" It’s been a pleasure talking to you "
— [Robert Blake?], Lost Highway

MRQE Top Critic

The Big Animal

The crux of the problem is that Zygmunt is now camel-guy and everyone else isn't —John Adams (DVD review...)

Kieslowski wrote a fable about The Big Animal

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Recent Reviews

These are our latest reviews of movies at theaters, at the art house, or at festivals.

Split

**1/2

Split earns a divided review.

Everything that works in Split is James McAvoy.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage

***

Xander Cage’s return is absurd and he knows it.

xXx’s latest save-the-world adventure is absolutely, completely and utterly preposterous. But it’s also disarming in its exuberance and the joy with which it relishes in the comic absurdity of the whole thing.

Silence

***

Silence is a hard movie to dismiss.

The reward at the end of Silence is enough to justify the long, arduous journey.

Passengers

2016, Morton Tyldum

Nice scenery, but they should have packed more thematic baggage

A major corporation has developed technology that’s able to ferry people through space in a state of hibernation until they reach a new planet called Homestead 2. By the time they arrive at a place that’s free of Earth’s deterioration and crowding, they’ll have been in a state of suspended animation for 120 years.

Fences

2016, Denzel Washington

Theatrical power build’s Washington’s take on Fences

Anger and irony always have informed Denzel Washington’s best work, and in his adaptation of August Wilson’s play Fences, Washington finds a character that’s equal to his taunting, incisive intelligence and his unwavering commitment to finding the dramatic truth of every character he plays.

Moana

****

Moana flows like the ocean.

As far as animated musicals go, Moana is about as good as it gets.

Rules Don’t Apply

**1/2

Truly, this might be the biggest blown opportunity of the year in moviedom.

This tale of Howard Hughes, Hollywood and honey babies isn’t enriching enough.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

***

The more it’s thought about, the better it settles in the mind.

The humans are more fantastic than the titular beasts in this mostly satisfying, multi-layered fantasy.

Bleed For This

2016, Ben Younger

Tells a powerful story, but not always with distinction

Boxing movies long have been a staple in Hollywood’s repertoire with Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull still topping most lists of big-screen knock-outs.

Lost in Paris

***1/22016, Dominique Abel, and Fiona Gordon

Dom & Fiona release their fourth feature (one more ‘til they catch Jacques Tati)

A friend of mine said she walked out of Lost in Paris in Telluride. “It’s just ... slapstick,” she said.

Arrival

**1/2

A long, plodding two-hour journey that arrives at a destination of debatable value.

Arrival garners a lukewarm welcome.

Arrival is the kind of movie that generates an odd mix of admiration and frustration. There are great ideas and terrific thoughts that warm the heart. But there’s also a detachment, an arms-length stance that keeps the characters and story at a distance when they all desperately need to be snuggling up right in the audience’s lap.

After the Storm

***2016, Hirokazu Koreeda

Can we still change as we age? Kore-eda wants to know.

I can think of worse ways to spend a few days than to watch all of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s films.

The five I’ve seen have been about the touching connections that remain when parents and children are pulled apart.

Actor Martinez

2016, Mike Ott, and Nathan Silver

Identity-fracturing experiment pits actor Martinez against his directors

Denver Film Festival favorite Mike Ott has been bringing his low-budget films to DFF for years. His films are low-budget dramas, offering sympathy and empathy for hard-luck California youths. The characters in Ott’s films have often shared the names of their actors, blurring the line between performance and documentary.

Doctor Strange

***

The story needed to spend more time figuring out what makes Doctor Strange tick.

Doctor Strange works his magic — at least through the first two acts.

Ma

2015, Celia Rowlson-Hall

Writer/director/choreographer Rowlson-Hall leads an dance through the desert

A balletic trip through American deserts and, apparently, a telling of the Virgin Mary’s flight across Egypt (so it says on the film’s festival listing), Ma is a visually strong work about a woman constrained by fate.