Current Movie Reviews
This might have had promise but the CG critters spoiled it for me. Downey is fun & trust me the youngest kids will love it but what could have been special was not. The original film was one of my childhood favorites. Eddie Murphy’s was not & this now sits w/ his. Misfire! C+
AUDIENCE SCORE 87% IMDB 5.6 /10
Finally got to PARASITE this afternoon & what a head rush. Highly praised South Korean film about a family helping another family under false pretenses. A wild, epic story well told, well shot & well-acted and about as original as they come. Plenty of suspense & violence. A-
AUDIENCE SCORE 91% IMDB 8.6 /10
25 years since the original movie?! If I had more energy I’d dig through my notebooks to see what I thought. The new movie will please fans of the first film (& maybe both people who admit they saw the first sequel!) Lots of action, humor & an engaging story. Fun, loud & stupid. B
AUDIENCE SCORE 95% IMDB 7.5 /10
1917 finally makes it here & it was worth the wait. Sam Mendes writes/directs based on old family WWI stories. All but the unknown cast is good. The film wants you to think its all one-shot (it’s not) & I found that more distracting than effective. Still a beautifully told story. A
AUDIENCE SCORE 90% IMDB 8.7 /10
Early buzz is not good & also flat out wrong. Surprisingly effective & engaging sci-fi film about a crew trapped on the ocean floor & forced to walk to safety. Heads up, they aren’t alone. Better than it should have been & Stewart again excellent. Intense & claustrophobic. B/B+
AUDIENCE SCORE 82% IMDB 6.2 /10
Redmayne in a true story of a man who dreams of being a meteorologist in 1862 & hopped into a balloon w/ Felicity Jones! Turns into a harrowing adventure that nearly kills them both. As an adventure film for the family, it’s a fun ride. Now available on Amazon Prime. B+
AUDIENCE SCORE 91% IMDB 6.6 /10
IMO, Malick makes great-looking films w/ long, convoluted & confusing storylines. This is better than most but it is an arduous watch at nearly three hours. A true tale of an Austrian man drafted into Hitler’s Nazi troops. He refuses to take a pledge & is tortured for years. B-
AUDIENCE SCORE 78% IMDB 7.7 /10
JUST MERCY features an all-star cast with Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and Brie Larson, and a story, though well-done, seems very familiar. A black man in Alabama wrongly accused of a murder he didn’t commit. Jordan plays a new attorney who takes the case. True story. B
AUDIENCE SCORE 92% IMDB 6.8 /10
A couple of years ago, director Gerwig & Ronan gave us the instant classic Lady Bird. Now they tackle the Louisa May Alcott classic and they knock it out of the park. An excellent adaptation with wonderful performances and a strong message to today’s “little” women. A-
AUDIENCE SCORE 95% IMDB 8.3 /10
Abysmal reviews & alleged re-edits. How bad is it? With full transparency, I hated the play and it’s not as bad as I expected. There might be 4-5 good songs, the dancing is excellent & there are strong, unexpected voices from Dench & McKellen plus best cat tap-dancing ever! C+
AUDIENCE SCORE 30% IMDB 2.7 /10
This has the most eclectic cast of the year, Sandler, Kevin Garnett, Judd Hirsch & Idina Menzel to name a few. Sandler plays a jeweler trying to score big & failing miserably. Intense, violent, profane turns to very dark & sad. Sandler is great but it’s not for everyone. B
AUDIENCE SCORE 89% IMDB 8.10 /10
I found this to be a very entertaining, well-told movie about the sleazy Roger Ailes who ran Fox News but also sexually harassed many of the women there, including two of his biggest stars. Theron, Kidman & Robbie are all strong, as is the story. Cameo by Malcom McDowell too! B+
AUDIENCE SCORE 67% IMDB 6.3 /10
42 years later we get the conclusion of the Star Wars saga. Secrets are revealed, great old friends return and there are at least 3 too many battle scenes. Truly special effects and stunning visuals. Slightly bloated but it almost had to be to get this wrapped up. IMAX! 👍 B+
AUDIENCE SCORE 74% IMDB 7 /10
Clint Eastwood’s holiday gift is Richard Jewell, the true story of a security guard mistakenly identified as the Olympic bomber in Atlanta. Solid cast and compelling story, but it never quite jelled for me. Rockwell continues to amaze. For me, it was a solid B, but I wanted more.
