Big Screen Movie Reviews

Meet the new Star Wars, same as the old Star Wars...

That old familiar feeling in this week's new movie releases, including Star Wars: The Last Jedi

That's not entirely fair, of course. This new Star Wars has lots more ladies than usual, and besides, the repeated bits are always given a little tweak here and there. Still, I did have a ...

How to fill 105 minutes with Ferdinand

Spanish bull as early pacifist

Will Ferdinand’s bravery prove intrepid enough to win this weekend’s box-office battle against The Last Jedi or will the mighty (and mightily fey) cartoon bull prove to be no match for the Force? We all ...

What’s so funny ’bout peace, love, and understanding?

Outsiders abound in this week’s new movie releases, including The Shape of Water and The Other Side of Hope

What indeed, Elvis? But without war, hate, and myopia, we wouldn’t have the outsiders who drive the drama in so many of our stories. Like the fish-man and the woman with something fishy about her ...

Aki Kaurismäki’s wise and gentle comedy, The Other Side of Hope

Neither of our heroes come equipped with a sense of humor

We open inside the dank hull of a coal freighter — only these lumps have eyes. Khaled Ali’s (Sherwan Haji) peepers blink awake as the stowaway sits up in the lumpy bed of black that’s ...

Pixar’s splendid Coco

“Is there sufficient reason for the tears that will inevitably run down my face by the end?”

Smash the American Idol. Still The Voice. America’s Got Talent, but let it stay at home and delight the household and its gods (or at least its ancestors). But what if the household is not ...

An unlikely Christmas story: The Man Who Invented Christmas

The velveteen costumes and production design are sumptuous

One month before Christmas, it’s The Man Who Invented Christmas. With three flops in a row and a string of creditors stretching around the block, Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) floats the idea of a Christmas ...

Spoilers ahead!

A few not-so-shocking giveaways about this week’s new movie releases, including Justice League and Frank Serpico

Okay, people, spoilers ahead. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED. Justice League: Aquaman’s powers mostly go unused. BPM: AIDS kills. Frank Serpico: The hero cop of Serpico is a hero cop. Bill Nye: Science Guy: Bill Nye defends ...

Barbarians at heart

The Square is lengthy, sometimes luxuriating in its long takes...to the point of discomfiture

What is The Square? Well, it’s a piece of art, so there are no doubt any number of interpretations. But I’ll hazard a guess: The Square is writer-director Ruben Östlund’s latest salvo against institutions that, ...

Amadeus at Symphony Hall

I happened to see that the San Diego Symphony was offering a screening of the movie Amadeus on a Saturday night (November 4) for $5, so I went. How could I not? The movie was ...

That ’70s feeling

This week’s new movie releases look back: Murder on the Orient Express, Last Flag Flying, Novitiate

Novitiate? The Devils. Last Flag Flying? The Last Detail. Murder on the Orient Express? Murder on the Orient Express. No Greater Love? It ain’t exactly Winter Soldier, but it does involve war footage and traumatized ...

Yes, but will He forgive Mark Wahlberg for this?

Terrible sequels, just in time for the holidays: A Bad Moms Christmas and Daddy’s Home 2

Albert Brooks can’t get arrested in Hollywood, but sequels to star-studded, empty-headed comedies continue to flourish. Back-to-back screenings of A Bad Moms Christmas and the second movement in the Daddy’s Home saga made it a ...

San Diego Asian Film Festival: The stench burns

My goal is to encourage audiences to attend more esoteric screenings

It’s time for the San Diego Asian Film Festival to once again take up residence at the UltraStar Mission Valley and the Digital Gym. (Festival #17 runs November 9-18, with the opening night at the ...

Starstruck

A plethora of three- and four-star movies in this week’s new releases, including Thor: Ragnarok, The Nile Hilton Incident, Jane, and Tragedy Girls

As the Beast used to say in the old X-Men comic books, “Oh my stars and garters.” (And yes, that’s a cheap way of referencing this week’s comic-book movie release, Thor: Ragnarok. Let’s get back ...

Wonderstruck, a near-deaf experience

Haynes and happenstance

Two deaf children, separated by five decades and both searching for the same thing, are flattened by a train of coincidence in Wonderstruck, the latest period(s) melodrama from director Todd Haynes (Far from Heaven, Carol). ...

Death, stabby and otherwise

Knives abound in this week’s new movie releases, including 78/52 and Suburbicon

Guns are fun, but when directors really want to paint the screen red, they go for the stabbing, slicing, slashing goodness of blades. And this week sees the opening of 78/52, a documentary about maybe ...

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