Most evil-kid movies -- "The Omen," "The Exorcist," the "Village of the Damned" films, and on and on back to "The Bad Seed" in 1956 -- are frank about their intentions. They're horror flicks, and they want to freak you out. You know this when you set out to see them -- it's the reason you're going. However, "The Innocents," a new movie from ...Read more
Arriving less than five months after "Spider-Man: No Way Home," the new "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is a bit of a fizzle. "No Way Home" was one of the most soulful and technically impressive films in the 14-year history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a picture distinguished by the clarity of its storytelling, the clamoring ...Read more
Somewhere in the future a woman named Sarah is informed that she has a terminal disease. "What are my chances?" she asks a doctor, poking around for an ember of hope. "Zero," the doctor says. "Life has thrown you a curveball."
But there turns out to be an upside to Sarah's predicament. In this world, those condemned by fate to die can have a ...Read more
Why do we love Nicolas Cage? How could we not? Like the protagonist of "Drive Angry," one of his many bad-or-at-least-baddish latter-day movies (it's the one in which he survives an encounter with Amber Heard), Nic has gone to hell and back for us, returning each time with at least a few scorched crumbs of entertainment, sometimes more. Last ...Read more
There aren't a lot of surprises in "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore." Even the long-awaited acknowledgement that Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), the future Hogwarts headmaster, once had a gay schoolboy affair with future fascist Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen now stepping in for the departed Johnny Depp) is hardly unexpected. ...Read more
Jake Gyllenhaal kinda ruins the new Michael Bay movie, "Ambulance." Not by dint of any particular thing he does, exactly, but just by being in it. Let me explain.
If an alien visitor pulled up to our planet one day in some sort of interstellar space Uber and wanted to know what a Michael Bay movie was, we could just show them "Ambulance." Oh, ...Read more
It would be wrong to say that "slow cinema," as the genre is sometimes called, is simply a pigeonhole for art-house movies in which not a lot happens and no thought is given to making it not happen a little more quickly. For bad movies, in other words. But this is not always the case. Many years ago, in a state of jet-lagged exhaustion, I ...Read more
There's so much going on in "Everything Everywhere All at Once" -- and it goes on so relentlessly, and for so long -- that after a while a kookiness overload begins to weigh it down. Once you've absorbed the wild fanny-pack smackdown, the marauding bagel, and the sight of a monstrous Jamie Lee Curtis tearing down a door, you may be a little too ...Read more
Ben Affleck shuffles through the moral murk of "Deep Water" like a man with a minor head injury. But his dead-eyed passivity in the role of Vic Van Allen -- a suburban worm who's had just about enough of his young wife's relentless cuckolding -- is appropriate for this quietly tormented character. Unfortunately, it gives Affleck little ...Read more
What can I tell you about "Ultrasound"? Not a lot, really -- and I just finished watching it. The movie is proudly incomprehensible -- a strategy that's sometimes employed to make viewers think that what they're watching is art. That's a remote possibility in this case -- although there are times, especially in the first half of the film, when ...Read more
PRO: "The Batman" is a great action movie. Not that there's a lot of action in it -- the story's a little too mopey for that -- but there are a couple of sequences that tear things up in classic fashion. One of them, a car chase for the ages, has Batman (Robert Pattinson) roaring along in his Batmobile (not yet so-called) in furious ...Read more
"The Worst Person in the World" is a Norwegian film that made a splashy debut at last summer's Cannes Film Festival, and no wonder: It's brilliant. (One on-the-scene reviewer rightly called it "an instant classic.") At a glance, the picture might seem like a standard coming-of-age tale -- the story of a young Oslo woman named Julie (the radiant ...Read more
One of the several small pleasures of "Kimi," the new Steven Soderbergh movie, is the stylish ease with which it's been crafted. After 33 years of making every kind of picture, from spy thrillers and rom-coms to mega-budget star product and semi-improvisational whatchamacallits, Soderbergh is still in love with movies. At this point he probably ...Read more