Mr. Movie Reviews

Top Ten Movies of 2018

Current Movie Reviews

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The final chapter of a series no one knew would be a trilogy. McAvoy, Jackson & Willis being held in a mental hospital allegedly suffering from a condition where they believe they are superheroes. A fitting finale, though more thoughtful that many will want. McAvoy amazes. B

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Not sure in which universe Felicity Jones looks like Ruth Bader Ginsberg which is only one issue I have with ON THE BASIS OF SEX. The story of one of RBG’s career highlights feels lightweight and more like a TV movie to me. I wanted to to be great but it is not! C+

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Julia Roberts & Lucas Hedges, written/directed by Hedges’ dad, Peter. Kinda high profile to drop off the radar late last year but now I know why. Bleak, depressing & harrowing tale of a drug addict’s surprise visit home for a holiday. Crazy sad with little to recommend C-

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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+

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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

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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

On Netflix

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

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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

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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

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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-

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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

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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-

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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

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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-

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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-

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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

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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-

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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-

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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+

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Gary Hart was expected to be the next President in 1988, but a wandering eye and inability to keep it in his pants squashed his efforts quickly. No longer would the press look the other way. Politics and journalism changed right here & this movie doesn’t do justice to either. B-

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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

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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+

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Did we need another Grinch movie? Every movie reminds us of how great the TV version was/is! The animation here is tremendous, Cumberbatch does excellent work, but there’s not enough story to stretch to a 90-minute movie. Nothing new is added…stick with the classic. B

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What a cast! Crowe, Kidman, Hedges & director Joel Edgerton in a story about a young boy sent by his Pastor father for gay conversion therapy. A very dark film that gets darker & darker. Hedges continues to amaze with his talents. Kidman too. The strong message very well delivered. B+

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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+

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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-

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So great to see a movie live up to its trailer. No time for small talk, Widows starts with a bang and doesn’t let up for over two hours. Great tension, action, acting and most of all, the cast. Davis, Duvall, and Farrell leading the way. Gritty, smart, badass women. Solid A-

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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+

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Claire Foy takes the reins from Rooney Mara who took them from Noomi Rapace as Lizbeth Salander in this series. It’s not getting better. It’s a tough role since she is so cold. Lots of action but it’s like being dropped into the middle of a story without a clue. Too bad. C+

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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-

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One of the year’s best lead performances & a great soundtrack are the two best reasons to see this film. An overview of Mercury’s life w/ little to no detail or depth. Sex, alcohol, drugs, rock & roll and AIDS. The sad story of a lonely man w/ tons of talent. Great music! B+

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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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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

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I have a family secret to share. Sue’s sister Deb is a huge fan of bad movies, the dumber the better. She will love this one. HUNTER: KILLER, by the way, horrible title, is laughably bad but still rousingly entertaining. The action is so fast-paced that you don’t even notice. B.

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Once in a while, you stumble upon a movie that surprises you. Phoenix, Reilly, Gyllenhall & Ahmed are at the top of their game in the story of trackers on the trail of a pair with a valuable secret. Violent, funny & touching but really good. An old-fashioned “shoot ’em up” A-

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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+

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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-

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Close getting huge Oscar buzz over her role as the wife of a Nobel winning author. As they travel to pick up his prize the story of their lives and his successes slowly unfurl in many directions. An entertaining film with strong performances by Close and Pryce. B

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Top Weekend Box Office Results

The weekend of Jan 18-20, 2019

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Watch on Netflix / Amazon Prime & HULU

Bird Box

When a mysterious force decimates the population, only one thing is certain — if you see it, you die. The survivors must now avoid coming face to face with an entity that takes the form of their worst fears. Searching for hope and a new beginning, a woman and her children embark on a dangerous journey through the woods and down a river to find the one place that may offer sanctuary. To make it, they’ll have to cover their eyes from the evil that chases them — and complete the trip blindfolded.

Homecoming

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.

The Miracle Season
Based on the inspiring true story of the West High School girl’s volleyball team. After the tragic loss of star player Caroline “Line” Found in an accident, the remaining team players must band together under the guidance of their tough-love coach, Kathy Bresnahan, in hopes of winning the state championship.

Movies Opening The Week of January 14, 2019

Serenity

R 2019 ‧ Drama/Thriller ‧ 1h 46m
Baker Dill is a fishing boat captain who leads tours off of the tranquil enclave of Plymouth Island. His peaceful life is soon shattered when his ex-wife Karen tracks him down. Desperate for help, Karen begs Baker to save her — and their young son — from her violent husband. She wants him to take the brute out for a fishing excursion — then throw him overboard to the sharks. Thrust back into a life that he wanted to forget, Baker now finds himself struggling to choose between right and wrong.

The Kid Who Would Be King

PG 2019 ‧ Fantasy/Action ‧ 2h 12m
Old-school magic meets the modern world when young Alex stumbles upon the mythical sword Excalibur. He soon joins forces with a band of knights and the legendary wizard Merlin when the wicked enchantress Morgana threatens the future of mankind.

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