Reviews

Review: “The Post”

Steven Spielberg's "The Post" is a morality tale tackling media ethics at the height of the Nixon administration. It is also Spielberg, America's seminal filmmaker, atboth his most effortless and most preachy. "The Post" focuses on the struggle of...

Garth Franklin’s Best Films Of 2017

After such a strong year last year, 2017 proved something of a soft year for movies - especially on the major studio front. Indies were as healthy as ever with some really strong standouts, but even there the...

Review: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Fans who felt that "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" played it safe or skewed too close to the original Star Wars films will find much to like about "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" - if they go into it...

Review: “The Shape of Water”

It's a classic romantic premise: star-crossed lovers from different worlds meet cute, fall in love, and struggle to be together in a world intent on keeping them apart. Granted, the star-crossed lovers in Guillermo del Toro's "The Shape of...

Review: “The Darkest Hour”

"Darkest Hour" is one of those rare biopics that, for the most part, breaks free of formula to deliver an intriguing portrait of a complex and controversial figure. Similar to Phyllida Lloyd's "The Iron Lady," it pins its hopes...

Review: “Justice League”

It's truly difficult to not pity the beleaguered "Justice League" movie. The long-awaited comic book team-up flick arrives with low expectations thanks to the twin dumpster fires of "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and "Suicide Squad," plopped down...

Review: “Murder on the Orient Express”

A hearty serving of 'meh', actor-director Kenneth Branagh's workmanlike adaptation of Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express" is diverting, crammed full of strong but unremarkable performances from an impressive ensemble cast, and mercifully short. It's a fun ride,...

Review: “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”

Classical tragedy mixed with moderate sadism and Polanski-ish surrealism, upstart filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos' latest test of audience endurance plays like "Sophie's Choice" by way of "The Burbs". Don't let that description be deceptive - it may not be everyone's...

Review: “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women”

Superheroes tend to keep a secret identity in order to protect themselves and those around them, but the creators of the four-color heroes we know and love are usually free from such burdens. This was not the case with Dr....

Review: “Thor: Ragnarok”

Let’s face it: the God of Thunder has arguably been an outlier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, struggling to mesh with its more rounded pegs. Fortunately, with "Thor: Ragnarok," writer-director-actor Taika Waititi ("What We Do In the Shadows") wisely...

Review: “The Snowman”

Rife with potential, the film adaptation of Jo Nesbo's bestselling crime novel makes for frustrating viewing, even more so now that director Tomas Alfredson ("Let the Right One In," "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy") recently revealed that 10-15% of the...

Review: “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”

Matthew Vaughn's follow-up to his 2015 out-of-left-field action comedy "Kingsman: The Secret Service" is modestly entertaining, but the high evaporates quite quickly. 'The Golden Circle' suffers from a classic case of sequelitis: it aims to go bigger than the...

Review: “IT”

Part coming-of-age story, part monster movie, "IT" is a masterful horror flick that arrives just in time to breathe a little life - and some well-tuned terror - into a very limp movie season. A white-knuckler of an experience,...

Review: “The Dark Tower”

The long-awaited film adaption of Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" sci-fi/dark fantasy novel series may well go down as the most disappointing movie of 2017. Fans have been clamoring for one since the 1990s, and versions of it have...

Review: “Dunkirk”

After twenty years of film-making defined by gritty Batman movies, twisty crime thrillers, and trippy science fiction, Christopher Nolan again re-invents himself with what is on the surface is a gripping war movie, but in actuality an exercise in...

Review: “A Ghost Story”

A man dies tragically and returns as a ghost draped in a white sheet with eye holes cut in it, and silently haunts his former spouse and the home they once shared. On the surface, it's a goofy premise...

Review: “Valerian and the City of 1,000 Planets”

Luc Besson's long-awaited return to space opera and pop sci-fi isn't the worst movie of 2017, but bless his heart he definitely makes a sincere attempt at claiming that honor. Based on the long-running French comic book series, it's...

Review: “Spider-Man: Homecoming”

The second-best Spider-Man flick (behind "Spider-Man 2"), "Spider-Man: Homecoming" manages to do what "Ant-Man" did as a superhero film, only better: tell more personal story on a smaller-scale with a focus on fun and depth. It's equal parts John...

Review: “Baby Driver”

"Drive" by way of "La La Land," "The Fast and the Furious" with brains, "Heat" meets jukebox musical - "Baby Driver" is each of those, but in a good way. It marks an intriguing and promising change of course...

Review: “Transformers: The Last Knight”

"Transformers: The Last Knight" is a bad film - in fact, it's one of the most ludicrous films ever made. Michael Bay is not so much a filmmaker but a figure whose internal thought processes resembles Peter Stormare standing...

Review: “It Comes At Night”

"Krisha" writer-director Trey Edward Shults' sophomore feature won't do much to reaffirm faith in humanity under pressure, but it will put the screws to the viewer for a lean, nerve-wracking 90 minutes. Don't be fooled by the trailer -...

Review: “Wonder Woman”

Leave it to Patty Jenkins to remind us how to do a superhero film right with "Wonder Woman," a film that manages to overcome most of its origin story limitations and simplistic allegory on heroism and man's barbarism by...

Review: “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”

Generic sword & sorcery fantasy wrapped in pseudo-Arthurian legend, Guy Ritchie's ill-conceived, atonal "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword" is a frustrating and incoherent mess with the occasional flash of brilliance. Granted, it couldn't have been worse; if it...

Review: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”

James Gunn's first "Guardians of the Galaxy" remains one of Marvel's most enjoyable efforts. In a cinematic universe more defined by its restrictions than its possibilities, 'Guardians' seemed to break out on its own the most. It...

Review: “Ghost in the Shell”

As emotionless and robotic as its lead character, the live-action remake of the 1995 cult classic cyberpunk anime "Ghost in the Shell" is a self-conscious imitation of its predecessor. It takes a few liberties to differentiate from its...

Review: “Life”

Judging by the non-stop string of failures by Ph.D.s under pressure in "Life, " NASA's employment standards must be slipping. The ratio of horror movie stupidity to real-life common sense in "Life" is lower than usual, but that still...

Review: “Logan”

With "Logan," Hugh Jackman's tenure as the gruff, haunted, acerbic mutant anti-hero Wolverine comes to an end in with an impressive bang. Director James Mangold and his co-screenwriters Michael Green and Scott Frank send him off with gritty style,...

Review: “The LEGO Batman Movie”

Though it's not as consistently or as unrelentingly hilarious as "The LEGO Movie," Chris McKay's comic book spin-off is nevertheless a clever and enjoyable spoof of comic book movies in general, and the Dark Knight in particular. After the morose...

Review: “Live By Night”

When Ben Affleck adapted Dennis Lehane's gritty crime novel "Gone Baby Gone" to the big screen in 2007, he established himself as a nascent directing talent and reinvigorated a career that had become a joke. He displayed a...

Garth Franklin’s Best Films Of 2016

2016 proved a bumper year that, though having very few true standouts, had a quite high average in terms of the quality of films in pretty much every category except for blockbusters. Animation, foreign language films, horror, animation,...

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