Review: “Moana”

4.5 out of 5 stars. Walt Disney Feature Animation has had a remarkable past several years, turning out amazing film after amazing film, from the cultural phenomenon “Frozen” to the record-breaking hit of this spring, “Zootopia.”  But even among such illustrious titles, “Moana” may be the studio’s crowning achievement of this era. “Moana,” which is … Continue reading Review: “Moana”

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Review: “The Edge of Seventeen”

4.5 out of 5 stars. Awkward people and fans of teen comedies, rejoice.  Writer and director Kelly Fremon Craig’s “The Edge of Seventeen” is a wonderful medley of everything that’s great about the John Hughes teen films of the eighties, and the quirky indie comedies of the last decade, a la Juno—in fact, this movie … Continue reading Review: “The Edge of Seventeen”

Review: “Moonlight”

5 out of 5 stars. "Moonlight" is one of those films that it's hard to believe even exists-- it tells a type of story with a type of character that hasn't been done before, and does so in an exceedingly heartfelt and poetic way that earns it the title of one of the year’s best … Continue reading Review: “Moonlight”

Review: “Arrival”

4 out of 5 stars. What would the people of Earth do if our planet was suddenly invaded by an alien race?  It's a question that has been asked by hundreds of science fiction films, with "Arrival" now joining the bunch.  But "Arrival" isn't an action movie.  It isn't about people fighting the aliens; in fact, the story … Continue reading Review: “Arrival”

Review: “Hacksaw Ridge”

4.5 out of 5 stars. It has been ten years since Mel Gibson's last directorial effort, "Apocalypto," was released to mixed reviews.  But controversial figure though he may be, Gibson makes a soaring comeback with his new film, "Hacksaw Ridge," based on the true story of World War II hero Desmond Doss. In the opening of … Continue reading Review: “Hacksaw Ridge”

Review: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

4 out of 5 stars. 2016 is shaping up the be the year of Harry Potter: five years after the last movie came out (and almost ten since the last book), we’ve gotten not only a play and published script of an all new story following those characters, but a new spinoff film as well.  … Continue reading Review: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

Review: “Manchester by the Sea”

5 out of 5 stars. Usually there’s at least one movie every year that bowls me over with its honest and unflinching character studies, a film that I know I love even as I’m watching it for the first time.  It looks like this year, director Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester by the Sea” is that movie. … Continue reading Review: “Manchester by the Sea”

Review: “Inferno”

2 out of 5 stars. Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon novels aren’t particularly good, and neither were their film adaptations.  So when I say that “Inferno”—the third film based on the third novel in Brown’s series—is better than “Angels and Demons” and about on par with “The Da Vinci Code,” that’s not a compliment. Ron Howard … Continue reading Review: “Inferno”

Review: “The Birth of a Nation” (2016)

3.5 out of 5 stars. “The Birth of a Nation” is the title of D.W. Griffith’s landmark 1915 film, a movie that remains controversial thanks to its heroic portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan.  Filmmaker Nate Parker applied that same title to his 2016 film about the 1831 slave uprising led by Nat Turner in … Continue reading Review: “The Birth of a Nation” (2016)

Review: “The Girl on the Train”

1.5 out of 5 stars. It can be difficult to erase a book’s influence from your mind when watching its film adaptation, but let’s real: some stories, no matter how great they are, just don’t work in film form.  Case in point: Paula Hawkins’ bestselling thriller “The Girl on the Train.” Directed by Tate Taylor, … Continue reading Review: “The Girl on the Train”