AUDIENCE SCORE 87% IMDB 7.8 /10
I really think this movie should have been great. Unfortunately, a tremendous cast & a well-made film cannot overcome a completely inept story. A botched drug heist leads to 8 dead NYC cops. Then we get endless foot chases & a stream of dirty cops. That’s all you’ve got? C.
AUDIENCE SCORE 88% IMDB 6.5 /10
AUDIENCE SCORE 92% IMDB 7.2 /10
AUDIENCE SCORE 91% IMDB 7.8 /10
AUDIENCE SCORE N/A IMDB 7 /10
AUDIENCE SCORE 95% IMDB 8.3 /10
AUDIENCE SCORE 84% IMDB 6.4 /10
AUDIENCE SCORE 90% IMDB 7.8 /10
AUDIENCE SCORE 90% IMDB 7.8 /10
AUDIENCE SCORE 83% IMDB 6.6 /10
Based on a Pulitzer prize-winning book that I have not read, this movie is a mess. At 2.5 hrs. I had plenty of time to shake my head, trying to figure out how this could have gone wrong. Deadbeat dads, terrorist strike, drug dealing Russians & a secret that everyone knew. C-
AUDIENCE SCORE 85% IMDB 6.4/10
AUDIENCE SCORE 60% IMDB 4.4 /10
2019 Top 10 Movies
Best movies of 2019… Not a great, great year for films but these on my list are all wonderful movies. Caution on a few
of them for violence (Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Joker & The Irishman) and a bit of raunchy humor (Booksmart).
1. Once Upon A Time in Hollywood!
2. Jo Jo Rabbit
3. Ford V. Ferrari
4. Little Women
9. The Irishman
Documentaries you probably missed and shouldn’t have… Another strong year for documentaries lead by a film shot in the 1970s but never released. Aretha Franklin in her absolute prime.
1. Amazing Grace
2. Apollo 11
3. Linda Ronstadt The Sound of My Voice
4. David Crosby: Remember My Name
5. Ask Dr. Ruth
Best kid’s movies I saw this year… I don’t see as many of these as I used to but it was a very weak year in my opinion. The classic animated Disney movies that were remade in live-action this year, for the most part, sucked! Frozen 2 makes the top three list, not for being
great but for not sucking!
1. How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
2. Frozen 2
3. The Addams Family
Click the Button Below. To see all the 2019 Iowa Film Critics Choices
Top Box Office (USA)
The Weekend of January 17-19, 2020
‘Bad Boys for Life’ Brings the Heat, Delivering $68 Million MLK Debut
The Martin Luther King holiday is bringing more box office heat than originally expected as Sony’s Bad Boys for Life delivered the second-largest MLK four-day performance ever as well as the studio’s largest R-rated opening ever. Added to that, even Universal’s Dolittle outperformed expectations, though the $175 million productions still have a long way to go.
Debuting with an estimated $68.1 million, Sony’s Bad Boys for Life exploded into theaters, delivering the second largest Martin Luther King weekend gross ever, topping 2014’s Ride Along, which opened with $48.6 million. The film’s $59.17 million three-day performance is also the second-largest January three-day debut, just behind 2015’s American Sniper ($89.26m) as well as the studio’s largest R-rated opening ever, topping the $57 million openings for 22 Jump Street back in 2014.
While the records are great, some of the best news the film could receive began with a solid critical response followed by a welcome audience reaction, resulting in an “A” CinemaScore and a 97% audience rating on RottenTomatoes. As for that crowd, the opening weekend audience was 55% male with 61% of the overall crowd coming in aged 25 or older.
It will be interesting to see where the film goes from here as its three-day tops the $56.8 million debut for John Wick: Chapter 3, which went on to gross over $171 million domestically, and is right behind the likes of Mission: Impossible – Fallout ($61.2m opening), Straight Outta Compton ($60.2m opening) and Hobbs & Shaw ($60m opening). You can follow these comps throughout the film’s release in our showdown here.
