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Movie Reviews

The force fully awakens in the space adventure we deserve

     Former stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega: Detroit) wakes from his coma to finds things looking dire in a galaxy far, far away.       Better financed and armed, the evil First Order is crushing the rebellion led by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher, in her final role). The rebels’ last fighters flee across the universe with the First Order hot on their heels.

This engrossing dramedy makes art from catastrophe

     Greg Sestero (Dave Franco: The Little Hours) is an actor seeking the courage to perform. A ball of nerves in his San Francisco acting classes, he finds inspiration in mysterious and fearless classmate Tommy Wiseau (James ­Franco: The Vault).

A boy pursues his dream through the land of the dead in this gorgeous film

     Music is a dirty word in Miguel’s (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez: Icebox) family. It’s been banned since his great-great-grandfather abandoned the family to chase dreams of fame as a singer. Miguel is destined to continue the family business, making shoes, and hand it on to the next generation.        But Miguel has music in his blood.

A master detective is flummoxed by a killing on a luxury train

     Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh: Dunkirk) has made a career out of the miniscule. He notices all and discounts nothing. Details that would seem unimportant to even trained investigators help Poirot solve criminal cases all around the world.      The problem?

Three women try to take the stress out of the holidays in this raunchy comedy

     It’s the most wonderful time of the year — unless you’re a mother.      Amy (Mila Kunis: Bad Moms) used to love Christmas, but becoming a mom has spoiled the season. Instead of celebrating the spirit of Christmas with family, she feels forced into shopping for people she barely knows, decorating the house so the neighbors won’t judge her and devolving into a heap of stress from worrying that she won’t make the perfect Christmas for her kids. 

The God of Thunder finally gets a movie worthy of Valhalla in this delightful action romp

     Visions of the destruction of Asgard send Thor (Chris Hemsworth: Ghostbusters) on a quest to save his kingdom. Returning home after battling monsters, he finds chaos.      Posing as their father Odin (Anthony Hopkins: Transformers: The Last Knight), Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston: Kong: Skull Island) has taken control. Before Thor can stop his mischievous brother, a new problem arises in the form of a long-lost sister Hela, the goddess of death.

The innocence of childhood and the realities of poverty come together in this beautiful drama

     Six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince: Robo-Dog: Airborne) is a happy girl. She lives at the Magic Castle motel with her mother, Halley (Bria Vinaite in her screen debut) and spends her days exploring along Florida highways. The hotel has become temporary housing for poverty-stricken families, and Moonee watches fights, crimes and life dramas with fascination.
A clever premise and charming leads make the year’s best Halloween scare
      Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe: Tater Tot & Patton) has a terrible birthday. She wakes in a geek’s room after a night of drinking. She’s late to class. A glass of chocolate milk is spilled on her head. Then she’s brutally murdered.       Good thing she gets to wake up to try the day over. And over, as she dies each new day. Finally, she decides to stop her serial killer dead.

A light historical comedy in search of deeper meaning

     Nearing the end of her reign and her life, Queen Victoria (Judi Dench: Tulip Fever) sleeps through her routine of parties, banquets and royal audiences.       She is wakened from her stupor by Abdul (Ali Fazal: Happy Bhag Jayegi), an Indian clerk who has crossed the ocean to deliver a ceremonial coin to his queen. Chosen for his appearance and height, Abdul rouses Victoria’s interest in life.

Two strangers battle the elements and their feelings in this romantic drama

     A snowstorm has ruined plans for Alex (Kate Winslet: Collateral Beauty) and Ben (Idris Elba: The Dark Tower). Flights are cancelled, rental cars are booked and the airport is buried. Photojournalist Alex is trying to get home to New York for her next day wedding. Neurosurgeon Ben hopes to make it back to Baltimore for a critical operation.