Because I'm such a fair critic, I saw this one a second time, and I'll stick with my original opinion: This is the kind of movie that used to be made inexpensively and would find a small, very appreciative audience. Those were the days.
I would love to know what went on during the production and post-production of this movie. My sense is that it got trashed by both the director and the press. But for most of the movie it's not half bad. There's a total collapse at the end, but a lot of time, effort and money went into this one, and I'd love to know what the hell happened.
Bad Times at the El Royale
I had medium-high expectations going into this one. Found it a bit logy. Didn’t care too much about any of the characters. Performances were all pretty good. C+
Barbershop: The Next Cut
I believe this is an important film because it gets at the heart of violence in our cities, and it actually offers what I think is the only solution—which is that it needs to be dealt with neighborhood by neighborhood and locally. I applaud the people who put the film together. It is entertaining. It is funny as hell, but it is important. A
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
I was OK with this costly extravaganza until they started blowing everything up. Scene after scene after scene. Talk about colossal bores. And in this case, a story that’s pretty much a downer as well. C-
Battle of the Sexes
Good performances by Emma Stone and Steve Carell. Strong, but familiar story about Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. No mistakes, but no great scenes either. B
Spoiler alert. Blow stuff up. Dialog to explain the inexplicable. Blow more stuff up. Dialog to make us care about the human race and those who will soon perish trying to defend it. Blow stuff up, blow stuff up, blow up very bad aliens. Confession: I haven't actually seen it yet. How'd I do?
For years some knuckleheads have criticized my books without actually reading them. I'm afraid I've done the same thing with Battleship—although I was mostly making a joke. I've actually now seen the movie. I'll stick with my first review—but I must add that I enjoyed Battleship more than The Avengers.
I am a huge Jane Austen fan, but, for me anyway, the story of her life doesn't come close to living up to my expectations for the novels and their screen adaptations. The problem, I think, is that novelist's real lives just aren't that darn interesting!
Blade Runner 2049
This was a dazzling film – until Harrison Ford showed up in the last quarter. No fault of Ford’s, but the wheels got wobbly once he appeared. It also seemed – to me – that the writer or director wanted to make a statement that Blade Runner 2049 is serious art rather than just great popcorn. Hey, I was really digging the popcorn. B+
Marvel has given us plenty of entertaining films and now they’ve produced an important one. BLACK PANTHER is a fantasy film that showcases a culture based on dignity and fairness, led by heroes who are genuine role models. A
Surprisingly (for me) funny, and even touching. A-
Blue Is the Warmest Color
Blue Is the Warmest Color has been written and talked about as soft porn, and perhaps it is, but it’s also one of the most honest young adult stories in years, even more so than The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Woody Allen's over-the-top out-of-this-world Oscar-worthy tragicomedy. (That sentence ties my record for most hyphenated words ever.) N.b. I've actually witnessed train-crash nervous breakdowns like Cate Blanchett's in Palm Beach.
A well told, very sad story and one that many high school kids would benefit from seeing (though it's fairly graphic). I missed Blue Valentine in 2010 but will now officially insert it into my favorites for that year.
Body of Lies
This is the prototypical Riddley Scott film. Great photography, snatches of terrific dialogue, mild incoherence, very good actors. It didn't do great at the box office, but it's entertaining for all you thriller fans.
The Bourne Ultimatum
For me, this was the best of the Bourne movies-and I've liked them all. Paul Greengrass is re-inventing the movie thriller, and it's about time. I'd sure love to see him re-invigorate the Alex Cross series.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
This is a sad, sad, sad, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful movie. The direction, the acting, the art direction, the storytelling is pitch perfect—but you have to be in the mood for a real punch in the stomach. I wasn't, but this is still one of the best movies I've seen this year.
I usually like Ben Stiller, but for me this is pretty much unwatchable. D
The story is a little paint by the numbers, but it’s well done anyway. There are twists and surprises and good performances – including my old friend from ZOO, Billy Burke. B+
Well done, if slightly claustrophobic and soapy biopic about a man paralyzed by polio who courageously changed the way society in England dealt with the problem. Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy are terrific. B+
I met my friend Ned in the theater lobby, told him what Sue and I were going to see, and he commented, "Snooze."
But I like these adaptations of old English novels. They feature lush photography, clever dialog, fine acting. My friend Ned was right.
This movie is seriously raunchy, yet also touching in parts. One thing that strikes me as curious is why some people think it's a breakthrough when women are cast in traditional bad-boy male roles such as assassins and gross-out experts.
The Brothers Bloom
I loved this movie until it started it going on and on, and also started to take itself too seriously. For the first hour and a half it's a clever, funny well-directed, and well-acted film about con jobs, but then, for me, it fell apart. The real con job here–and this happens all the time in Hollywood–was done on the film's investors.
The Bucket List
I was fearful going into theater because of the bad reviews. The Bucket List wasn't as bad as I feared or as good as I would have hoped. A lot depends on whether you're in the mood to watch a movie about two men dying of cancer.
This docudrama got a lot of press coverage and I was expecting it to be even more powerful. In my opinion, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life—pretty much ignored by the press—will do more good than this well-intentioned film