Coming of Age

[6.0] Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas, The Karate Kid) stars as a high school senior who resigns herself to babysitting when her date cancels at the last minute. But when her friend runs away from home and makes a panicked call from the bus terminal in downtown Chicago, Shue decides she has to rescue her — even if it means dragging a 9 year-old girl …

[7.5] Writer/director John Duigan (The Year My Voice Broke, Lawn Dogs) takes an earnest and engaging stab at the ‘boy meets girl and falls in love’ narrative with Flirting. Noah Taylor stars as an ostracized Australian boarding school student in the 1950s who becomes infatuated with a new Ugandan student (Thandie Newton) from a nearby girls’ school. As the two avoid their headmasters for clandestine …

[6.0] Winona Ryder and Cher give us their take on the classic mother/daughter divide in this adaptation of a novel by Patty Dann, directed by Richard Benjamin (The Money Pit, Little Nikita). Ryder’s character is of high school age and tired of being moved from town to town by her colorful but slightly slutty single mom (Cher). Things become especially trying when the family (including …

[8.0] If someone is going to pick up Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved literary classic, dust it off, and serve up a retelling, let it be the Oscar-nominated writer/director of Lady Bird. Greta Gerwig is respectably faithful to the material, but bold in her decision to dice the story up and deliver it in non-linear fashion. In Gerwig’s adaptation, we experience the aftermath of the March …

[6.0] A young boy in Hitler’s youth army (Roman Griffin Davis) finds himself in a moral dilemma after discovering a Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) hiding in a secret space behind his bedroom wall. This film written for the screen and directed by Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Thor: Ragnarok) has an off-beat, surreal sense of humor that wears thin over time. It’s …

[6.0] Three sixth-grade boys (Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, and Brady Noon) embark on a serendipitous adventure, encountering plenty of sex and drugs on their way to a classmate’s party. Good Boys banks on our desire to see cute kids doing naughty things, which is a safe bet for sporadic gags, but Good Boys‘ gutter-wallowing becomes a little fatiguing after a while. The talented young …

[6.5] Kirsten Dunst and Jay Hernandez star in this teen drama about a rich but troubled white girl and a poor but hard-studying Latino boy who fall in love. Before long, her party attitude begins to clash with his determination to succeed, especially after secrets are revealed about Dunst’s past. When her congressman father (Bruce Davison) encourages Hernandez not to see her anymore, Hernandez must …

[7.0] Seven religious children bury their dead mother in the rose garden and tell no one of her demise for fear they’ll be separated and put in orphanages. Relying on seances with their mother to guide them through difficult decisions, the children are able to survive on their own for a while. But when their estranged father (Dirk Bogarde) arrives, destroys their mother’s makeshift tabernacle …

[7.5] Gabe Jarret stars as a 15-year-old science prodigy who is accepted into a tech college where he’s immediately placed on a cutting-edge laser project with other college-aged brainiacs. Val Kilmer plays his roommate, a goofy prankster whose irreverent attitude belies his academic reputation. Kilmer encourages Jarret to come out of his shell and have fun once in a while. Some of that fun comes …

[7.0] Two academically high-achieving young ladies decide to party hard the night before high school graduation to make up for all the nights they spent studying and doing their homework. Booksmart is about the friendship between these two women and their determination to step out of their shells and connect with their classmates, including romantically. Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein are very well cast in …

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