2020 Reviews

[7.5] Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) gives a powerhouse performance as a ruthless, court-appointed legal guardian who preys upon her elderly wards, draining their savings and selling off their assets for her own financial gain. But she finally meets her match in an elderly woman (Dianne Wiest) with a mysterious past whose dangerous acquaintance (Peter Dinklage) threatens to topple the profiteering empire Pike has built for …

[7.5] After an earthquake devastates their facilities at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, a handful of deep sea drillers decide their only chance of surviving is to walk along the ocean floor to another nearby facility miles away. But the journey becomes even more perilous when they discover mysterious creatures unleashed by their drilling efforts are preying on them. Kristen Stewart (Twilight) heads up …

[5.0] Gal Gadot returns as Wonder Woman in Patty Jenkins’ more fanciful sequel, Wonder Woman 1984. The muddled plot introduces a mysterious ‘dreamstone’ that grants one wish to whoever holds it. Gadot’s Diana Prince wishes for the return of her one true love, played by returning co-star Chris Pine. An envious colleague played by Kristen Wiig wishes to be like Diana — not realizing the …

[7.0] Pixar’s Onward takes place in a world of elves, trolls, dragons, and unicorns, but it’s also a world where all these creatures have forgotten how to use their magic. So their world is a lot like ours — centaurs are cops, fairies ride motorbikes, and unicorns eat trash out of dumpsters. The heroes of our story are two elf brothers — one who believes …

[7.0] Seemingly unrelated stories and dubious characters end up converging around one man, Arvin Russell (Spider-Man‘s Tom Holland), an orphan struggling to find his moral compass in 1960s rural West Virginia. Arvin is haunted by the memory of his father (It‘s Bill Skarsgård), a man who’d make blood sacrifices at his own makeshift altar in the woods when praying for God’s divine intervention. Other storylines …

[7.0] Writer/director Alice Wu tells us in the beginning of The Half of It that none of the characters will get what they want, and she’s not lying. But that won’t stop you from rooting for all three characters in this love triangle. Leah Lewis plays Ellie, a Chinese-American who writes love letters for a jock named Paul (Daniel Diemer) to help him woo Aster …

[3.0] Scoob! marks the first time Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Incorporated gang have been brought to life via computer animation, which is a great way to reboot a classic franchise. The film starts with a 10-minute origin story of how Shaggy met Scooby, and then how the duo teamed up with Fred, Daphne, and Velma while trick-or-treating (Velma’s costume is awesome). We see them solve …

[6.0] Elitist liberals hunt and kill redneck conservatives in this satiric take on The Most Dangerous Game. Betty Gilpin heads up the cast as our hunted protagonist (the horror genre’s ‘final girl’, if you will), while two-time Oscar winner Hillary Swank leads our pack of villainous hunters. Gilpin’s droll, reticent, but kick-ass performance reminds me of an old Clint Eastwood anti-hero. We never quite know …

[2.0] This is the worst adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma I’ve seen, with Gwyneth Paltrow’s middling 1996 version coming in ahead, and Amy Heckerling’s Clueless easily taking the crown. This newest incarnation is directed by Autumn de Wilde, a first-time feature director with a string of music videos in her filmography. But don’t expect any visual or aural panache on that account. This Emma suffers …

[8.5] With this reinvention of Universal’s classic monster movie, writer/director Leigh Whannell (Saw, Dead Silence) delivers a superbly crafted thriller anchored by a compelling performance from Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale). Moss plays a battered woman who escapes her all-controlling boyfriend only to learn that he has taken his own life. She grows suspicious about his death when a strange presence begins to haunt her. …

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