Capsule reviews of feature films

The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Entertainment News

ANNIHILATION 3 stars. A group of scientists (Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson) enters a mysterious zone of new life comprised of mutating alien DNA. Trippy, downbeat sci-fi from director Alex Garland (Ex Machina) mixes old and new special effects, old and new sci-fi ideas. 1 hr. 55 R (violence) -- Gary Thompson

BLACK PANTHER. 3.5 stars. Thoughtful, rousing new Marvel adventure from writer-director Ryan Coogler, who delivers the boilerplate blockbuster action components with a provocative story about a modern-day African king (Chadwick Boseman) dealing with threats (in the person of villain Michael B. Jordan) to his nation and his throne -- a story that resonates in the real world. Strong roles for Lupita Nyong'o, Letitia Wright, and Danai Gurira. 2 hrs. 20 PG-13 (violence) -- Gary Thompson

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME. 3 stars. Handsome production set in 1983 Italy, where a professor (Michael Stuhlbarg) is hosting a handsome student (Armie Hammer) who becomes involved with the professor's son (Timothee Chalamet). Sensitively told coming-of-age story that is well-acted by Chalamet and Hammer. Written by James Ivory, it recalls some of the quintessential Merchant Ivory movies of the 1990s, though it's directed by Luca Guadagnino. 2 hrs. 11 R (sex) -- Gary Thompson

THE CURED. 2 stars. After a virus hits Ireland and turns people into zombies, an antidote cures most of them, but there are problems as the once-infected are returned to society. Some interesting that manage to refresh the played-out zombie genre, but the actors (including Ellen Page) get stuck in one-note roles. With Sam Keeley. 1 hr. 35 R (violence) -- Gary Thompson

DARKEST HOUR. 3 stars. Gary Oldman has great fun as Winston Churchill, and it's great fun to watch him play Britain's wartime prime minister, contending with political opposition while rallying his people and his king (Ben Mendelsohn) to the cause of opposing Germany in the face of the dire events at Dunkirk. Joe Wright's showboating direction is a match for the heightened pitch of the performances. 2 hrs. 5 PG-13 (language) -- Gary Thompson

DEATH WISH. 2 stars. Clumsy remake of the 1974 Charles Bronson original. This one stars Bruce Willis as a wealthy Chicago physician who becomes a gun-toting vigilante after thugs attack his wife (Elizabeth Shue) and daughter (Camilla Morrone). Willis' character is meant to be grappling with rage and fury, but he's curiously subdued in the role, and the movie registers as wishy-washy exploitation. 1 hr. 47 R (violence) -- Gary Thompson

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15:17 TO PARIS. 2 stars. Clint Eastwood uses the real-life heroes involved to tell the stories of three American men who stopped an armed terrorist from committing mass murder on a Paris-bound train. Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos. 1 hr. 34 PG-13 (violence) -- G.T.

FIFTY SHADES FREED. 1.5 stars. Painful conclusion to S&M soap opera about a woman (Dakota Johnson) involved with a wealthy man (Jamie Dornan) who's into kinky bedroom behavior. With Marcia Gay Harden. 1 hr. 45 R (sex) -- Gary Thompson

GAME NIGHT. 3 stars. Forgettable but often funny and efficient comedy about a competitive couple (Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams) whose game night gets out of control when a fake crime-solving exercise goes haywire. Jesse Plemons has a funny supporting role, and Kyle Chandler co-stars. 1 hr. 33 R (language) -- Gary Thompson

I, TONYA. 3 stars. Margot Robbie produces and stars in this biography, told with elements of black comedy, of notorious figure skater Tonya Harding (Robbie), implicated in the conspiracy to injure competitive rival Nancy Kerrigan. Allison Janney and Sebastian Stan are Harding's abusive mother and husband, Bobby Canavale a cynical tabloid TV reporter. 1 hr. 59 R (violence) -- Gary Thompson


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