Action/Adventure

[5.5] John Wayne gave up the lead in 1971’s Dirty Harry and came to regret it. McQ is his attempt to get in on the vigilante cop craze, playing a cop who starts out investigating the murder of a friend and ends up unearthing a police corruption scandal. Along the way Diana Muldaur and Colleen Dewhurst compete for his affection. Both women have secrets and …

[5.5] In 18th century Italy, an orphan boy comes of age with the help of nuns and a kindly mentor, falls in love, gets embroiled in the slave trade, and fights for his inheritance in this adaptation of Hervey Allen’s sprawling novel. Anthony Adverse looks and sounds great, with immense sets, period costumes, and a rich score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Some of the supporting …

[6.0] John Wayne stars as a crotchety loner cowboy who goes in search of the gang who kidnapped his grandson. Big Jake is not a serious western. It’s more of a nostalgic love letter to old big-studio westerns. Sometimes that love undercuts the drama. Even though a boy’s kidnapping is what spurs the characters into action, they begin their adventure like a trip to Disney …

[6.0] It’s another Marvel movie! And it’s on the high-end of average, like most of their releases. This one is all about a new character, a pilot named Carol Danvers, who becomes the title hero. She doesn’t know who she is or where she came from. She might be an alien. Or she might not. The bad guys might not be bad. The good guys …

[6.0] Writer/director Dean DeBlois wraps up the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy with a mostly satisfying finale. In this third film, young Viking Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his comrades discover a second, rare Night Fury dragon — and it’s a female. Hiccup’s dragon Toothless naturally falls in love with the new Fury, but when a nasty dragon-napper sets his targets on the two lovers, …

[3.5] Bo Derek plays Jane to Miles O’Keefe’s mute Tarzan in Tarzan the Ape Man, a cheesy, wannabe-erotic adventure that suffers from poor craftsmanship and a confused tone. The film is directed by Bo’s husband John Derek, who is clearly determined to deliver soft-core porn with this movie. That intention is muddled by the more serious involvement of Richard Harris as Jane’s explorer father. Harris …

[6.5] Helen Hayes and Gary Cooper co-star in director Frank Borzage’s adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. Cooper plays an American ambulance driver who falls in love with Hayes’ British nurse in Italy during the first World War. They are secretly married and have to keep their relationship hidden from their superiors. Eventually, they are separated and their letters to each other are …

[5.5] Director Lasse Hallström (The Shipping News, Chocolat) serves up a fluffy, romantic, period piece comedy centered around the antics of legendary lover Casanova in Venice. Heath Ledger plays the promiscuous hero, who early in the film receives a mandate from the ruler of Venice to get married or leave Venice forever. So Casanova goes in search of a wife, beginning a second act rife with mistaken …

[6.0] Rory Calhoun, or proto-George Clooney as I like to call him, stars in this kinda silly but kinda fun sword-and-sandals flick that earned Sergio Leone (A Fistful of Dollars, Once Upon a Time in America) his first major directing credit. Calhoun plays a visiting war hero on the island of Rhodes who gets tangled in a rebel uprising and a Phoenician conquest. He also …

[6.0] Arnold Schwarzenegger is a witness protection agent trying to keep Vanessa Williams alive long enough to testify against her former employer, a manufacturer of new, deadly high tech assault weapons. Matters are made worse when Arnold realizes members of his own team are working against him. Eraser is a summer-time explosion movie with non-stop action. It mostly satisfies as a popcorn flick, but could …

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