Internationally, Bad Boys for Life brought in an estimated $38.6 million from 39 markets with Germany leading the way with a $5.1 million debut. Mexico and Spain kicked in $3.8 million and $2.2 million respectively while 12 markets in the Middle East generated a combined $5.1 million. Upcoming key releases included France (Jan 22), Russia (Jan 23), Brazil (Jan 30), Japan (Jan 31) and Italy (Feb 20).
That draws you into Marriage Story isn’t the particulars but the form, the attack. Each star has a scene or three in which she or he babbles and rails and walks in and out of the frame, going for broke in the way of actors in semi-improvised psychodramas rather than, say, billion-dollar fantasy franchises. I don’t think audiences and critics are wowed by anything Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie (Adam Driver) actually say (see Kenneth Lonergan’s director’s cut of Margaret for revelatory pipelines to the psyche) but the fact that they’re saying it at such a high, theatrical pitch, in ways that make crews applaud when “cut” is called. (“That was the Oscar take!”) The driver is a big guy with big but not always expressive features — his face can be a mask, his manner groggy, unfocused. But here he’s center stage and close up, laboring to burn through that mask and shake off that grogginess and his drive toward being present connect with his character’s, and makes him very affecting. Johansson is even more vivid, her hair sheared to give her no tresses to twiddle or hide behind, her need for reassurance right there on the surface. But Nicole recedes in the story when the lawyers take over and put Charlie through the wringer. It’s his divorce story, not her.
Martin Scorsese’s latest tells the story of a mob hitman who recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa. Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci star in this gangster epic from Netflix that already has fans salivating, despite its epic 3.5-hour runtime. It premiered to rave reviews at New York Film Festival, only solidifying its case as a major contender during awards season. (Nov. 26)
Six individuals from all around the globe, each the very best at what they do, have been chosen not only for their skill, but for a unique desire to delete their pasts to change the future.
The Two Popes
Behind the Vatican walls, Pope Benedict and the future Pope Francis must find common ground to forge a new path for the Catholic Church.
An enigmatic translator with a dark past is brought in for questioning after an ex-pat friend, who came between her and her photographer boyfriend, ends up missing and presumed dead. Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander stars. (Nov. 15)
For all the NFL fans, the true very sad story on Aaron Hernandez! No, I don’t feel sorry for him, just the whole story. NFL fans a must-watch. A much-anticipated docuseries on Aaron Hernandez hit Netflix on Wednesday, and over three episodes it traces his shocking and seemingly incomprehensible downfall. Between the ages of 16 and 27, the Connecticut native went from being a fun-loving high school star to a well-paid tight end for the Super Bowl-minded Patriots, only to end up committing suicide in prison after being convicted of one Boston-area murder and heavily implicated in two others.
January Release Calendar
The Highlight’s of Movies Opening Around the Country
The Week of January 20, 2020
Check your local listings to see what movies are opening around you!
R | 1h 53min | Action, Crime
A British drug lord tries to sell off his highly profitable empire to a dynasty of Oklahoma billionaires.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writers: Guy Ritchie (screenplay by), Guy Ritchie (story by)
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery
R | 1h 50min | Drama, War
Thirty-four years after his death, Airman William H. Pitsenbarger, Jr. (“Pits”) is awarded the nation’s highest military honor, for his actions on the battlefield.
Director: Todd Robinson
Writer: Todd Robinson
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Jeremy Irvine
PG-13 | 1h 34min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
A young governess is hired by a man who has become responsible for his young nephew and niece after the deaths of their parents. A modern take on Henry James’ novella “The Turn of the Screw”.
Director: Floria Sigismondi
Writers: Carey W. Hayes (as Carey Hayes), Chad Hayes
Stars: Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard, Brooklynn Prince
Unrated | 1h 51min | Horror, Sci-Fi
A town is struck by a meteorite and the fallout is catastrophic.
Director: Richard Stanley
Writers: Scarlett Amaris, H.P. Lovecraft (based on the short story by)
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Q’orianka Kilcher, Joely Richardson