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movie review

Review: ‘Frozen Empire’ clears very low ‘Ghostbusters’ bar

By Jake Coyle | Associated Press Forty years after “Ghostbusters” and following a string of sequels that never measured up to the 1984 original — beginning all the way back with 1989’s “Ghostbusters II” — it’s fair to wonder, well, who else ought we to call? It may be time to, if not give up the ghost entirely, at least give a flip through the ol’ rolodex. But as the lackluster 2021 installment, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” showed, the half life of most film franchises…

Stewart is captivating in noir ‘Love Lies Bleeding’

By Jake Coyle | Associated Press Muscles ripple, veins pop and electronic music throbs in “Love Lies Bleeding,” a heaving, hyper-sexy neo-noir drenched in sweat, blood and bug guts. If that last one seems a touch less expected, that moment, courtesy of a beetle-chomping Ed Harris, is far from the only off-the-wall provocation in Rose Glass’s film, a pulpy, fable-like lesbian crime thriller where bodies, large and small, get ravaged beneath starry desert skies. Not all of it works. Heavy doses of melodrama and flashy…

‘Kung Fu Panda 4’ passes the torch with charm and joy

By Mark Kennedy | Associated Press “Kung Fu Panda 4” finds our trusty, rotund hero Po at a career crossroads and he’s nervous. “Change doesn’t have to be a bad thing,” he is told. “Kung Fu Panda 4” also finds the franchise at an inflection point, but there’s no reason for us to be nervous. DreamWorks knows what it’s doing. The series’ first new installment in eight years is a reliably funny, sweet and wonderfully realized passing of the torch, with a paw in the past and another into the future — an elegant goodbye and a…

Ricky Stanicky Review: John Cena Does an Impressive Job in This Light-Hearted Comedy

Prime Video's latest original, Ricky Stanicky, is a light-hearted comedy you can enjoy with your brain switched off. It is about three childhood friends, Dean (Zac Efron), JT (Andrew Santino) and Wes (Jermaine Fowler), who have been blaming all their shenanigans for the past two decades on an imaginary “Ricky Stanicky” whom no one in their lives has met. Want to skip a gathering? Don't worry, you anyway have unavoidable plans with Ricky that day! Want to put your expenses on someone? Ricky is to be blamed! Want to attend…

‘Spaceman’ is a vehicle for Sandler to do solid work

By Jocelyn Noveck | Associated Press David Bowie’s Major Tom, sitting in his tin can. Elton John’s Rocket Man, missing Earth and his wife. Matt Damon in “The Martian,” left behind to starve. Matthew McConaughey in “Interstellar,” weeping as he watches his kids age without him. Much art has been made of the infinite loneliness of space travel. And how could it not? Loneliness may be a universal human condition, but what could be lonelier than being removed from the human race entirely? And so when Adam Sandler, as moody…

Review: ‘Problemista’ is whimsical and truly awesome

By Mark Kennedy | Associated Press The hero of “Problemista” sees the world differently. He’s an aspiring toy designer named Alejandro who thinks today’s toys are too fun. He proposes a toy truck with a deflating tire to teach kids they’re running out of time. Alejandro is the creation of Julio Torres, who stars, directs and has written “Problemista,” an off-kilter and very winning movie from a rising artist who thrillingly reflects his own toy maker’s singular,…

Swank gives ‘Ordinary Angels’ the heart it needs

By Jocelyn Noveck | Associated Press At the end of “Ordinary Angels,” we’re given one of those now-see-how-it-really-happened moments with real footage mirroring the climax of the film. That’s a really good thing. Because otherwise, one might be tempted to think the filmmakers had dreamed up a story too sappy and inspirational to be true. But no, this tale of how one determined woman rallied her community to help save a dying young girl took place largely as it’s presented. Despite the compelling source material,…

Buckle up for Ethan Coen’s ‘Drive-Away Dolls’

By Lindsey Bahr | Associated Press “Drive-Away Dolls” is, technically speaking, made up of old parts. Its script was written two decades ago, when references to Ralph Nader and Chelsea Clinton’s security detail were current. Its homages are even more vintage, with trippy transitions harkening back to the acid-soaked B-movies of the 1960s. There’s a mysterious, sought-after briefcase, odd couple thugs on the hunt for it and some innocents who find themselves unwittingly entangled in the drama. It is all very familiar, and…

Part Two’ is brilliant and stylish, but ends limply

By Jake Coyle | Associated Press Three firm thumps into the Arrakis sand is all you need to summon a sandworm in Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part Two.” It’s almost as easy as hailing a cab or calling for the check. The big buggers can’t resist the sound, which is a little like how I feel taking in all the vibrations of Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 science-fiction novel. Whispers, incantations and guttural sounds buzz throughout “Part Two,” a hissing hulk of a sequel that fluctuates between ominous…

‘Monk and the Gun’ is about democracy and much more

By Jocelyn Noveck | Associated Press “Why are you teaching us to be so rude?” the elderly village woman asks a Bhutanese election official in “The Monk and the Gun.” It’s a question both poignant and biting, because the “teaching” this woman is resisting is something much of the outside world considers a basic human right: the right to vote. For a piercing refresher lesson on democracy, one wouldn’t necessarily think of rural Bhutan as the first place to look. For one thing, democratic elections only came to the tiny,…