Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Weekend Movie Guide

Tom Hanks & Annie Potts (r) star in Toy Story 4

Rocketman - 4 Stars. Elton John's life played out to his music in spectacular segments. R-rated with no holds barred.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco - 3½ Stars. Extraordinary visual poem about friendship, love, loss, and relation to home & place.

Yesterday - 3 1/2 Stars.  Himesh Patel as struggling song writer in a world where no one remembers the Beatles.  Comedy mixes with science fiction and romance, just for fun. 

The Perfection - 3½ Stars. Thrilling horror/revenge extravaganza with Allison Williams & Logan Browning as cello prodigies. A worthy companion to "Get Out."

Booksmart - 3½ Stars. Pushes the edge of the usual last night in high school formula. Director Olivia Wilde keeps the energy high with a winning young cast.

Toy Story 4 - 3 Stars. More adventures of the gang we loved, in the almost 25-year-old original.

Shaft - 3 Stars. Sly update on the 1971 classic, with Jesse Usher as a third-generation millennial heir, to his tough guy father (Samuel L. Jackson) and equally tough grandfather (Richard Roundtree.)

Late Night - 3 Stars. Emma Thompson turns in a hilarious performance as a toxic late night host, who hires Mindy Kaling to satisfy diversity and gender concerns.

Pok√©mon Detective Pikachu - 3 Stars. Fans will love this rambunctious live-action comedy, with Ryan Reynolds voicing the furry star. 

The Highwaymen - 3 Stars. Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson play the Texas Rangers who hunt down Bonnie and Clyde. A fascinating twist on the 1967 classic.

Avengers: Endgame - 3 Stars. Fans will love this curtain call for all of the Marvel characters. Casual viewers will leave confused.

Amazing Grace - 3 Stars. Long-awaited footage of Aretha Franklin's 1972 gospel album recording. Simple and powerful.

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum - 3 Stars. Violent as Hell. I tried to resist, but I couldn't. Keanu Reeves as the hitman to end all hitmen.

The Spy Behind Home Plate - 3 Stars. Fascinating documentary on Moe Berg, baseball player turned international spy.

Aladdin - 2 Stars. Will Smith tries hard to recreate Robin Williams' iconic role in this live-action remake of the animated classic. The cartoon was fun: This remake feels like work.

The Hustle - 2 Stars. Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson as mismatched con artists. "Bridesmaids," it ain't.

Dumbo - 2 Stars. Live-action remake of the Disney classic runs long, thanks to too much plot and atmosphere.

The Souvenir - 2 Stars. A young woman's disastrous  affair. Interesting to watch Tilda Swinton's daughter Honor Swinton Byrne in the lead.  Production feels thrown together and hard to follow.

Ma - 1 Star. A miscast Octavia Spencer tortures the high school students she invites to party in her basement.

Dark Phoenix - 1 Star. The "X-Men" series runs out of ideas and concludes with a boring clunker.