The third installment in this generic franchise, starring Gerard Butler as Secret Service agent Mike Banning, is saved by Nick Nolte’s performance as his estranged Vietnam vet father. It’s filled with fast-paced action, but the problem is: that the predictable plot is not only implausible but often incoherent.Read more
Richard Linklater’s adaptation of Maria Semple’s 2012 best-seller doesn’t make a smooth transition to the screen.
Semple’s anarchic, non-linear story revolves around an affluent, if eccentric, middle-aged woman who submerges her identity with that of her family, losing her sense of self. On paper, her daughter’s inner thoughts propel the narrative. On-film, this doesn’t work.
As a critic, I judge a movie by how well it accomplishes what it sets out to do. If it’s a comedy, it should be funny. So despite my misgivings about preteens’ spewing raunchy vulgarities, Gene Stupinsky’s coming-of-age story seems to amuse audiences, particularly in this era of sensitivity towards topics like sexual identity, bullying and objectification of women.Read more
Perhaps every summer needs a sharksploitation movie, a monster emerging from the murky deep, but this sequel to 47 Meters Down (2017) is just a silly splasher! Set on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, the aquatic thriller introduces step-siblings, daughters of an American archeologist, Grant (John Corbett), and his wife Jennifer (Nia Long).Read more
Based on Garth Stein’s best-selling 2008 novel, this dramedy is about a golden retriever named Enzo (raspy voiced by Kevin Costner) whose earnest owner, Denny Swift (Milo Ventimiglia), named him after Italian racing legend Enzo Ferrari. “I was meant to be his dog,” Enzo notes.Read more
Producer Guillermo del Toto (Pan’s Labyrinth) has created a socially conscious, surprisingly grim, ‘gateway horror’ anthology that’s PG-13, geared toward younger viewers, connecting Alvin Schwartz’s tales, grotesquely illustrated by Stephen Grammell, revolving around six teenagers in 1968, just before Richard Nixon’s election.Read more
Timing is everything – and, unfortunately, the release of this redemption story coincides occurs at a time when #MeToo and documented incidents of sexual assault dominate the news feed. At Polytechnic High School in Long Beach in 2002, teenage Brian Banks (Aldis Hodge) was a linebacker on the prestigious Jackrabbit team with an assured scholarship to the University of Southern California.Read more
Written and directed by Lulu Wang, based on her own experiences, this intergenerational-bonding comic drama revolves around a Chinese-American artist, Billi (Awkwafina), living in Brooklyn, who returns to her hometown in northeastern China when she learns that her adored Nai-Nai – grandmother in Mandarin- has Stage IV lung cancer.Read more
This live-action adaptation of the popular animated Nickelodeon series resembles a kid-friendly Indiana Jones adventure, opening with the logo: “Everything you are about to see is true. Except that foxes don’t swipe. That’s a hurtful stereotype.”Read more
After 18 years and eight feature films in the Fast and Furious franchise, this macho-men fantasia has become known for its goofy bickering banter, explosive car chases and gratuitous violence. Not surprisingly, screenwriters Chris Morgan and Drew Pearce and director David Leitch continue the lunacy, noting Shaw’s short “Hobbit legs” and Hobbs’ looking like “a giant tattooed baby.”Read more