Fantasy

[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 …

[6.5] A big-budget studio action-comedy is one of the least likely candidates to catch my attention these days, but a few people insisted Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was a cut above the rest. And while the bar is low, they were right. The movie centers around four teenagers sentenced to clean out a school basement during detention. While there, they find a video game …

[6.0] The children from It: Chapter One are all grown up when Chapter Two begins with an eye-witness sighting of Pennywise (Bill SkarsgĂ„rd) finishing off the victim of a hate crime. Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) summons the group back to Derry, Maine, twenty-seven years after they first vanquished the evil clown creature in the caverns beneath the Derry Lake. But fear gets the better of one …

[5.0] After being part of an ensemble in The Suicide Squad, Margot Robbie returns in the role of Harley Quinn — a character that really isn’t built to carry her own movie. She’s a former psychiatrist who fell in love with the Joker and turned to the dark side. In other words, she’s nuts and dangerous. She can only function as a funny, charismatic villain, …

[7.0] It’s best to go into The Rise of Skywalker knowing that this third Star Wars trilogy has never had a strong guiding hand. It’s not the result of a carefully premeditated creative effort. Creator George Lucas was not there watching over everything for these three films — and for good and for bad, it shows. Episode 9 is the result of a studio panicking …

[8.0] Ewan McGregor stars as the grown-up version of Danny Torrance from The Shining. Doctor Sleep is a sequel to that horror classic, both films based on books by the premiere horror writer of our time — Stephen King. Danny is known as ‘Doctor Sleep’ by patients of a hospice facility, where he uses his ‘shining’ ability to provide comfort to people as they transition …

[8.0] Movies like The Lighthouse sure don’t hit the multiplex very often. Hot off his astounding debut feature, The Witch, writer/director Robert Eggers’ sophomore effort is a horrifically surreal pitch-black comedy about two men going mad in a remote lighthouse in the 1890s. Robert Pattinson, distancing himself from Twilight fame with increasingly remarkable performances, plays the younger of the two sea dogs. His character is …

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