2019

[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 …

[7.0] The impending apocalypse of Terminator and Terminator 2 Judgment Day was averted, but you can’t stop technological ‘progress’. Enter Terminator: Dark Fate, a direct sequel to the second film (ignoring two or three films in-between) that sets up a new cataclysmic countdown to doomsday, a new victim that needs saving, and a new savior sent from the future to protect tomorrow’s inspirational resistance leader. …

[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 …

[7.0] Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon star as Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse in this fascinating and fast-paced telling of the historic race to see whose electrical system would be the one showcased at the 1893 World’s Fair — and then implemented around the world. There’s a little character drama going on in The Current War, particularly with Edison’s family and the quirky nature of …

[8.0] On its surface, Joker is an origin story about Batman’s arch-nemesis. So at first glance, you might mistake it for ‘just another superhero’ movie. But writer/director Todd Phillips and actor Joaquin Phoenix have actually made a film that transcends the comic book genre. Joker works as a disturbing character study, an all-too timely allegory, and a provocative meditation on a theme — something we …

[8.0] RenĂ©e Zellweger gives an Oscar-worthy performance as Hollywood legend Judy Garland in this film about the decline of her life and career, based on the stage play “End of the Rainbow”. Despite inherent potential for doom and gloom in a story about a woman suffering from alcoholism and drug abuse, Judy is actually a hopeful story of perseverance. The painful flashbacks about her childhood …

[6.0] Writer/director James Gray (The Lost City of Z) sends Brad Pitt into space in this film that takes place in the not-too-distant future. Pitt’s mission is discover if his long-lost father (Tommy Lee Jones) is the culprit behind attacks from Neptune that threaten human life on Earth, the moon, and Mars. You can think of it as a journey into Apocalypse Now‘s ‘heart of …

[7.0] Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez headline this true story about a gang of strippers who prey on Wall Street men after the financial crash of 2008 dried up their prospects. Based on a New York Magazine article, the screenplay begins with Wu and Lopez’s characters becoming good friends, suffering the economic crisis, and then rebounding by drugging men and charging up their credit cards. …

[7.0] In this ensemble drama from writer/director Lulu Wang, Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians) plays a New Yorker who learns her grandmother in China is dying. But only the family knows — grandmother does not. The extended family comes together at the grandmother’s house for an impromptu wedding to spend time with their beloved matriarch before she is gone. While Awkwafina struggles to keep a brave …

[7.0] First off, know that I have never seen an episode of the Downton Abbey TV series. I went into the feature film completely cold, but despite having no history with these characters or their melodrama, I found the feature film surprisingly fast-paced and engaging, beautiful to look at, and irresistibly charming. The film centers around the King and Queen of England’s visit to Downton …

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