" The ability to speak doesn’t make you intelligent "
— Liam Neeson, Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace

MRQE Top Critic

Seven Years in Tibet

(review...)

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Recent Reviews

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

Mary Poppins Returns

****Rob Marshall

Emily Blunt’s take on Mary Poppins is practically perfect in every way.

Mary Poppins Returns with much more than a spoonful of pure, badly-needed optimism.

Vice

***

Give Christian Bale the Oscar.

This is a clever movie, America. But it’s not a documentary.

Give Christian Bale the Oscar. He nailed my mannerisms and tics. My measured speech patterns. How I gargle. No one else has delivered such an impeccable performance in 2018, at least not in the movies.

Welcome to Marwen

**1/2Robert Zemeckis

It might be a better choice to simply watch the documentary, Marwencol.

Welcome to Marwen is a well-meaning effort, but the truth is more colorful and makes more sense.

Bumblebee

**1/2Travis Knight

None of it is even remotely offensive, but then again, not much of it is particularly stimulating.

Bumblebee doesn’t live up to all the buzz.

Like ‘em or hate ‘em (did anybody really love ‘em?), Michael Bay’s Transformers movies had a certain kind of frenetic energy that kept them entertaining, at least to a certain degree. But their oftentimes crass and offensive humor made them easier to keep at a distance instead of embrace.

Creed II

***1/2

It’s all about the importance of character and the ability to face life’s challenges.

Creed II’s strong emotional core makes it a big winner.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

***1/2

The growing cast of wizards and witches cast some mighty dark shadows.

Storytelling wizard J.K. Rowling mines the times and transforms the series with The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Overlord

***

It’s equal parts war movie and horror movie - and it’s also a loving tribute to movies as a whole.

As far as blood and guts go, Overlord is a pleasant surprise.

The Grinch (2018)

***

During these chaotic times, it’s a relief to see this movie end with a wish for kindness.

This Grinch lacks spunk, but at least it’s wholesome and respectable.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

***

It’s a nice bridge from McCarthy’s typically foul-mouthed, larger-than-life characters.

In this strong dramatic turn, Melissa McCarthy rebounds from the disastrous Happytime Murders with an Oscar-caliber performance.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

*1/2Joe Johnston, and Lasse Hallström

It’s all as mechanical as the tin soldiers featured in the climactic War of the Realms.

All the splendor of CGI and Tchaikovsky can’t crack this nut. It’s a holiday movie fiasco.

Halloween (2018)

*1/2

It’s been 40 years. And yet nothing’s changed in the world of mad slasher movies.

A novel idea quickly devolves into the frustratingly familiar.

First Man

***1/2Damien Chazelle

It’s refreshing to see smart people doing smart things on the big screen.

First Man has the right stuff.

Neil Armstrong. The first man on the moon. And this is the story of how he got there. What a journey of grit and spirit. It’s a great American story (complete with American flags) and it’s a great story of human endurance and ingenuity.

Venom

**1/2

There is the potential to go dark and subversive with this material.

Venom lacks bite.

Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road) and Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn). They’re a great pairing. Hardy is always fun to watch and Williams is an A-list talent who always brings credibility to her roles.

A Star Is Born (2018)

***Bradley Cooper

Maybe a centennial remake in 2037 will finally get it all right.

The latest version of A Star Is Born is a flawed gem.

This tale — as told in 1937, 1954, 1976 and 2018 — revolves around an alcohol-addled celebrity whose star is on the wane stumbling upon a fresh talent. The falling star meets the rising star. As he battles the bottle, he coaches her and watches her career soar. And they fall in love. But it’s a turbulent, challenging relationship that ends in tragedy.

Operation Finale

***

It should’ve studied up on Spielberg’s Mossad masterpiece, Munich.

Operation Finale is based on an intense true story, but it could’ve been told with a little more passion.