image description

'BlacKkKlansman': There's no Politics like Show Business

This is stirring stuff, devotedly ferrying the viewer from intriguing adventure yarn to the realization that racism, whether in its inept reaction to inner-city violence or through the reckless injustice perpetuated at our borders, has tacitly become official policy.

image description

'Christopher Robin': What the World Needs Now

Ewan McGregor's Christopher Robin exemplifies the disconnect that occurs between the young, dreamy you and the grownup you when life happens.

image description

'Mission: Impossible-Fallout': It Takes All Kinds

In this colorful, travelogue-like landscape, smugglers, powerbrokers, mad ideologues and guv'mint agencies of nearly every stripe fall over each other in dire attempt to gain ownership of nothing less than the (drum roll, please) plutonium cores. It takes no great leap of the imagination to foretell that before closing credits roll, said potentially world-destroying bombs will be wired to a timing device, and that there'll be a death-defying race to the finish like no other ... until the next ti

image description

'Three Identical Strangers': Relatively Horrifying

While the camera intermittently switches among psychiatrists who came to be familiar with the case, and who chime in with their opinions, we can't help but mull our own analysis of what we're witnessing.

image description

'Leave No Trace': Makes Its Mark

Our mentally tortured casualty is the modern-day equivalent of a Roman legionnaire, dispatched from his homeland to assert strength and authority throughout the realm.

image description

'Ant-Man and the Wasp': Going Molecular

You see, a good deal of this adventure yarn is concerned with rescuing Michelle Pfeiffer's Janet Van Dyne aka Wasp from the Quantum Realm, and I have absolutely no idea where that is.

image description

'First Reformed': An Inconvenient Proof

Unlike in the Great Depression, when cheerful movies tried to paste things over until happy times were here again, this intense, artistic muckrake dives headlong into the tribulation. But expect no answers as we witness Reverend Toller navigate the whims, wiles and sometimes disingenuous perpetrations that attend the approaching, 250th-anniversary celebration of his little, antique-status church in Snowbridge, N.Y.

image description

'Ocean's 8': What's Bad for the Gander is Bad for the Goose

With these parameters for pardons of the motion picture variety long in place, I scoured my brain to find what great accomplishment or rationale gives Sandra Bullock's Debbie Ocean and her seven accomplices the right to heist a $150 million necklace at the Met Gala.

image description

'Adrift': Cast Away in an Inconvenient Genre

Deeming myself the test canary that miners lower into the prohibiting depths, I emerged from "Adrift" rather impressed by its ability to render me uncomfortable and anticipatory, as well as to make me worry, at least for the length of the movie, for the well-being and destiny of its likable enough protagonists

image description

'Solo: A Star Wars Story': The Stuff of Heroes

At worst, it is relatively harmless, your understanding of this outer space Western not dependent on a cognizance of the jargon and minutiae of George Lucas' cultural phenomenon. Plus, former Hippies who coordinate the viewing with a flashback might enjoy the light show.

image description

'Book Club': Can Be Judged From Its Cover

Now, you know full well that one-by-one, each of our damsels in fretfulness is destined to wind up in at least a better place, if not perfectly fulfilled, by the closing credits. Don't be angry with me. Giving away the conclusion of "Sleeping Beauty" or any other fable wouldn't draw your ire.

image description

'Life of the Party': Celebrates the Joys of Mediocrity

Light, frothy confections that specialized in proving that one can indeed turn lemons into lemonade, they featured silly but likeable characters who, through some unseen benevolent power or just sheer luck, were able to navigate a series of farcical and convoluted perplexions.

image description

'Tully': The Helping Hand that Rocks the Cradle

Enters the nursery, Tully: part Mary Poppins, part Mother Theresa and part Kahlil Gibran in a 23-year-old, neo-hippie personage. Played with vivacious allure and no small amount of mystery by Mackenzie Davis, she is a dream come true.

image description

'Avengers: Infinity War': Goldberger's Complaint

But the fact is, your blockbuster enrapturing of what seems to be almost everyone but myself is proving a challenge to my individualism. Hustling out of the theater with a pal eager to discuss how much he absolutely loved every pixel of your spectacle, I begged off, suddenly remembering I had a late-night dental appointment.

image description

'Ready Player One': It's All a Game

Although the film bounces back and forth between reality and its cause célèbre, virtual reality, we are ultimately relieved when we grok that beneath all the layers of surrealism and cutting-edge chimera, it's just good vs. evil fighting it out in high-tech trappings.

image description

'Isle of Dogs': Will Wag Your Tail

Thus the best tack to take, if you can, is to sit back, relax and enjoy this genre heir to "Animal Farm" for its quirkily infatuating surface tale, allowing your brain's tumblers to bounce, adjust and absorb the subtextual, implied and exquisitely threaded hidden meanings at your own pace.

image description

'Love, Simon': You've Got Blackmail

A telling thumbnail sketch of Americana, it is both reminiscent and profoundly contemporizing, from the cliquish cafeteria coteries, to the time-honored camaraderies you will cherish forever, to Vice Principal Worth's (Tony Hale) humorously good-natured confiscation of cellphones. I could practically taste the delicious, frosting-topped cake served in my own lunchroom, only 10 cents extra.

image description

'A Wrinkle in Time': Folds, Spindles and Doesn't Exhilarate

Insofar as the plot itself, the screenplay adapted by Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell, though afforded all the galaxies to explore, charts a neo-"Alice in Wonderland," follow-the-dots style that, perhaps for fear of being untrue to the source material, fails to color outside the lines.

image description

'Death Wish': What this World Doesn't Need Now

But you can't blame MGM or director Eli Roth for the untimely release of this heir apparent to what became the standard of vigilante ethos. Considering the ceaseless conveyor belt of mass shootings bloodying our landscape, there is never a good time.

image description

'Peter Rabbit': Hop to It!

Judging by the alternate cheering and jeering in reflection of this animated adventure yarn that at its heart is a morality tale, I was gladdened by the apparently uncorrupted devotion to truth and ethics. It gave me hope for the future they might demand.

image description

'Hostiles': Requiem for the Horse Opera

This is a very studied work, contemplative, moody, often slow and then jarringly punctuated with a brutally truthful, enigmatic and almost fatalistic violence that contradicts the glorifying horse operas that came before it, and in the bargain explains the genre's dwindling popularity.

image description

'Phantom Thread': When Love Is In Fashion

Thus, in a sly variation of Henry Higgins' Eliza Doolittle, enters stage right ingénue Vicky Krieps as Alma, the waitress up to the task of humbling for his own good, whilst concurrently and paradoxically aggrandizing, the great man.

image description

'The Post': The Stuff of Pulitzers

Although the film is an exciting, often heart-pounding chronicle of the Nixon-era Pentagon Papers scandal, we know full well that, just as the Korea-based "MASH" (1970) was about Vietnam, this past triumph is also crucial to the here and now.

image description

'Darkest Hour': Saving The World 101

Digging down into the cerebraly exhilarating and deliciously funky depths of his prime minister, Gary Oldman examples the DNA of democratic ideals with both grand conviction and charming whimsy.

image description

'LBJ': Offers Hope From the Past

More Stories