Reviews

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children REVIEW

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

1999 was a very good year for film, and how much more peculiar Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children might have been had it come out that year, before the X-Men and Harry Potter franchises were launched in 2000 and 2001, respectively.

Deepwater Horizon REVIEW

Deepwater Horizon (2016)

The film sketches in these characters just enough to hold the story together. What really interests Berg is exploring how the disaster happened, what it was like, and how those 126 people responded, for better and for worse.

Queen of Katwe REVIEW

Queen of Katwe (2016)

There are so many reasons Queen of Katwe shouldn’t even exist, and just thinking about them all makes me even more vexed at Hollywood for its desperate obsession with exhausted franchise fare when there are winning and wonderful stories like this to be told.

Hillsong – Let Hope Rise REVIEW

Hillsong – Let Hope Rise (2016)

Possibly the best and most cinematic sequence in Hillsong – Let Hope Rise is a montage that strikingly captures how the music of the Australian Evangelical church-based praise band Hillsong United touches, and unites, people all around the world.

Sully REVIEW

Sully (2016)

Many actors come to own the roles they play so completely that once you see them, you can’t imagine anyone else in the part. Tom Hanks plays roles in which you can’t imagine anyone else even before you see him.

The Iron Giant REVIEW

The Iron Giant (1999)

There is a purity to Brad Bird’s directorial debut The Iron Giant, based on the British poet Ted Hughes’ children’s novel The Iron Man, that is inconceivable in the family film landscape of today.

Greater REVIEW

Greater (2016)

Greater has three surprises, which is three more than most faith-based films, particularly of the inspirational sports-movie variety.

Kubo and the Two Strings REVIEW

Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Kubo and the Two Strings comes close to being a masterpiece, and one of the two best American animated films in years, the other being Pixar’s Inside Out.

Ben-Hur REVIEW

Ben-Hur (2016)

On paper, and sometimes even on screen, there’s some promise and potential in this remake of Ben-Hur.

Pete’s Dragon REVIEW

Pete’s Dragon (2016)

I’m almost afraid to say it out loud, or even in writing, but with Pete’s Dragon joining The Jungle Book and Cinderella, Disney may be giving the lie to the old cliché “They don’t make ’em like that any more.”

Jason Bourne REVIEW

Jason Bourne (2016)

The world has changed since 2007, and not only in the ways the filmmakers are self-consciously trying to engage: concerns about cyber-security, online privacy, government spying and the pressure on tech companies to give the government whatever information or access it wants.

Star Trek Beyond REVIEW

Star Trek Beyond (2016)

It’s not saying much, but Star Trek Beyond is probably this summer’s most entertaining popcorn film to date.

The Secret Life of Pets REVIEW

The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

The first act of The Secret Life of Pets leans on a style of humor that we might call “anthropomorphic observational comedy.”

The Innocents REVIEW

The Innocents (2016)

The Innocents opens in a Benedictine convent in Poland in 1945, shortly after the event known, not without bitter irony, as the liberation of Poland by the Soviet army.

Finding Dory REVIEW

Finding Dory (2016)

Hank the octopus is a particular standout. Hank’s squash-and-stretch movements push computer animation to yet another high-water mark, and his mad skills are highly entertaining — so entertaining, in fact, that I kind of wish the movie had been about him.

The Conjuring 2 REVIEW

The Conjuring 2 (2016)

Wan goes bigger and splashier here than in the first Conjuring. Metaphorically splashier, I mean; it’s not very bloody, but it’s bloody scary, thanks to Wan’s skills and some shrewd choices by Chad and Carey Hayes, the screenwriting brothers (both Christians) who wrote both films.

Last Days in the Desert REVIEW

Last Days in the Desert (2016)

García takes his time in the early scenes, allowing us to ease into the rhythms of this eremitic phase in its protagonist’s life. A spiritual journey can’t be rushed; the mind and body must submit to long hardship for the spirit to attain its goal.

Captain America: Civil War REVIEW

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Civil War also demonstrates that the right way to do a “versus” movie pitting heroes against one another is by building relationships — and tensions — over time, then allowing characters to fall out over meaningful practical and personal issues.

The Jungle Book REVIEW

The Jungle Book (2016)

Like Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella last year, The Jungle Book offers a lavish new reimagining of a beloved story, blending elements from the original literary source material with the classic animated Disney version.

Bicycle Thieves (The Bicycle Thief) REVIEW

Bicycle Thieves (The Bicycle Thief) (1948)

Relate the plot of Bicycle Thieves in a few sentences, and a person who had never seen the film might be forever haunted by it.