Fantasy

[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 …

[3.0] In the sewers beneath New York City, a big talking rat trains four big talking turtles to become ninja warriors so they can be shadowy superheroes to would-be victims in the night. Now, right away, you’re either going to run with this or you’re not. I can run with it — but what I can’t run with in this first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles …

[6.0] After the world saw its first bona-fide blockbuster, 1975’s Jaws, daring Italian movie mogul Dino De Laurentiis decided he needed to go down in history for producing the second one. He settled on a remake of 1933’s King Kong and hired John Guillerman (The Towering Inferno) to direct. The screenplay is faithful to the original film in its broad strokes: A boat seeks passage …

[7.0] Cary Grant stars as an angel from Heaven who comes to Earth just before Christmas to help a Bishop (David Niven) and his wife (Loretta Young) raise money for construction of a new cathedral. But Grant has ulterior motives, trying to get the Bishop to realize that happiness lies in prioritizing his marriage over any construction project — and that the fundraising money is …

[7.0] Jeff Goldblum and director Steven Spielberg return for the first Jurassic Park sequel. Goldblum’s character first scoffs at John Hammond’s (Richard Attenborough) request to catalog and study the flourishing dinosaurs at a second ‘Site B’ island. But when he discovers his paleontologist girlfriend (Julianne Moore) is already there, Goldblum launches a rescue mission. Once on the island, our heroes discover Hammond’s desire to preserve …

[7.0] Tom Hardy stars as an investigative reporter who becomes the unwilling host body for a gloppy alien creature — named Venom — that gives him superhuman powers. At first the possession experience is scary, with Venom being very much in charge. But eventually Hardy and his counterpart negotiate a relationship as they seek to stop an rich, evil scientist from bringing more dangerous aliens …

[7.5] A six-year-old girl lives on a small island called “The Bathtub” in Louisiana, where she lives in squalor with her dying, tough-love father until flooding drives them into their makeshift boat to find food and stable shelter. They band together with other survivors and try to avoid government agencies who want them to vacate “The Bathtub” and submit to medical treatment at shelters on …

[6.5] Visionary director Julie Taymor (Titus, Across the Universe) brings Shakespeare’s The Tempest to the big screen, with the lead role of Prospero played not by a man, as per tradition, but by Helen Mirren. Mirren’s Prospera is raising her daughter (Felicity Jones) on a barren, mystical island where she can practice the magic that got her banished from society. The film opens with Prospera …

[6.0] There’s a certain kind of movie that is really hard to review. This is one of those movies. It’s a studio movie, formulaic in structure and unremarkable in substance, but entertaining in laughs and thrills and a great vehicle for a charismatic cast. Marvel has hooked onto this. I think Sony/Columbia has as well with their new rebooted Jumanji franchise. So there’s a video …

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