Friday, September 15, 2017

Weekend Movie Guide

Jennifer Lawrence & Javier Bardem (r) stars in mother!

The Big Sick - 4 Stars. Pakistani comic Kumail Nanjiani hits the sweet spot of tension between culture, generations, and romance in a serious rom-com about his relationship with his wife. Charming!

Wind River - 3½ Stars. Modern Western/thriller from Taylor Sheridan, screenwriter of "Hell or High Water." Tracker Jeremy Renner helps FBI agent Elizabeth Olsen solve the rape/murder of a young American Indian girl. Tense and explosive.

Columbus - 3½ Stars. Contemplative romance with Haley Lu Richardson and John Cho, who quietly share their love of architecture with their family problems in a manner that becomes both beautiful and powerful.

It - 3 Stars. Stephen King thriller delivers.

Brad's Status - 3 Stars.  Ben Stiller brings his son to Harvard for an admission interview reviewing his life  choices.  Hits some realistic thoughtful notes.  With a break out performance for actress Shazi Raja.

Dunkirk - 3 Stars. Christopher Nolan recreates the stirring British retreat, aided by civilian boats at the beginning of World War II.

Baby Driver - 3 Stars. "La La Land" as a crime story. Ansel Elgort drives a getaway car, listening to nonstop music (the film is shot to fit the music, rather than the other way around.) Violent, but exhilarating.

Wonder Woman - 3 Stars. Gal Gadot makes a thrilling debut as the iconic superhero. A super script combines origin story, humor, and superhero action.

Spider-Man: Homecoming - 3 Stars. Easy-to-like reboot of the comic book character, thanks to Tom Holland's delightful take on the superhero as a high school geek, and Michael Keaton's delicious villain.

War for the Planet of the Apes - 3 Stars. This series continues to turn out surprisingly good (and even thoughtful) stories based on intelligent apes taking over the world from humans.

Battle of the Sexes - 2 1/2 Stars.  Emma Stone and Steve Carroll recreate the Billy Jean King/Bobby Riggs male versus female tennis match of the early 70's.

Kingsman:  The Golden Circle - 2 1/2 Stars.  Not as good as the original, but full of cameo shocks and over the top comedy.  The action doesn't hit the highs of the comedy.  Long and uneven but still fun.    

Logan Lucky - 2½ Stars. Steven Soderbergh directed redneck caper comedy with great cast, including Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig and Riley Keough. Oceans 7-Eleven.

Menashe - 2½ Stars. Rare window on Orthodox Jewish life. Widowed father longs for his son, who for religious reasons cannot live with him until he remarries. Poignant.

Girls Trip - 2½ Stars. Laugh-out-loud raunchy comedy with Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish has a message about the power of friendship. Much better than expected.

Rebel in the Rye - 2½ Stars. Biography of "Catcher in the Rye" author J. D. Salinger almost captures his creative process. Stars Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Spacey and Sarah Paulson.

The Trip to Spain - 2 Stars. Best buds Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon travel to Spain and do more of what they did when they toured England, and again when they took in Italy. More of the same.

The Hitman's Bodyguard - 2 Stars. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel Jackson have great chemistry in this uneven, overlong criminal chase comedy.

Atomic Blonde - 2 Stars. Charlize Theron kicks ass for two brutal hours.

Home Again - 1 Star. Reese Witherspoon sitcom rom-com.

American Assassin - 1 Star. Based on the thriller series by Vince Flynn, the movie doesn't come close.

mother! - Zero Stars - Jennifer Lawrence goes mad in Darren Aronofsky's thriller. It starts well enough, but leads to a pointless end. With Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris.