• Fall

    Fall

    ★★★★½

    The ultimate high-concept: 2 girls stuck on a narrow radio tower 2,000 feet in the air in the middle of nowhere. Beautifully pithy. I haven't seen a flood of reviews for this on LB yet, or heard many people talking about it at all, but am I really in a tiny minority of those excited by the prospect here? Studio-quality B-movie novelty! I don't know what it says about me that when I first heard that this was coming soon…

  • The Blues Brothers

    The Blues Brothers

    ★★★½

    The OG SNL skit-turned-big-hit-movie. I can't compare it to the TV sketches themselves since I never saw them, but as a motion picture, this earns its enduring fandom with the love and reverence it pays to soul music, and with the all-time-fun automobile destruction derbies. Smashing down those mall sets during the chase really fulfills a primitive urge, and I had forgotten how far things deviate from reality in the climax. Right on. Absurdity has always been a friend to…

  • Straight Talk

    Straight Talk

    ★★★

    "Where did I train professionally? At Screw U!"

    Quite generic but basted in the professionally adequate, comforting milieu of '80s/'90s studio rom-com digestible entertainment, with stars who know how to be stars, a feel-good aura and a most unusual pairing of love interests in Dolly Parton and James Woods.

    It's a Dolly Parton vehicle first and foremost; she recorded a dozen new songs for the soundtrack, for god's sakes, some of which ("I Can See the Light of a Brand…

  • Carter

    Carter

    ★★★★½

    "Hardcore Henry" by way of "Victoria".

    In a lot of ways, the name maketh the movie - that is, whether people even notice your movie and how enticed they're likely to be to see it. I follow movie news and release schedules pretty regularly, but I don't know if anyone mentioned "Carter" was coming out soon, or talked about it last week as something to keep an eye on, or what, because that title grabs no attention whatsoever. I saw…

  • The Waterdance

    The Waterdance

    ★★★

    Eric Stoltz, Wesley Snipes and William Forsythe share a ward at the physical rehab center and become friends despite their differences while grappling with their paralyses and how it affects their personal lives. Semi-autobiographical account with Stoltz playing a writer (doesn't factor into the movie at all beyond introductory exposition); won some Independent Spirit Awards at the time plus the Audience Prize at Sundance that year. Until having seen it now, it was previously best known to me for having…

  • Luck

    Luck

    ★★★½

    The first animated film released by Skydance, new home for disgraced Pixar creator John Lasseter, is all about the titular concept of luck, good and bad, that of the Irish, finding pennies, dragons who are, black cats who aren't, they really put this thematic nucleus through the ringer. Pretty inevitable topic for a child-oriented animated movie: it's broad and made-up like a lot of things kids are interested in, but reflects a lot about one's outlook on life, which animated…

  • The Lifeguard

    The Lifeguard

    ★★★½

    They make a lot of these pre-midlife crisis dramedies now, don't they. We as a species are just riddled with neuroses at earlier and earlier periods in our mortal coils. This one is the debut of TV writer Liz W. Garcia, using Kristen Bell as her avatar for going stir crazy around age 30, prompted by a devastating break-up to quit her job and move back to her small town home with her parents, squeeze some carefree maturity-regression from a…

  • Prey

    Prey

    ★★★½

    Things haven't been abysmal in the "Predator" movie franchise since 1987 - each highly flawed sequel and spin-off has its cadre of disciples - yet I think the consensus is going to solidify around the aptly flipside-monikered "Prey" that it's the pure, satisfying, undeniably well-made successor anyone's been waiting for all these decades. The only major deviation that could possibly cause a stir is its unfamous cast, but all those other sequels had great line-ups of kickass character actors and…

  • Kicked in the Head

    Kicked in the Head

    ★★

    Abrasive '90s indie comedy full of walking stereotypes going hard on the New Yawk bluster (please shut the hell up, Michael Rapaport) as they bounce around town in a no-stakes narrative (despite there being two big shoot-out scenes) with supposed screwball delight. It's one of those that thinks if it's neurotic and talkative enough and then takes some structural detours later, that makes it charmingly sublime, like a good-natured hang-out flick with an actual voice and some existential pixie dust…

  • Everybody's All-American

    Everybody's All-American

    ★★★★

    Based on a book and feels like it, the story of a high school football hero's life through the decades as he ascends to stardom, gets married, gets old, all the slings and arrows. Full of joy, sorrow and contemplation, it's an elongated coming-of-age, a romance, an autopsy on the mid-20th century America, a somewhat more sentimental rendition of "The Great Gatsby" (this successful Dennis Quaid character is observed the whole time by cousin / audience surrogate Timothy Hutton aka…

  • Nightwing

    Nightwing

    ★★★

    David Warner: "I kill them because they're evil. There's a mutual grace and violence in all forms of nature; and each specie of life gives something in return for its own existence. All but one. The freak. The vampire bat alone is that specie. Have you ever seen one of their caves?"
    Nick Mancuso: "No."
    David Warner: "I killed over 60,000 of them last year in Mexico. You really understand the presence of evil when you go into their caves.…

  • Creature

    Creature

    ★★★½

    Peter Benchley's other late '90s TV miniseries adaptation of his lesser-known aquatic horror adventure novels (see also: "Beast" 1996 starring William Petersen). Easy to confuse the two. Petersen and Craig T. Nelson aren't all that different and nobody liked either TV event much. Helpful reminder: "The Beast" is a squid, "Creature" is a man-shark hybrid.

    Wait don't click away from this review after reading that! I know it sounds automatically awful, like the precursor to SyFy Channel's 2000s emergence of…