Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Certain Women (2016)
Little Men (2016)
The Birth of a Nation (2016)
Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
"Even as the sometimes silly horror cliches accumulate, the characters retain our sympathy, thanks to the fraught family dynamic that Flanagan establishes as credibly as the layout of the rambling old Los Angeles home where the horror erupts."
The Magnificent Seven (2016)
"The action is fine, but the movie lacks the grandeur that makes this genre special: The landscapes are unattractively photographed, evidence that this 'Western' -- a few New Mexico scenes aside -- mostly was shot in Louisiana, for tax-credit purposes."
"The auteur sees himself in the aviator, whose competence makes believers out of skeptics and who - in a critique of effects-driven blockbuster filmmaking - argues that 'computer simulations' mean nothing when divorced from the 'human' element. "
Blair Witch (2016)
Hell or High Water (2016)
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
"Visually striking at every turn and occasionally even eerie (the floating witch sisters deserve their own stop-motion horror movie), the film conjures a fantasy logic that is more beholden to myth and folklore than to comic books and Hollywood."
Don't Breathe (2016)
Lights Out (2016)
"A metaphor for abusive codependency and its sidekick repercussions, shame and secrecy, director David F. Sandberg's fairly effective feature debut imagines an angry ghost with a baleful longtime influence on a fractured family."
Pete's Dragon (2016)
Southside With You (2016)
"They attend 'Do the Right Thing,' and Spike Lee's provocative movie mirrors, in expressionistic fashion, the hours-long debate over racial identity, social responsibility and "Afrocentric" art that runs through Barack and Michelle's day together."
"Respectful, unpretentious and elegant (a Carpenter characteristic), if somewhat ungainly in its substitution of California real estate for Memphis and Mississippi locations, the modestly budgeted 'Elvis' remains the definitive screen portrayal of Presley."
Sausage Party (2016)
" Existential howl of despair meets stoner belly laugh in the latest project from Rogen and collaborators, who follow 'This Is the End' with another high-concept comedy that, like a horror movie, reduces its characters to meat."
Suicide Squad (2016)
Café Society (2016)
"The verbose if intermittent voice-over (delivered by Allen himself) is intrusive and redundant, but the script's Borscht Belt existentialism -- 'Life is a comedy, written by a sadistic comedy writer' -- is on point."
Star Trek Beyond (2016)
The BFG (2016)
"Spielberg reunites with 'E.T.' screenwriter Mathison to revisit the themes of their 1982 success, but with a revealing reversal: This time, the filmmakers seem to identify more with the fantastical outsider than with the child who becomes his friend."
The Purge: Election Year (2016)
"With a tag line ('Keep America Great') inspired by the season's scariest serial (the Trump campaign), the third 'Purge' film is more a grindhouse 'Hunger Games' chapter than the sharp-focused terror exercise of the 2013 original..."
The Shallows (2016)
The Legend of Tarzan (2016)
"Unlike most current 'superhero' sagas, which traffic in moral ambiguity, the movie is staunchly uncynical, with an entirely admirable Tarzan and Jane whose unconditional love for each other spills over to the animal kingdom."
Swiss Army Man (2016)
"Certainly unusual, but its inventive absurdism eventually gives way to a sentimental message that is no less trite for being delivered by a hero who may be insane: 'Life is short, and no one should ride the bus alone.'"
The Conjuring 2 (2016)
Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
Now You See Me 2 (2016)
"The cinematic sleight of hand remains the same: The antic pace, the byplay among the magicians and the blithe disinterest in plausibility almost distract us from the pointlessness of depicting stage magic via a medium built on trickery."
Love & Friendship (2016)
The Lobster (2016)
"The social pressure to be part of a couple is taken to Kafkaesque extremes in this poker-faced absurdist critique of the idea -- typically expressed most enthusiastically in commercial motion pictures -- that a successful, happy life requires a mate."
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
"Unlike many of his competitors, Singer finds grace notes amid the chaos, as when Xavier's exploding mansion is freeze-framed in time so we can watch the impossibly fast Quicksilver almost nonchalantly pluck innocents from the path of destruction."
Maggie's Plan (2016)
The Nice Guys (2016)
A Bigger Splash (2016)
"Swinton and Guadagnino deliver another bracing arthouse melodrama that luxuriates in cinema's power to tantalize the senses with beautiful, delectable and almost tactile images of fabric, landscape, architecture, water, fruit, fish, human flesh..."
Money Monster (2016)
"The film delivers a dubious mixed message: It condemns the big-money investor and cable news cultures, treats the working class as expendable and ultimately offers forgiveness and redemption to the privileged celebrity rank to which Foster belongs."
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
The Jungle Book (2016)
"The movie is at its best when it reproduces the formal speech and respectful intent of the original stories; it's less gripping when director Jon Favreau allows the fantasy to succumb to Disney shtick..."
Green Room (2016)
Elvis & Nixon (2016)
Miles Ahead (2016)
"The movie's mix of historical touchstones and antic fantasy suggests the influence of the Coens, whose films -- 'Llewyn Davis,' 'Hail, Caesar!' -- similarly suggest that fiction and nonfiction are as permeable and connectable as the skins of soap bubbles."
Union Bound (2016)
"Apparently motivated by a desire to promote a message of racial cooperation, the film is quite handsome, given its meager resources, but it has the misplaced priorities of a civil rights parable that is more interested in Miss Daisy than in her driver."
Hardcore Henry (2016)
Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016)
"Directed with unfussy efficiency by Malcolm D. Lee, cousin of Spike Lee, the movie arrives as very much a companion piece to Spike's 'Chi-Raq,' also crafted as a response to the alarming murder rate among young people in Chicago's inner city."
"An essential difference between this and previous similar movies is that the central point of view is not that of a European or North American interloper but that of an occupant of the forest -- in this case, a feather-bedecked Amazonian shaman."
Midnight Special (2016)
"A problem for me is that the movie (marred by a nudging reverential score) never presents Alton as anything but a benign, even angelic force. The implications of Alton's power is terrifying, but the movie from the start treats the boy as a gift."
Knight of Cups (2016)