Friday, August 4, 2017

Arch Campbell's Weekend Movie Guide (8/4/17)

Holly Hunter & Ray Romano (r) star in The Big Sick

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!

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.

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

Arch with Will Ferrell & Zach Galifianakis (r)

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.

Beatriz at Dinner - 3 Stars. Healer/therapist Salma Hayek winds up at a dinner party for the one percent, and exposes the ugly side of wealth & privilege, in unexpected and even otherworldly ways.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

A Ghost Story - 1 Star. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara in a slow-as-molasses, shaggy dog story. I'm not buying it.

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.