Time’ Review: Oprah, Message & Diverse Casting Highlight Fantasy Flick Strictly For Kids
At the first press screening of Disney’s new kids flick A Wrinkle in Time, director Ava DuVernay’s intro warned that this one was basically for ages 8-12. That, folks, is truth in advertising.
DuVernay finally has cracked the code that prevented a movie version of Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbury Award-winning 1962 children’s book all these years. That she got it made incorporating a diverse lineup of characters not specified that way in the book is admirable and makes yet… Read
‘Red Sparrow’ Review: Jennifer Lawrence Soars In Lurid But Entertaining Russian Spy Thriller
Jennifer Lawrence heats up the Cold War again in an exploitative, sleazy but righteously entertaining thriller that, after mother!, continues her descent into riskier roles. Reuniting in Red Sparrow with her Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence (no relation), JLaw, complete with trippy Russian accent, is the best reason to see this puerile piece of pulpy fiction as she genuinely rises above the material in a true star turn, almost a page out of Hollywood’s past.
As I… Read
‘Atlanta Robbin’ Season’ Review: Donald Glover Winner Is Even Better In Season 2
Finally back for a second run of sorts under the moniker Atlanta Robbin' Season, FX's Emmy-winning series created by Donald Glover has in its characteristically unique manner actually improved on its own genius. In a rare move for any series in this era of exceptional television, Atlanta has gotten better with age — and I thought the first season was pretty damn great. Which is why, as I say in my video review above, it would be crime not to watch this piece of American… Read
‘Submission’ Review: Sexual Harassment Drama About As Timely As It Gets
Talk about timing. Although the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements had not taken hold when the new sexual harassment-themed drama Submission premiered last June at the Los Angeles Film Festival, there probably could not be a better moment for its release. As I say in my video review above, this story of a college professor who becomes involved with one of his prize students and then is sued for sexual harassment hits the hot-button topic right on, but does it in shades of gray… Read
‘The Looming Tower’ Review: Hulu’s 9/11 Drama Is Magnificent
If you had any notion that Hulu's historic Emmy win last year with The Handmaid's Tale was the only prestige weapon in the streamer's arsenal, the February 28-debuting The Looming Tower will surely dispel that fallacy. The 10-episode series based on Lawrence Wright's 2006 Pulitzer Prize winner The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 is not only very good television, but it also is important television that unveils the late-1990s actions and inaction that in many… Read
‘Good Girls’ & ‘McMafia’ Review: NBC Series Is Aces; No Nutrition In AMC Drama
A mini-crime wave will hit the small screen with the February 26 debut of both NBC's Good Girls and AMC's McMafia. To avoid you getting caught behind programming bars, let me tell you now: The former is a score, while the latter is a heist of your time.
Airing at 10 PM, Good Girls, a 10-episode drama starring Christina Hendricks, Retta and Mae Whitman from ex-Scandal co-executive producer Jenna Bans, skillfully shifts a catchy premise into a surprisingly magnetic groove… Read
‘Game Night’ Review: Jason Bateman & Rachel McAdams Roll The Dice And Come Up With A Comedy Winner
I caught up with Game Night over its opening weekend, having missed the one press screening to which I was invited, but I have to say it exceeded my expectations for an action comedy that seems a tad smarter than recent entries in the genre. This is a smart adult flick that manages to be as much fun as a game night itself, maybe even more.
As I say in my video review (click the link above to watch), that is due to a terrific cast that never overplays their hand, even as… Read