Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn gets her own spin-off (and the same middling reviews familiar to DC-universe films)
New in Theaters
"Birds of Prey"
"Not as gargantuanly godawful as 2016's 'Suicide Squad,'" which is how Rolling Stone opened its two-star review of the new Margot Robbie-led flick, isn't likely to turn up as a tagline in promotional campaigns. But considering the mostly miss nature of the DC universe, even the faintest praise for one of its films is a positive development.
"Come to Daddy"
Sadly this one isn't a full-length feature based on the terrifying Aphex Twin video, though the trailer, which you can view below, does offer more than its share of horror.
The single-take construction makes for moments of earned tension and narrow escape that are meant to get the heart pounding. But telling this story in real time has some real downside. The emotional connection with our lead characters is never fully built, and the larger scope of the conflict gets lost. (3 stars)
"Bad Boys for Life"
The film arrives 17 years after “Bad Boys II,” and Michael Bay isn’t behind the director’s chair for the first time in the series, but you would hardly notice. Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah pump the screen full of the same level of inane action. Smith and Martin Lawrence are so naturally funny, it only sometimes matters how bad the jokes are. (2 stars)
It’s not really fair to expect the makers of “Frozen” to capture lightning in a bottle twice, nor are many of the kiddos helping to sell out theaters this weekend going to be disappointed in the least with “Frozen 2.” But an overcomplicated story proves that more isn’t necessarily better. If you’re expecting this sequel to be on the same level you need to let it go, let it gooooo! (2 stars)
“The Gentleman,” with its solid cast, is director Guy Ritchie's return to the criminal underbelly, and, as far as January films go, it's pretty entertaining. (3 stars)
A biting, irreverent political satire meets a coming-of-age story, it’s full of “Should we be laughing at this?” humor that gives way to a surprising sweetness. New Zealand director Taika Waititi’ had a big hill to climb with this movie’s premise, but he’s made the best film of his career so far, and one of the very best of 2019. (5 stars)
I have a tendency to qualify a lot of my most fawning reviews by saying, “This one’s not for everyone.” I’d just about give you a money-back guarantee on “Knives Out.” See it as soon as you can before everyone starts talking it to death. (5 stars)
Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” has gotten raves since winning the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and I’m here to tell you it’s every bit as good as advertised, maybe better. A twisty and uproarious thriller, “Parasite” packs a ton of entertainment around some sharp and timely social satire. (5 stars)
"Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker"
But, chin up, because in the end you’ll know that one of us, Johnson, made the best “Star Wars” movie of all time, and another one of us, Abrams, navigated the backlash that we created to land the last “Star Wars” trilogy in a way that eases these pains, even if it sometimes goes too far in its fan service. (4 stars)
The twists and turns are best left untold, but it’s a devastating experience. It shows an actor in Adam Sandler tapping into unexpected depths and establishes filmmakers the Safdie brothers as true auteurs.