Jason Bourne

Jason Bourne Director: Paul Greengrass Starring: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Julia Stiles, Vincent Cassel Review: 2.5 stars (of five) Matt Damon is excellent in his return to his Bourne identity, but the film he’s wrapped in has too many flaws to be called good. If...

Star Trek Beyond

Just when I’d completely given up on the rebooted Star Trek franchise, they go and deliver not just their first good movie of the series, but an excellent Star Trek film by any measure. Star Trek Beyond Director: Justin Lin Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella Review: 4.5 stars (of five) This Star Trek series has always had an excellent cast that does a great job of both impersonating and reimagining the original crew. But they’ve been underserved by writers and directors, from JJ Abrams on down, who cared more about creating action...

Ghostbusters

Oh crap. It turns out that the Ghostbusters remake is just an okay movie. The kind that is enjoyable enough, but just as easily a stream-it-later experience. That could appear to complicate the whole “deciding whether to see it is a political statement” thing, huh? (It doesn’t: See...

Captain America: Civil War

The third Captain America film cements the series’ place at the top of the Marvel movie food chain. While the first Iron Man is hard to beat, later installments haven’t been up to snuff. You liked the Avengers films better? Good news: Captain America: Civil War is a better Avengers film than either of Joss Whedon’s entries. It’s also arguably the best film of the Cap series. Captain America: Civil War Directors: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Paul Rudd, Chadwick Boseman Review: 4.5 stars (of five) The story...

The Jungle Book

The remade Jungle Book should suck. We’re conditioned to expect a childhood heroes and myths to be ground into cynical action-and-effects bonanzas of the sort that would steamroll over the charming, gentle animated musical from 1967. And the opening—with young Mowgli running...

Deadpool

Well, that was so much better than I expected. The latest Marvel movie to hit theaters is Deadpool, from the Sony pictures slate that has included mostly lackluster X-Men movies, diminishing returns on Spider-Man, and Fantastic Four flicks that have ranged from not–good to last...

Hail, Caesar!

The newest Coen Brothers comedy is a weird mix. The film got hearty laughs in a few places during my screening, but when the credits rolled after a rather abrupt ending, there were widespread gasps of “What?” “Huh?” and “What the fuck was that?” The trouble is that the Coens are...

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is about two things. It is about a new generation of reluctant or unexpected heroes pulled into a cosmic battle of good and evil, and it is about the futility of engaging in that battle. In creating new heroes, director/co-writer J.J. Abrams and the greater Disney machine do a good job. Our two main heroes include a young woman whose origin vaguely echoes Luke Skywalker’s, but who has more grit than any of our original heroes. And then they humanize a stormtrooper and give us the potential for a fascinating story about identity and the creation of the self. (That these heroes are a woman and a black man,...