MOVIE SNEAKS

Winter-Spring Preview

'Finding Dory' and 9 other family-friendly movies to check out this summer

Summer -- the season of sweltering heat, sunny beach days and, of course, weekly box office battles between big-budget blockbuster movies. And while there is a plethora of films involving super-powered action scenes and intergalactic threats, there are also plenty of offerings that skip the explosions...

Movie Reviews

  • Evocative documentary 'The Seventh Fire' personalizes daily struggles of Native Americans

    Evocative documentary 'The Seventh Fire' personalizes daily struggles of Native Americans

    In just over 70 minutes, Jack Pettibone Riccobono’s debut documentary “The Seventh Fire” covers enough ground to function as a character study, an ethnography and a social issue film, all in one. By tackling the larger issue of Native American gangs through the story of two northwest Minnesota...

  • Anna Gunn shakes up financial boys' club in 'Equity'

    Anna Gunn shakes up financial boys' club in 'Equity'

    In her big-screen lead role, “Breaking Bad’s” Anna Gunn stands tall among the wolves of Wall Street, but she still has to watch her back. Her performance as a steely top-tier investment banker, and that of Alysia Reiner (“Orange Is the New Black”), as a dogged federal prosecutor, are the chief...

  • Bad decisions lead to female connections in 'Tallulah'

    Bad decisions lead to female connections in 'Tallulah'

    Themes of motherhood, abandonment, loss, family and female identity are plumbed to their depths in Sian Heder’s feature directorial debut, “Tallulah.” Heder, a writer for “Orange Is the New Black,” reached into her own life experiences to write and direct the film, starring Ellen Page in the titular...

  • 'Childhood of a Leader' spins wintry tale around the formation of a fascist mind

    'Childhood of a Leader' spins wintry tale around the formation of a fascist mind

    “The Childhood of a Leader” is a chilly — and chilling — political thriller by way of a provocative domestic chamber piece. Strikingly mounted, lighted, shot and scored, this tense, decidedly arty film marks a bravura feature directing debut for young American actor Brady Corbet (“Melancholia,”...

  • Comedians ask 'Can We Take a Joke?' in a documentary on political correctness

    Comedians ask 'Can We Take a Joke?' in a documentary on political correctness

    Considering all that’s been going on in the world lately, it’s probably not the most opportune moment for the arrival of a documentary about stand-up comedians struggling against the constraints of political correctness. Taking aim against that seemingly growing faction of society it calls “the...

  • Danish horror film 'Shelley' unleashes the terrors of pregnancy

    Danish horror film 'Shelley' unleashes the terrors of pregnancy

    It’s no “Rosemary’s Baby” — or even “It’s Alive” — but the Danish supernatural thriller “Shelley” is a fair addition to the “natal horror” genre. Writer-director Ali Abbasi’s debut feature takes too long to intensify, but down the stretch it’s as disturbing as the scariest chapters of “What to...

  • Gothic horror 'The Suffering' is short on shocks, cheap or otherwise

    Gothic horror 'The Suffering' is short on shocks, cheap or otherwise

    A pair of strong central performances and a tricky mystery give only a tiny boost to “The Suffering,” a slow-burning gothic horror picture that’s heavier on atmosphere than incident. Give credit to writer-director Robert Hamilton for trying something subtler than the average B-movie, but his film...

  • Crime drama depicts Cleveland as 'The Land' without hope

    Crime drama depicts Cleveland as 'The Land' without hope

    Some sports fans call Cleveland “Believeland” because of the city’s devotion to teams that never win (the recent Cavaliers championship aside). Writer-director Steven Caple Jr.’s indie crime drama “The Land” drops the “believe,” which fits his take on inner-city Cleveland as a community without...

  • Emma Roberts and Dave Franco take on the Internet in the romantic teen cyber thriller 'Nerve'

    Emma Roberts and Dave Franco take on the Internet in the romantic teen cyber thriller 'Nerve'

    The romantic teen cyber thriller “Nerve” makes for a fascinating double feature with another release this weekend, “Jason Bourne.” Both films want to debate the ways in which online surveillance affects our everyday lives, but while “Bourne” wrestles with the state and corporate America, “Nerve”...

  • 'Star Trek Beyond' boldly goes kind of where you expect it to, but with style

    'Star Trek Beyond' boldly goes kind of where you expect it to, but with style

    Taking its celebrated “Live long and prosper” salute to heart, “Star Trek” has become not just a movie franchise but a pop culture empire. About to turn 50, it has spawned 13 films and six TV series, sold more than 100 million books, comics and magazines and continues to have such cachet that Amazon’s...

  • The fresh horror film 'Lights Out' feeds on audience's fear of the dark

    The fresh horror film 'Lights Out' feeds on audience's fear of the dark

    Exploiting our fear of the dark is a trick as old as the movies themselves, but it’s hard to recall the last picture that took the idea to such literal-minded extremes as “Lights Out.” The tale of a restless evil spirit who suffers from an extreme aversion to light, this nifty little chiller may...

  • 'Indian Point' sagely examines the nuclear power debate from all sides

    'Indian Point' sagely examines the nuclear power debate from all sides

    In a world where unabashed advocacy documentaries are thick on the land, Ivy Meeropol's expert "Indian Point," an evenhanded look at the issues surrounding nuclear power, is a welcome exception. With no end in sight to global energy demands, questions about nuclear's place as a possible solution...

