Friday, March 31, 2017

No more mutants


There's greatness within it, even if it falls apart almost as often as it comes together.

Directed by James Mangold
Written by Scott Frank, Michael Green, and James Mangold
With Hugh Jackman (Logan), Patrick Stewart (Charles Xavier), Dafne Keen (Laura), Stephen Merchant (Caliban), and Boyd Holbrook (Donald Pierce)

Spoiler alert: high, though no moreso than every other review out there

Monday, March 20, 2017

Laika Week, part III: Frankly, he's done rather well for a kid with pronounced, disabling rickets


The good times at Laika just keep on rolling, with the kid's gross-out flick to beat them all.

Directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi
Written by Irena Brignull, Adam Pava, Phil Dale, Vera Brosgol, and Anthony Stucchi (based on the book Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow)
With Isaac Hempstead Wright (Eggs), Elle Fanning (Winnifred Portley-Rind), Dee Bradley Baker (Fish), Steve Blum (Shoe), Simon Pegg (Herbert Trubshaw), Jared Harris (Lord Portley-Rind), Nick Frost (Mr. Trout), Richard Ayoade (Mr. Pickles), Tracy Morgan (Mr. Gristle), and Ben Kingsley (Archibald Snatcher)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Well, at least it explains Ben Carson


An above-average horror-thriller with some real shit on its mind.  But just because it's capital-I Important doesn't mean we get to overlook the growing pains for a first-time director who, as far as I know, has never even set foot in this genre before now.

Written and directed by Jordan Peele
With Daniel Kaluuya (Chris Washington), LilRel Howery (Rod Williams), Allison Williams (Rose Armitage), Caleb Landry Jones (Jeremy Armitage), Bradley Whitford (Dean Armitage), and Catherine Keener (Missy Armitage)

Spoiler alert: somewhere between moderate and high

Monday, March 13, 2017

Laika Week, part II: Aggie—my name was Aggie


If I were ever inclined to count animated films as "proper" kid's adventures, then ParaNorman would be in real contention to be called the best of them.

Directed by Sam Fell and Chris Butler
Written by Stephen Stone, Arianne Sutner, and Chris Butler
With Kodi Smit-McPhee (Norman Babcock), Tucker Albrizzi (Neil Downe), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Alvin), Anna Kendrick (Courtney Babcock), Casey Affleck (Mitch Downe), Jeff Garlin (Perry Babcock), Leslie Mann (Sandra Babcock), John Goodman (Prenderghast), Bernard Hill (Judge Hopkins), and Jodelle Ferland (Agatha)

Spoiler alert: high

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Laika Week, part I: Cute as a button


Flawed as it is, this impressively dark fairy tale would still manage to stand on its own—and be fully worthy of being called great—even if it weren't the necessary forerunner of some even better things to come.

Written and directed by Henry Selick (based on the book by Neil Gaiman)
With Dakota Fanning (Coraline Jones), Robert Bailey Jr. (Wybourne "Wybie" Lovat), Keith David (the Cat), Jennifer Saudens (April Sprink), Dawn French (Miriam Forcible), Ian McShane (Sergei "the Amazing" Bobinsky), John Hodgman/John Linnell (Charlie Jones), and Teri Hatcher (Mel Jones)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The road to unwellville


As with much of Verbinski's latterday live-action output, it seems, there's a theoretical 90 minute cut of this that's probably pretty great.  But what I actually watched sure as hell wasn't.

Directed by Gore Verbinski
Written by Justin Haythe and Gore Verbinski
With Dane DeHaan (Lockhart), Mia Goth (Hannah), Harry Groener (Pembroke), and Jason Isaacs (Volmer)

Spoiler alert: mild