Man and Wife

Man and Wife

Simple, non-heroic love changes the world in Loving
Artists don't always choose to have their work say something particular about the time in which it appears. Sometimes, the time chooses the work.

Grumpy Old Man

The Magic Lantern Theatre is open again and featuring the delightful A Man Called Ove
The cranky curmudgeon in this Swedish import walks around with the puckered face of a man who's seemingly spent a lifetime sucking on lemons. He's the quintessential sourpuss.

Big Themes

Disney's Moana is the empowering and fascinating tale we need right now
"There must be more than this provincial life!" So goes the melancholy cry of the Disney princess.

The Right Side of Edgy

The Edge of Seventeen infuses sharp modern wit into the coming-of-age teen dramedy
There's an inherent melodrama built into the way a teenage mind operates, but that doesn't mean melodramatic expressions of real anxiety and depression are invalid. The Edge of Seventeen understands this on a deeper, realer level than most coming-of-age high school dramedies.

Talking to aliens

Amy Adams must bridge the human-alien language gap in Arrival
You've seen some variation of this scene in any number of alien invasion movies: humans and aliens meet for the first time, and then the aliens immediately begin speaking English. There's always some exposition to wave it away — telepathy, maybe, or perhaps technology, or, in one exceptional instance, a tiny fish lodged in everyone's ear canal — and then the story quickly moves on before audiences can get too stuck on the mechanics of it.

Weird Science

Doctor Strange features a whole lot of CGI but lacks in story
Forget everything you think you know," Chiwetel Ejiofor intones here, in that amazing voice that commands you heed him. Alas, his planet-protecting wizard, Mordo, just wants you to forget everything you know about superhero origin stories so this one will (hopefully) feel fresh to you.

Full Moral Jacket

A real-life war story is uncomfortably split in Hacksaw Ridge
Some of the most celebrated movies in history have addressed the experience of war — from All Quiet on the Western Front to Apocalypse Now to Saving Private Ryan — in a way that keeps raising the bar. Are there compelling new stories to tell about the brutality of armies clashing?

Double Trouble

Keeping Up with the Joneses steals an idea and does little with it
Life in the 'burbs gets another humdrum shake-up in the cul-de-sac action comedy Keeping Up with the Joneses.

From Book to Bore

Inferno is a messy, nonsensical continuation of the Robert Langdon series
I'm not sure any of this movie makes sense on any level whatsoever. And that's saying something, considering that it's based on a Dan Brown novel.

The Bad, the Worse and the Puppy

In a Valley of Violence is a funny, thoughtful Western semi-send-up
Ti West's In a Valley of Violence is a film whose appeal slowly unfurls itself. Its somewhat corny pre-credits sequence, in which wanderer Paul (Ethan Hawke) has an encounter with a preacher that culminates in an attack by Paul's trusty canine companion, sees its jarring ridiculousness tempered by the purposefully hokey, stylized opening title sequence that immediately follows it.

Furry Things

Christopher Guest revives his mockumentary franchise with Mascots
The sneaky manner in which Netflix rolls out its original feature films was a bit of a blessing for the cult fans of Christopher Guest, who had to endure only a month or so of anticipation before the release of Mascots. Devotees of Guest's oddball ensemble mockumentaries, featuring mostly improvised dialogue, have been jonesing for a film from the auteur since the mostly forgettable For Your Consideration in 2006.

Missed Connections

The Girl on the Train isn't the next Gone Girl
Gone girls are very big business. Certainly Paula Hawkins' bestseller The Girl on the Train benefited from the tailwind of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, with their overlapping interests in missing women, unfaithful men and unreliable narrators.

School Daze

Middle School aims for a softer, safer Ferris Bueller vibe
Rafe Khatchadorian (Griffin Gluck), a budding artist, is starting over at his third middle school, a place governed by the rules-obsessed Principal Dwight (Andrew Daly) and his chief enforcer (Retta). As a tonic to the school's rigidity, Rafe and his only friend Leo (Thomas Barbusca) embark on a plan to break every one of the rules in the school's Code of Conduct handbook.


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