movie review

Life Itself

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Antonia Banderas

Directed by: Dan Fogelman

Rated: PG-13

 

Let this be a lesson: what works for television doesn’t always work for a feature film. Writer and director Dan Fogelman, the architect of the NBC hit series “This is Us,” spent his summer hiatus making this film for which the more correct title should have been “Life Bummer.”

shadow

While this doesn’t have the emotional gut punch of “Munich,” it’s a solid companion piece for similar subject matter in its factual account about the capture of Adolf Eichmann, the SS officer largely responsible for Hitler’s “Final Solution,” which led to the deaths of over 6 million Jews during WWII.

shadow

The romantic comedy genre has been overdue for a makeover and in this fresh new take is just the ticket. Easily, it’s one of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen this summer as it carries a great storyline while allowing entry into a culture I knew virtually nothing about.

Think of a storyline as a branch, with elements of the story hung like ornaments from it. Then think of the brightest, most colorful ornaments and that is “Crazy Rich Asians,” from start to finish.

shadow

If not for recent events, which demonstrate that we still have far to go to repair racial relations in this country, Spike Lee’s new movie would be more like a history lesson — and it is, only it seems we’ve haven’t learned much of anything in the last 40 years.

Set during the turbulent ‘70s, the movie begins with a fictitious race baiter (Alec Baldwin) starring in a black and white movie touting white supremacy, but the story moves quickly to Colorado Springs where the police department is trying to integrate its ranks.

shadow
Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon in Susanna Fogel's The Spy Who Dumped Me

‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’

Starring: Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon

Directed by: Susanna Fogel

Rated: R

shadow
The stars of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’

Starring: Lily James, Amanda Seyfried

Directed by: Ol Parker

Rated: PG-13

Here we go with the feel-good movie of the summer. It’s a sugary sequel to “Mamma Mia,” which managed to gross over $600 million world-wide in 2008. This second verse is poised to do it again with a lot of talent in front and behind the camera making it all come together for a definite chick flick pleaser.

shadow
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Skyscraper

Halfway through the summer movie season, there are clear winners and losers at the box office and with critics. Superheroes and dinosaurs are at the top, but there, is a plethora of movies that have underperformed in what is already a season that has offered less to movie fans.

shadow
Amy Schumer and Rory Scovel in I Feel Pretty

‘I Feel Pretty’

Starring: Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams

Directed by: Amy Kohn, Marc Silverstein

Rated: PG-13

Just hearing the title of this makes me want to break into the song from “West Side Story.” It’s Maria’s big number as she sways and preens in front of the mirror. There is a lot of that going on in this movie, too, but it may be just an illusion and not a celebration of love at first sight.

shadow
The animated cast of Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson's latest film

A few months ago, sitting through the trailer for this movie, I heard comments around me like “weird,” “interesting,” and, yes, it is kind of weird and interesting. After all it is a Wes Anderson movie so that’s to be expected.

shadow

Never has quiet been so creepy as in this horror story with a heart. Starring real life couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, and directed by Krasinski as well, this is a post-apocalyptic nightmare where, as the title indicates, just one little bump can lead to terrifying consequences.

shadow