Friday, December 14, 2018

Arch Campbell's Weekend Movie Guide (12/14/18)

Guy Pearce and Margot Robbie (r) star in Mary Queen of Scots

From our friend, Arch Campbell...

Roma - 4 Stars. Alfonso Cuarón recreates his childhood in middle class Mexico City (during the early 1970s) and the nanny he & his family loved.

First Man - 4 Stars. Ryan Gosling blasts into space as strong, silent Neil Armstrong - the first man to walk on the Moon. The mix of biography and space gave me goosebumps.

Green Book - 3½ Stars. New York bouncer drives jazz pianist on a concert tour of 1962 pre-civil rights South. Each man emerges better for the experience.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? - 3½ Stars. Melissa McCarthy nails the story of writer Lee Israel, who faked a series of celebrity letters, when her career sputters. Funny and charming.

Bohemian Rhapsody - 3½ Stars. Irresistible, clichéd celebration of Freddy Mercury and Queen.

Arch Campbell with Will Ferrell & Zach Galifianakis (r)

Widows - 3½ Stars. Viola Davis must pay her dead husband's debt to the mob with one last heist. A thrilling, dense thriller.

Maria by Callas - 3½ Stars. Beautiful documentary on the gifted diva's life, told in interviews with her from over the years.

A Star Is Born - 3 Stars. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga make this remake a charm.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs - 3 Stars. Delightful series of western-themed, mostly comic but always surprising stories. Wonderful cast.

Instant Family - 3 Stars. Surprisingly enjoyable comedy about a couple adopting a teen and her younger siblings.

Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes - 3 Stars. The late Fox News creator Roger Ailes makes an easy target for Alexis Bloom's biting documentary.

Free Solo - 3 Stars. Climbing without a rope. Hold on to your seat.

The Favourite - 2½ Stars. Sex, power and petulance in Queen Anne's court.

Mary Queen of Scots - 2½ Stars. Showcase for excellent Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie drags, and gets hard to follow.

Once Upon a Deadpool - 2½ Stars. Deadpool 2 with the dirty words bleeped out, plus a few new scenes. Nothing new, but still funny.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls - 2½ Stars. Jack Black and Cate Blanchett fight evil with magic.

Ralph Breaks the Internet - 2½ Stars. The further adventures of the video game character and his best friend, transferred to the net.

Boy Erased - 2½ Stars. Lucas Hedges goes to gay conversion therapy. "Boy Erased" avoids the usual sledge hammer approach, with fine performances including Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe as Hedges' parents.

Ben Is Back - 2 Stars. Addict Lucas Hedges comes home too early from rehab. Julia Roberts enables. Hard to watch, with a sappy ending.

The Front Runner - 2 Stars. Hugh Jackman recreates the Gary Hart scandal of 1988. The script makes it hard to feel sympathy for anyone in this story.

Beautiful Boy - 1 Star. Steve Carell as writer David Sheff, trying to deal with the drug addiction of his almost perfect son (played by Timothée Chalamet.) These good actors can't quite take this beyond manipulative and hard to watch.

Vox Lux - Zero Stars. Natalie Portman grows into a tantrum-throwing pop star after a childhood trauma. Who needs this?

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.