Friday, August 25, 2017

Arch Campbell's Weekend Movie Guide (8/25/17)

Rob Brydon & Steve Coogan (r) star in The Trip to Spain

From our friend, Arch Campbell...

The Big Sick - 4 Stars. Pakistani comic Kumail Nanjiani hits the sweet spot of tension between culture, generations, and romance in a serious rom-com about his relationship with his wife. Charming!

Wind River - 3½ Stars. Modern Western/thriller from Taylor Sheridan, screenwriter of "Hell or High Water." Tracker Jeremy Renner helps FBI agent Elizabeth Olsen solve the rape/murder of a young American Indian girl. Tense and explosive.

Detroit - 3½ Stars. Director Kathryn Bigelow revisits police brutality during the Detroit riots of 1967. A blend of documentary & feature filmmaking, as brilliant as it is brutal to watch.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - 3½ Stars. Delightful follow-up to the original summer blockbuster action movie starring Chris Pratt. Funny, ironic and a lot of fun.

Arch with Will Ferrell & Zach Galifianakis (r)

Dunkirk - 3 Stars. Christopher Nolan recreates the stirring British retreat, aided by civilian boats at the beginning of World War II.

Patti Cake$ - 3 Stars. New Jersey white girl hopes to change her life, achieving stardom as a rapper. Gritty, energetic and surprisingly good.

Baby Driver - 3 Stars. "La La Land" as a crime story. Ansel Elgort drives a getaway car, listening to nonstop music (the film is shot to fit the music, rather than the other way around.) Violent, but exhilarating.

Wonder Woman - 3 Stars. Gal Gadot makes a thrilling debut as the iconic superhero. A super script combines origin story, humor, and superhero action.

War for the Planet of the Apes - 3 Stars. This series continues to turn out surprisingly good (and even thoughtful) stories, based on intelligent apes taking over the world from humans.

Spider-Man: Homecoming - 3 Stars. Easy-to-like reboot of the comic book character, thanks to Tom Holland's delightful take on the superhero as a high school geek, and Michael Keaton's delicious villain.

STEP - 3 Stars. Moving documentary follows a group of Baltimore inner city girls, members of a step dance team, completing their senior year and hoping to find a way to enter college.

Logan Lucky - 2½ Stars. Steven Soderbergh-directed redneck caper comedy with great cast, including Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig and Riley Keough. Oceans 7-Eleven.

Menashe - 2½ Stars. Rare window on Orthodox Jewish life. Widowed father longs for his son, who for religious reasons cannot live with him until he remarries. Poignant.

Girls Trip - 2½ Stars. Laugh-out-loud raunchy comedy with Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish has a message about the power of friendship. Much better than expected.

The Only Living Boy in New York - 2½ Stars. Callum Turner comes of age in an affair with his father's (Pierce Brosnan) mistress (Kate Beckinsale) with a little advice from wise elder Jeff Bridges.

Brigsby Bear - 2½ Stars. Saturday Night Live performer Kyle Mooney as an abducted child, entertained by children's show produced by his abductors. Reunited as a young adult with his real family, he can't let go of "Brigsby." Awkward cringe-inducing comedy sometimes works surprisingly well.

Best New Bet The Trip to Spain - 2 Stars. Best buds Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon travel to Spain and do more of what they did when they toured England, and again when they took in Italy. More of the same.

Cars 3 - 2 Stars. Great animation and voice work in a totally unnecessary sequel.

The Hitman's Bodyguard - 2 Stars. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel Jackson have great chemistry in this uneven, overlong criminal chase comedy.

The Exception - 2 Stars. Christopher Plummer as Kaiser Wilhelm exiled during World War 2, with Lily James as a servant/spy. Interesting historic sidebar, but stretches things just a tad too much.

Atomic Blonde - 2 Stars. Charlize Theron kicks ass for two brutal hours.

Good Time - 2 Stars. Robert Pattinson as a hapless bank robber, whose plan lands his mentally challenged brother in prison. His efforts to free him lead to an all-night crime spree.

Landline - 2 Stars. Disappointing 1990s dysfunctional family comedy starring Jenny Slade. Another cringe-inducing comedy, inspired by others including Woody Allen and "Girls."

Ingrid Goes West - 1 Star. Aubrey Plaza as a a young woman obsessed with Instagram maven Elizabeth Olsen. This uncomfortable comedy takes a disturbing turn I can't recommend.

The Glass Castle - 1 Star. Dysfunctional family drama with excellent cast (including Woody Harrelson and Brie Larson) goes from manipulative to sentimental.

The Little Hours - 1 Star. Alison Brie and Aubrey Plaza as nuns gone wild, when Dave Franco joins the convent as a handyman. Plays like an extended Saturday Night Live sketch.

The Beguiled - 1 Star. Sophia Coppola remake of early 70's Clint Eastwood thriller about a Union soldier taken in by a Confederate girl's school during the Civil War.  Slow and never believable.

Visit Arch's website for his (unrivaled) take on movies. He remains the only other (we're not self-hating) critic, whose opinion we admire and respect.