Here are some reviews of films coming out at the theater this week as well as others that may be in theaters or newly on home video.
Opening: Feb. 22, 2019
Wide (United States)
2019 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas
2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts
Alita: Battle Angel
Happy Death Day 2U
Isn’t It Romantic
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
The Breaker Upperers
- Excerpt: This New Zealsand comedy had me in stitches most of the time, thanks to its hilarious co-stars Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beck, who also co-wrote and co-directed the film.
- Excerpt: The Changeover is a well-made fantasy YA movie that features a terrifying villainous turn by Timothy Spall.
- Excerpt: A family drama that explores the long-term effects of family secrets.
- Excerpt: Ochipinti’s film benefits from a strong documentary underpinning – with the lead actress saying that 70 per cent of what occurs is based on her own story at the film’s Berlin screening – showing how strong cultural expectations like this can be.
Dragan Antulov @ Draxblog VI [Croatian]
- Excerpt: In covering the rap scene in Mumbai, it not only delivers an energetic and masterfully crafted crowd pleaser, but it thoughtfully touches on the various forms of oppression that the characters face in their journey.
- Excerpt: As ‘Gully Boy’ evolves with its zestful, original characters, we tend to sieve the film through elements that are common in Zoya Akhtar’s universe – passion, dysfunctionality and people finding closures that are fulfilling to self and to their surroundings. Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt and Siddhant Chaturvedi are extraordinary in this skillfully told underdog tale.
High Flying Bird
- Excerpt: Despite not being invested or all that familiar with the corporate politics behind basketball, Soderbergh’s direction and McCraney’s script kept me effortlessly engaged.
- Excerpt: Precisely put, debutante director Madhu C Narayanan’s ‘Kumbalangi Nights’ is one of the greatest Indian feature films to be made in modern times. Brave, layered and laced with fantastic performances, this one is a fine genre piece which knows how to appetize and ultimately serve a sumptuous spread to those craving a magnetic cinematic sojourn.
Lords of Chaos
- Excerpt: Lords of Chaos has everything you want from a fact-ish based dramatization of the darkest, most infamous chapter in extreme metal history. But while it’s high on spectacle and lurid, sensational details, it skimps on depth and motivation.
The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot
- Excerpt: I was deeply impressed by its tonal gymnastics, and the way it squeezes out genuine emotional resonance from campy and delightfully goofy ideas. Sam Elliott carries the film with a sense of gravitas that keeps you glued to the screen.
- Excerpt: Credit to the actor-turned-director for thinking big with his first directorial project but in pursuit of the bigger picture, quite a lot of the smaller intricacies are lost.
Mega Time Squad
- Excerpt: The concept has been done before, and better, most notably by “Colossal’s” Nacho Vigalondo in “Time Crimes,” but Dammen’s gang that literally can’t shoot straight is so clueless, rooting for his bumbling protagonist proves an entertaining, if trifling, amusement.
Ruben Brandt, Collector
- Excerpt: Film critics, myself included, missed the boat on building buzz for this, submitted for consideration for the 2019 Animation Oscar. I sentence myself to forty lashes. “Ruben Brandt, Collector” is an explosion of deftly curated imagination, a dazzling and hugely entertaining film.
Then Came You
- Excerpt: Then Came You doesn’t have to be a message-thumping torchbearer for anything. Instead, it is squarely comfortable with its pile of pluck and parade of quirks.
- Excerpt: Shawn Snyder explores death and grief in a morbidly funny, yet surprisingly resonant way.
Varda By Agnes
- Excerpt: A charming and playful consideration of her career.
- Excerpt: In Vox Lux, Natalie Portman plays a pop star (singing original songs by Sia!) reckoning with the decades of trauma she not only suffered—beginning with a school shooting—but also wrought, as a producer of disposable music, as an addled absent mother, and as an influencer of terrorist violence.
Minding the Gap
Stan & Ollie
Birds of Passage
- Excerpt: “Capernaum” has my vote for Best Film in a Foreign Language. There is no master greater in the current cinematic world than Nadine Labaki, writer/director extraordinaire. This is the best film of the year, if not the decade.
Daughter of Mine
An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn
- Excerpt: [Director Jim Hosking] compromised by scaling back the most aggressively bizarre elements of his shock debut, while still indulging in enough skewed reality to keep the comedy firmly on the surreal side of the ledger… The results are not entirely satisfactory, but they are also not nearly as much of a sell-out as they might have been.
The Gospel of Eureka
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
- Excerpt: The film’s pace reflects the dispirited energy of disregarded people who can barely sustain themselves through work in the county’s catfish economy.
Hotel by the River
The Image Book
- Excerpt: Being focused on the past can prevent us from moving forward, such as when we dwell on guilt or pain, or worship a pagan death god from Norse mythology. The Ritual is about the rituals through which we put ourselves to dull our mistakes and weaknesses, and also those that allow us to break free of them.
Sammy Davis, Jr.: I Gotta Be Me
- Excerpt: But never did a man try so hard to be accepted. He hoped that through his talent he could change hearts about him and about his race.
Too Late to Die Young
- Excerpt: Sotomayor’s coming of age tale is unique in that her focus is not only on the young, but the (less well defined) adults whose choices are every bit as questionable.
What Is Democracy?
The Wild Pear Tree
- Excerpt: It’s in dance that the film’s strength lies, illustrating, through choreography, Acosta’s more abstract – and more negative – emotions, including fear, loneliness and lust.
I Can Speak
Bavner Donaldo @ Cinejour [Indonesian]