‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ Review: Han, Chewy & Lando Save The Day In Rip-Roarin’ Origin Story
By now everyone knows of the troubled production history of Solo: A Star Wars Story, which saw its directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord replaced halfway through the shoot by veteran Ron Howard. It supposedly was due to “creative differences,” but whatever happened in bringing the origin story of Han Solo to the screen doesn’t matter much once you consider the end product.
The film delivers a rip-roaring summer entertainment and perhaps the key entry in this… Read
‘On Chesil Beach’ Review: Saoirse Ronan & Billy Howle Navigate Difficult Wedding Night In Touching, Complicated Drama
Just one week after the opening of the excellent indie The Seagull, in which Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle play star-crossed lovers, they are back at it again. But this time it’s in a much more serious drama, On Chesil Beach. Awkward timing most likely is responsible for the dueling releases starring the young pair, but both movies are well worth seeing, On Chesil Beach, based on the book by Ian McEwan (who also did the screenplay adaptation), is a highly unusual drama… Read
‘Book Club’ Review: A Four-Star Delight As Fonda, Keaton, Bergen & Steenburgen Get Down And Dirty
For that part of the moviegoing audience that might be over age 25 — or even, say, 50 — it just doesn’t get much better than having a quartet like Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen together in one smart, funny, warm and wonderful movie. Book Club, as I say in my video review (click the link above to watch), is a must-see for audiences looking for a feel-good movie that lifts you up and sends you out of the theater with a big smile. That’s what… Read
‘Patrick Melrose’ Review: Benedict Cumberbatch Brilliant As Damaged & Decadent Toff In Showtime Limited Series
Full of bitterness, spite, snobbery, sarcasm, self-loathing, abuse, addiction and recovery, Showtime's limited series Patrick Melrose is simply an irresistible tour de force from Benedict Cumberbatch that I cannot recommend strongly enough.
Debuting on May 12, the five-episode series is based on Edward St. Aubyn's scathing and wonderfully sardonic novels about the landmines of inherited wealth, one of which was nominated for a Booker Prize. With Emmy contention clearly… Read
‘The Seagull’ Review: Annette Bening & Saoirse Ronan Lead Sterling Cast In Smart Take On Chekhov Classic
The great director Sidney Lumet brought a beautifully acted version of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull to the screen in 1968, but apparently it has taken another half-century to get a another version that gives Chekhov’s 1895 play a new spin in movies.
I have to say, the new The Seagull compares favorably to any previous attempt, particularly in bringing out the lighter aspects of what is a very funny piece. Lumet’s version had the likes of James Mason and Vanessa Redgrave… Read
‘Safe’ Review: Dodgy Accent Aside, Michael C. Hall’s UK Thriller Is Uneventful
With a pedigree that includes Six Feet Under and Dexter, Michael C. Hall has never retreated from risky projects, but his new series Safe certainly would never be characterized in that way. A case of honesty in advertising if nothing else, the UK-set Netflix series that launches May 10 is almost entirely without distinction except in how by the book it mostly is. Clearly coming out of the streaming service's algorithm and the desire to snare an obvious talent like Hall… Read
‘Vida’ Review: Starz’s Latinx Drama Is Supernovela TV That’s Truly Full Of Life
"Find your way back home" is the tagline for Vida, but this new Starz drama is in many ways a road map into the real American mosaic of 2018 in all its messy, hurtful, complex and heartfelt glory. With gender, culture, economics, family, sexuality, conflict and unconventional wisdom at its often raw core, the May 6-debuting Latinx series from Tanya Saracho has the added value of being really good television.
Clearly influenced by the original The L Word and that other… Read
‘Tully’ Review: Charlize Theron Soars In A Mother Of A Great Role
Coming from the director Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody, the Oscar-winning Juno writer who also penned Young Adult, we have reason to expect another smart, witty, real and watchable story peering into our everyday lives. With the terrific and unpredictable Tully, you will not be disappointed.
Perfectly timed for Mother’s Day, the pair is re-teamed with their Young Adult star, Oscar winner Charlize Theron, who plays Marlo, a dutiful mother of two who is now nine months… Read
‘RBG’ Review: A Truthful, Inspiring & Relevant Docu About The One And Only Ruth Bader Ginsburg
She’s an icon. She’s been parodied by Kate McKinnon on SNL. She is despised. She is revered. She has no peer. Finally, a documentary tells the truth from all sides about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who became the second female ever appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Since that momentous event she’s still going strong at 84 — 25 years later after her appointment to the bench by President Bill Clinton. As directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West show in RBG, that move was not only… Read
‘Disobedience’ Review: Rachel Weisz & Rachel McAdams Shine In Superb Melodrama
Disobedience thrives in what the studios used to turn out regularly in the golden era of so-called women’s pictures. It’s a straight-up melodrama disguised in the trappings of art house fare. But, as I say in my video review (click the link above to watch), two superb performances from a couple of Rachels, Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams and a compelling screen adaptation from director Sebastian Lelio and writer Rebecca Lenkiewicz lift this way above the norm and turn it… Read
‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Review: The Most Surprising Marvel Movie Yet Is Also One Of The Best
Nothing any critic can say will deter you from seeing Avengers: Infinity War if you are the least bit inclined in the first place. The good news, as I say in my video review above, is that this 2 1/2-hour all-star affair is actually worth your time — despite being a Whitman’s Sampler Box of the Marvel Universe that may have too many calories to take it all in. Fortunately, it has more on its mind than just eye candy for comic book fanboys.
That shouldn’t be a surprise… Read
‘Kings’ Review: Halle Berry & Daniel Craig Can’t Save Tone-Deaf Movie Set During 1992 L.A. Riots
On paper, a teaming of Oscar winner Halle Berry and James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, in a drama set during the 1992 L.A. riots would seem promising. Unfortunately, Kings is the polar opposite of that expectation and, as I say in my video review (click the link above to watch), is a tone-deaf misfire that does absolutely no justice to its stars or important subject matter.
Perhaps something was lost in translation as this is the first English-language picture from… Read