|Gary Oldman stars in Darkest Hour|
Lady Bird - 4 Stars. Greta Gerwig directs a spot-on mother/daughter battle, during a young woman's high school senior year. Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf deliver award-worthy performances.
Darkest Hour - 4 Stars. Set in May 1940 as Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister and ignores the advice to negotiate with Hitler.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - 4 stars. Caustic, often shock comedy, starring Frances McDormand as a woman at war with the town police over the unsolved murder of her daughter.
Mudbound - 3½ Stars. Epic drama of poor, white farmers and poor, black sharecroppers in the post-WWII South.
Blade Runner 2049 - 3 Stars. Sequel to the classic runs long, but packs in the special effects around a thick & juicy plot.
Wonder - 3 Stars. Family-friendly story of a 5th grader, born with facial deformities, trading home schooling for private school. Jacob Tremblay makes this story winning, with Julia Robert and Owen Wilson as his parents. Told from different points of view, it avoids sentimentality, remaining both funny and real.
Coco - 3 Stars. Pixar takes a deep dive into Mexican culture, in this eye-popping story of a little boy searching for his roots.
The Shape of Water - 3 Stars. Sally Hawkins as a mute cleaning woman, who comes to the aid of a sea creature captured during the Cold War.
Murder on the Orient Express - 2½ Stars. Hammy but loving remake of the 1974 Agatha Christie classic.
Roman J. Israel Esq. - 2½ Stars. Denzel Washington as a socially conscious lawyer savant, who joins a big firm and loses his principals. Great story comes to a weak ending.
Last Flag Flying - 2½ Stars. Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne and Steve Carell as Vietnam vets, who help Carell bury his son killed on duty in Iraq.
Justice League - 2 Stars. Charismatic Gal Gadot returns as Wonder Woman, and joins Batman and several others in another of the usual formula plots to save the world.
Thor: Ragnarok - 2 Stars. The latest chapter in Marvel's Thor franchise mixes comedy and action in an overlong, sometimes confusing package.
A Bad Moms Christmas - 2 Stars. Mila Kunis and friends vow to prevent holiday hassle. Follows the formula set by 'The Hangover" and "Bridesmaids."
Loving Vincent - 2 Stars. Beautifully animates Van Gogh's masterpieces, but uses them to tell a hokey story.
Victoria & Abdul - 2 Stars. Judi Dench (as Queen Victoria) grows fond of an Indian commoner, shocking her royal household. Lightweight stuff.
Wonder Wheel - 1 Star. Woody Allen on yet another nostalgia trip. A love triangle plus gangsters in 1950 Coney Island. Tired, long, and lifeless.
The Disaster Artist - 1 Star. Irritating story behind the making of the poorly made, privately financed film "The Room," now celebrated at midnight showings. With James Franco at his most icky.