Current Movie Reviews
Not sure we needed this sequel & after seeing it, we didn’t. Five years later we find ourselves in the basement with a young man and sister creating the action/story. It seemed like the movie was created/written by a child. Quite clever but it can’t sustain that level. C
Admittedly I’m a sucker for these stupid Liam Neeson movies & this one is no exception. When bad guys kill his son, there’s hell to pay. Don’t worry about keeping up; the movie gives you a title page for each death…Speedo, Limbo & many others. Dark, dark comedy but fun. B
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Nominated for Best Foreign Film (Poland), Directing & Cinematography this non-traditional romance is extremely well done. Romance jumps all around Europe from 1949-mid 1960s. Love, life, the arts, and politics add intrigue and complications. The ending will surprise & confuse! B+
Want to be a fashion designer gets involved with the Mexican cartel, drugs & machine guns. Now that’s not a plot you see every day! The movie started well but sagged significantly in the middle before collapsing at the end. Other than a lot of gunfire, not any point to the film. C+
Noomi Rapace, the original girl with the dragon tattoo, stars in the Netflix film CLOSE. She plays a bodyguard in the middle east, charged with keeping an heiress alive. Action (& violence) packed and though not great, a little better than average for a cold night at home. C+
Cranston, Hart & Kidman remake a beautiful French film and do an admirable job. The real story of an unqualified man is hired to be an aide to a wealthy quadriplegic — a different movie than the first but still very good. Hart is funny not trying to be funny. Heartwarming! B+
One of 2018’s best films finally opens in Des Moines! Moonlight director Jenkins adapts acclaimed black writer James Baldwin and it is great. Two young people very much in love but dealing with prejudice at home & on the streets of Harlem. The cast is great from top to bottom. A
Was not expecting a well made, relatively engaging thriller this afternoon. And that’s why you see the movie!! Mysterious invitations & six strangers have to find their way out of an elaborate life or death escape room. Much better than expected & it nails the ending! B
Sue & I spent a low key NY’s eve watching the new Sandra Bullock movie, BIRD BOX, on Netflix. What a great movie! Intense from the opening scene & it doesn’t really let up much til the end! Well made, well acted & one of the best thrillers I’ve seen in years. Crazy good fun! A
Expectations are everything! When you go in expecting the worst movie ever you might find yourself just thinking it is only one of the worst movies ever! No laughs, ridiculous story, horribly written, directed and edited. Otherwise not bad! Just another Will Ferrell movie. D
I wasn’t expecting to ever enjoy a Transformers movie again. This one has a few great reviews, so I thought I’d risk it. Steinfeld finds a beat-up VW Bug takes it home & finds that it is a lost Transformer now being tracked by multiple bad guys. Fun, funny and lots of action! B
A challenging film about a man struggling to recover from a horrific beating: we see numerous escapes into a fantasy world done in director Zemeckis’ Polar Express style. Alternates between annoying, aggravating & touching. Not for everyone, esp. kids, but certainly original! B-
At nearly 2.5 hours, this poorly acted CGI-fest will test your credibility & patience. The excessive number of fight scenes are as unbelievable as they are long. Kidman, Dafoe & Patrick Wilson are miscast & wasted. Momoa was just okay. Action scenes felt like a Power Rangers movie. D
Writer/director Adam McKay gave us The Big Short in 2015 & now another look behind the curtain, this time the George W Bush presidency. Similar style & shocking details all with razor-sharp black humor. You will never look at these people the same way. One of the yr’s best…A-
Two of last yr’s Oscar noms for best actress face-off as Queens Elizabeth & Mary in the late 1500s. Cousins who both have claims on the English throne leads to lots of political fighting. Excellent acting & a great story don’t always translate into an entertaining film though. B
I was 6 when I saw the original & it is still in my top ten of all time. This sequel will not disappoint either adults or kids. Blunt and Miranda are tremendous; new songs are wonderful, great visual & musical nods to the original AND Dick Van Dyke! Emotional and great fun. A-
A daylily flower champion from Peoria, IL spends years ignoring his family but late in life becomes an accomplished drug mule for the cartel. Is it me or is this a weird setup for a Clint Eastwood film? The so-so film also wastes Michael Pena, Bradley Cooper & Dianne Wiest. B-
This greatly touted film hits DSM on Friday. I watched it last weekend & was less than thrilled. Two young women fight for the affection of Queen Anne during England’s war w/ France. Great performances but a weird story & annoying filmmaking distracted me. Pretty dark film. B
Marvel Comics’ iconic character is a small part of this movie which has other S-Men who come through dimensional cracks caused by the Kingpin. It is a wild ride and unlike anything you’ve seen before. The pace is crazy quick & it is stunning to watch for old & new fans alike. A-