  • 'Summertime' a warm embrace of a French same-sex couple's evolving relationship

    'Summertime' a warm embrace of a French same-sex couple's evolving relationship

    Artfully calculated and authentically felt, the unexpectedly effective "Summertime" combines the conventional structure of classic movie romance with a sensual same-sex frankness that couldn't be more up-to-date. Better still, as directed by France's Catherine Corsini, "Summertime's" costars Cecile...

  • 'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie': Bloody good summer fun

    'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie': Bloody good summer fun

    In “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” a sensible young woman asks her hard-partying grandmother to explain the endurance of a decades-long friendship, a seemingly unbreakable bond forged on champagne and mischief. “Because it’s bloody good fun,” her grandmother answers, matter-of-factly. That’s as...

  • The fifth 'Ice Age' cometh, but feel free to misseth

    The fifth 'Ice Age' cometh, but feel free to misseth

    Fourteen years after the first “Ice Age” animated film was a hit, the fifth installment in the franchise, “Ice Age: Collision Course,” rolls into theaters. Is it inevitable? Yes, 2012's “Ice Age: Continental Drift” was the highest-grossing animated film that year. Is it necessary? Absolutely not....

  • 'Don't Worry Baby' takes high road in father-son paternity sweepstakes

    'Don't Worry Baby' takes high road in father-son paternity sweepstakes

    The terrific young actor John Magaro, so good in David Chase’s little-seen “Not Fade Away,” again brings his A-game to “Don’t Worry Baby,” a bittersweet indie comedy that marks an impressive feature writing-directing debut for Julian Branciforte.  The film’s high-concept story, one that in past...

  • Rebellious teen looking for answers in sad/funny 'Quitters'

    Rebellious teen looking for answers in sad/funny 'Quitters'

    A disaffected teen’s dad isn’t too far off the mark when he calls him “a mean-spirited little …” in “Quitters,” an unapologetically candid, melancholic coming-of-age comedy from first-time filmmaker Noah Pritzker. When his emotionally brittle, prescription drug-dependent mom (an effective Mira...

  • Timely 'President' maps a fallen leader's journey after a bloody coup

    Timely 'President' maps a fallen leader's journey after a bloody coup

    Although Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf says “The President” was inspired by the turbulent events of the Arab Spring, there’s also a timeless quality to this absorbing and powerful fable that provides added resonance.   Makhmalbaf (“Kandahar”), who directed and co-wrote with Marziyeh Meshkiny,...

  • Quick Korean zombies take 'Train to Busan' for station-to-station action

    Quick Korean zombies take 'Train to Busan' for station-to-station action

    It’s chew-chew on the choo-choo with “Train to Busan,” a Korean zombie flick from Yeon Sang-ho (“The King of Pigs”) that has more in common with high-speed disaster films and train thrillers than slow-walking undead sagas. Animator Yeon’s first feature-length live-action movie takes its sweet time...

  • Hand-drawn 'Phantom Boy' is a welcome break from CG animation

    Hand-drawn 'Phantom Boy' is a welcome break from CG animation

    Like their Oscar-nominated “A Cat in Paris” (2010), “Phantom Boy” by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gangol is a modest, engaging film that reminds viewers of the intimate pleasures of drawn animation in an era of CG blockbusters. While in the hospital, 11-year-old Leo (Gaspard Gagnol) discovers...

  • Women's distance-running breakthroughs highlight documentary 'Free to Run'

    Women's distance-running breakthroughs highlight documentary 'Free to Run'

    It wasn’t always a runner’s world, as a new, eye-opening documentary attests. Tracing the sport’s transformation over the last half-century from a few fitness-minded oddballs to an egalitarian social phenomenon to big business, director Pierre Morath covers a lot of ground in “Free to Run.” Some...

  • Horror documentary 'Blackout Experiments' pushes limits of experience

    Horror documentary 'Blackout Experiments' pushes limits of experience

    Rich Fox’s unsettling documentary/horror hybrid “The Blackout Experiments” concerns a form of entertainment so twisted that it immediately raises two questions. Who’d want to experience this? And who’d want to design it? Fox doesn’t really answer the second question because of  circumstances mostly...

  • Women let their fists do the talking in amateurish 'Fight Valley'

    Women let their fists do the talking in amateurish 'Fight Valley'

    Written and directed by Rob Hawk, “Fight Valley” starts with a premise that isn’t half bad, considering the inroads into Hollywood blockbusters made by popular female mixed-martial artists Gina Carano and Ronda Rousey. With their high-profile success, it makes sense to capitalize on the popularity...

  • In polemical 'Hillary's America,' D'Souza rakes Clinton over long-cooled coals

    In polemical 'Hillary's America,' D'Souza rakes Clinton over long-cooled coals

    Considering it’s from the same individual responsible for “2016: Obama’s America,” it should come as no surprise that Dinesh D’Souza’s “Hillary’s America” is another shrewdly timed, heavy-handed agenda in the guise of a truth-seeking, nonfiction film. But just like the avidly right-wing filmmaker’s...

  • Woody Allen finds himself at ease in his lush Hollywood story 'Cafe Society'

    Woody Allen finds himself at ease in his lush Hollywood story 'Cafe Society'

    With white on black titles on the screen and vintage jazz on the soundtrack, “Cafe Society” opens the way Woody Allen films have opened for time out of mind. But this one, this one does things a little differently. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and the protean Steve Carell, “Cafe Society” is...

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