movie review

Francis Mcdormand as Mildred in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’

Starring: Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell

Directed by: Martin McDonagh

Rated: R

In Martin McDonagh’s prolific history as a writer, most of his work has been for the stage. To date, his best-known screen work is “In Bruges,” which today enjoys an almost cult following.

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Why do all the Marvel Comics super guys and gals seem to be having a much better time than this dreary bunch assembled to for this DC Comics latest “save the world” episode? The recent “Thor” installment proved that it was possible to ward of the evil forces of the universe and still have fun doing it.

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Cast of Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

‘Murder on the Orient Express’

Starring: Kenneth Branaugh, Michelle Pfeiffer

Directed by: Kenneth Branaugh

Rated: PG-13

Unfair as it may be, there will be comparisons between this version of the Agatha Christie novel and the 1974 adaptation that was an immensely satisfying piece of entertainment. With a distance of over 30 years between the two films, I have no quibble with the idea of a redo. But the actual redo is a different story — literally.

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The cast of A Bad Mom's Christmas

‘A Bad Moms Christmas’

Starring: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn

Directed by: John Lucas and Scott Moore

Rated: R

It’s not unusual to rush out a sequel after a hit movie like “Bad Moms.” It just struck a chord with its target audience of females, so it makes sense to go for a repeat. The three stars — Mila Kunis, Kristin Bell and Kathryn Hahn — return, and in a clever twist, this movie brings their mothers into the picture, which explains a lot about each of them.

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First things first. This is not a horror film in the true sense of the genre. It’s masquerading as a horror movie because it defies any kind of traditional category other than “carnival ride.” I haven’t had this kind of “WTH” response to a movie since Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut,” which in the end, I decided, was an elaborate practical joke executed purely by the filmmaker for his own pleasure.

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It must be in the genes because Hallie Meyers-Shyer, the director of “Home Again,” is also the daughter of Nancy Meyers, otherwise known as the queen of romantic comedies — albeit upper middle class and beyond. Everything about a NM rom-com is pretty — pretty people leading pretty privileged lives in pretty homes — and now her daughter offers the same heaping helping of unreality.

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Taylor Sheridan is probably best remembered as the deputy in “Sons of Anarchy” who didn’t make it past the second season. It’s best to think of him as a writer and director now, and in his two previous films, “Sicario” about the drug trade and “Hell or High Water” with two bank-robbing brothers, Sheridan has solidified his credibility as both.

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It’s not easy revisiting the past, but sometimes it’s necessary. At least that’s how director Kathryn Bigelow felt about the epic Detroit riot of 1967. Ignited by an afterhours raid on a black nightclub by the Detroit police force, it lasted for days.

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Where were you when the wall came tumbling down? In the fall of 1989, Reagan was in the Oval Office and Eastern Europe was in a free fall. Frankly, I don’t remember where I was when the Berlin Wall finally fell, but as the premise for this movie, it intrigued me from the beginning.

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Talk about a hard sell: A comedy about a young woman in a medically induced coma near death is risky business. But what is it comedians always say? Comedy is nothing but mining your personal tragedies for laughs, and that’s what comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon have done in their touching, hilarious story.

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