A true holiday crowd-pleaser, w/ Mortensen & Ali in their best form. Inspired by true events, Ali is a world-class concert pianist who hires Mortensen as a driver/escort in the deep south in 1962. Excellent actors, great story & message that still needs to be told! Wonderful A-
The first movie was funny, clever & charming. The sequel is cute. I miss funny & clever. Reilly is still strong, but Silverman wears you out in the first 20 minutes. There are a handful of funny bits & the Disney princesses are classic but overall a bit of a snooze. Too long. C+
In A STAR IS BORN, Cooper directs & stars in the 4th version of this classic tale of a rock star dealing with demons as his wife’s career takes off. Unrecognizable Lady Gaga as his muse! Great acting & music. Very good, at times great film but not consistent. Still worth seeing. B+
I had high hopes for this one. Looked funny & had a nice premise. That was over in the first five minutes — fingernails on a chalkboard dialogue & pushing too hard to be funny kills it. The emotional punch of foster parenting is lost in the annoying characters & poor acting. C
Jordan, director Coogler and co-star Stallone breathed new life into the Rocky franchise in 2015 with Creed. Cooglar sits this one out, but Jordan & Stallone carry the franchise forward. Slow in the middle, the last third of the film will have you cheering for Apollo’s son! B+
Edgerton trades his Kingsman suits for a hood & mask in a rollicking reimagining of the Robin Hood story. Foxx, Mendelsohn & Abraham could teach a master class in overacting. Non-stop, very well done action scenes are visually stunning & the movie is a blast! Never boring, B+
Paul Dano’s directorial debut is an intense & sad look at a 1960’s family struggling to make it in a new Montana town. Dad leaves to fight a forest fire; mom reaches out for help in the wrong direction & the son is not sure what to do. Desperate people in horrible situations! B-
McCarthy as a real-life author who fell on hard times & began forging letters from dead authors to sell. Not sure if I knew she had this level of performance in her. Richard Grant in the support role is also excellent. The charade can’t last! A sad but very interesting story. B+
100% focused & full of warrior spirit, a young man attempts to climb the 3000 ft El Capitan wall in Yosemite without rope or safety gear. As breathtaking as it is difficult at times to watch. I’ve never witnessed a more daring/dangerous personal achievement. A great film. Wow. A
Carell/Chalamet are outstanding as a father/son struggling with the son’s drug addiction. Harrowing look at the downward spiral, in & out of rehab and hopes dashed. The pain and endless struggle to stay clean. Difficult to watch and an emotional roller coaster. Oscar buzz! A-
Ethan Hawke writes/directs this biography of country singer Blaze Foley. Though talented with a guitar he struggles mightily with depression, alcohol & other demons. The story is told through endless flashbacks. The film tends to move at a snails’ pace and is also too long. B-
A young daughter unlocks the secret of a gift from her deceased mom & it leads to a series of visually stunning but mind-numbing adventures. Clearly, all the money went to, just okay, special effects. Next time pay the writer more. Wasted talent in front of & behind the camera. C+
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Starring Julia Roberts, Bobby Cannavale, Stephan James
Genres Drama, Military and War, Suspense
Heidi Bergman is a caseworker at Homecoming, a facility that helps soldiers transition back to civilian life. She leaves Homecoming to start a new life living with her mother and working as a small-town waitress. Years later, the Department of Defense questions why she left, which makes Heidi realize that there’s a whole other story behind the one that she’s been telling herself. Oscar winner Julia Roberts stars as Heidi in the first regular TV series role of her career. “Homecoming” is based a podcast of the same name.
Movies Opening The Week of February 11, 2019
Natalie is a New York architect who works hard to get noticed at her job but is more likely to deliver coffee and bagels than design the city’s next skyscraper. Things go from bad to weird when she gets knocked unconscious during a subway mugging and magically wakes up to find herself in an alternate universe. Always cynical about love, Natalie’s worst nightmare soon comes true when she suddenly discovers that she’s playing the leading lady in a real-life romantic comedy.
Collegian Tree Gelbman wakes up in horror to learn that she’s stuck in a parallel universe. Her boyfriend Carter is now with someone else, and her friends and fellow students seem to be completely different versions of themselves. When Tree discovers that Carter’s roommate has been altering time, she finds herself once again the target of a masked killer. When the psychopath starts to go after her inner circle, Tree soon realizes that she must die over and over again to save everyone.
Set several centuries in the future, the abandoned Alita is found in the scrapyard of Iron City by Ido, a compassionate cyber-doctor who takes the unconscious cyborg Alita to his clinic. When Alita awakens, she has no memory of who she is, nor does she have any recognition of the world she finds herself in. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious past.
After running away from his negligent parents, committing a violent crime and being sentenced to five years in jail, a hardened, streetwise 12-year-old Lebanese boy sues his parents in protest of the life they have given him.