Big Screen Movie Reviews

Pictures at a (Movie) Exposition

Visuals are the story in this week’s new movie releases, including Dunkirk and Lady Macbeth

Director Christopher Nolan wants to remind folks why they go to movie theaters — instead of, you know, watching a movie on a telephone. In this critic’s humble opinion, he succeeds admirably in that effort ...

Where to see Dunkirk in 70mm

Pick your battle station wisely

When a studio goes to the effort of setting up an IMAX screening for the press, consider me first in line. It’s a luxurious perk and one that generally comes back to reward its backers ...

Lady Macbeth’s director on morality, animals, and his star Florence Pugh

Smart about evil: matrimony, misery, murder

William Oldroyd’s elegantly executed debut feature Lady Macbeth may prove to be the sort of quiet breakout for star Florence Pugh that Martha Marcy May Marlene was for Elizabeth Olsen (as opposed to the more ...

Will the monkeys do good business?

This week’s releases include War for the Planet of the Apes and not much else

Like Scott Marks, the other film critic here at the Reader, I thought the first two films of the rebooted Planet of the Apes series were excellent. Which is why I was so saddened to ...

The original Rotten Tomato

B.J. wouldn’t allow anyone to make it out the front door without asking, “How many stars?”

For every knowledgeably staffed Kensington Video, Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee, Facets Multimedia, or any number of cutting-edge video rental stores that once gave lonely cinephiles a place to go and someone to talk to, there ...

A bleat from a critical scapegoat

Studios would be deeply foolish to make big-budget movies primarily for the domestic market.

Pity the critic. Once, he bestrode the gulf between artist and audience like a colossus (no, not the big metal guy from Deadpool), raising up and casting down the creators, guiding and shaping a lively ...

Damn hurty Apes

We now believe a motion-capture monkey thinks, feels, reasons, and eventually speaks

The 20th Century Fox fanfare (with CinemaScope addendum) that opened War for the Planet of the Apes was performed on jungle drums and didgeridoo. Sometimes a film earns points even before the opening credits hit ...

Reader critics go soft for summer?

Starry-eyed for this week’s new releases, including Spider-Man: Homecoming and The Journey

“No Aunt May, no Spider-Man,” says my brother, and I know what he means. Without that frail and innocent soul that quietly cries out for protection and sacrifice on its behalf, Spider-Man loses a chunk ...

Director Nick Hamm on his Journey

The road less troubled?

The historical understructure of Nick Hamm’s The Journey came as news to me. Your humble correspondent Mr. Ugly American must have been at the movies the week Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley (Timothy Spall) ...

B movies

Plenty of second-letter fare in this week’s new movie releases, including The Bad Batch and The Beguiled

I’m of the opinion that “B movie” stopped having much useful meaning some time ago, certainly by the time the Transformers series became the box-office juggernaut that it is today — or was, until its ...

No refund on free passes?

How about cash back if you don't like the picture?

The sun was shining, the climate genial, and a Terence Davies picture that deserved a fate better than a single-screen living room playing at the Digital Gym. Time to go to the movies. Talk about ...

A warm Kaiser role from Christopher Plummer

Knew more about Wilhelm II than the movie reveals

The last time San Diegans saw Christopher Plummer perform was as fictional Nazi hunter Zev Guttman in Atom Egoyan's Remember. This time around he plays an exiled Kaiser Wilhelm II in The Exception which opens ...

Onscreen echoes

This week’s new movie releases, including The Book of Henry and All Eyez On Me, sound oddly familiar

47 Meters Down has girls and sharks, All Eyez on Me has rappers and racist cops, Beatriz at Dinner has a high-tension, high-end dinner party, The Book of Henry has boys and brutality and bullets, ...

Beatriz at Dinner makes the history books

Salma Hayek’s Beatriz has the worst haircut of the actress’s career

I’m not alone in my observation that Beatriz at Dinner will make the history books as the first narrative feature released since Trump took office that takes direct aim at the billionaire-game-show-host-turned-POTUS. It also has ...

Beatriz at Dinner is served

Director Miguel Arteta feasts on Salma Hayek

Sometimes the first impression of an artist whose work one will later grow fond of drops anchor in the unlikeliest of places. Such was the case of Miguel Arteta, whose latest, Beatriz at Dinner, opens ...

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