Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Despite flashes of inspiration, this sequel to the unexpectedly compelling Maleficent can't seem to get out of its own way.
10 NEW TO NETFLIX
6 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD
I try not to show preference in this column for films on which I'm quoted on the cover but, naturally, the quote serves as a sort of endorsement on its own (except for the few times in which a word or two has been hilariously pulled from negative reviews to promote bad movies). I saw "Beast" a year ago as a part of my TIFF 2017 coverage and I was happy to see star Jessie Buckley earning raves yet again this year for "Wild Rose" (which I, sadly, couldn't get to). She deserves to be a huge star, giving one of those unforgettable young performances here that heralds something special. "Beast" is a character drama wrapped in a mystery, a clever look at that time in our lives when we're attracted to danger. It would make a great rental for you this weekend. Just trust me.
The Making of Beast - Featurette
A Look at Beast - Photo Gallery
One of the most divisive films of 2018 is also one that I can guarantee you that people will be watching years from now. And I'm not saying that only because I happen to be very strongly in the "pro-Hereditary" camp but for two reasons. One, it's of a genre that often persists. No one embraces their darlings like horror fans. (And I can't believe I have to say it but this IS a horror movie.) Two, it's a movie that honestly got people talking. As much as I love the film itself, I also adore the passionate debate around it, particularly the understandable frustrations I heard with the ending. For me, the film won me over long before then, particularly on a performance level. Few actors, if any, did more committed, fearless work than Toni Collette.
"Cursed: The True Nature of Hereditary" Featurette
"Evil in Miniature" Photo Gallery
No one is more surprised than me at how much I enjoyed the fifth "Jurassic" sequel, especially given the dismal batting average since Steven Spielberg's influential classic. Listen, "Fallen Kingdom" is not going to be on anyone's top ten at the end of the year, but this is what the previous films forgot to be: fun. It helps greatly that it has an actual director in J.A. Bayona who somehow finds a way to blend Hammer horror movies with the Crichton universe and creates a final hour here that I found thoroughly entertaining. Pratt is still as dull a lead as you'll find in a Hollywood blockbuster, but this thing has a visual language lacking from so many other Summer 2018 films, and a closing section that I really adored. I feel like it was easy for a lot of critics to write this movie off - and I certainly did given how much I hated the last one - but it's one of my biggest surprises of the year. Maybe it will be one of yours too.
The Kingdom Evolves
Return to Hawaii
Aboard the Arcadia
Start the Bidding!
On Set with Chris & Bryce
Birth of the Indoraptor
Death by Dino .
Monster in a Mansion
Fallen Kingdom: The Conversation
Jurassic Then and Now
"A Nightmare Before Christmas"
It's been 25 years since Tim Burton's "A Nightmare Before Christmas" opened in theaters, making a relatively small amount of money in 1993 for a Disney animated film (under $50 million). In the two-and-a-half decades since, Burton's vision has become a money machine for Disney, producing new tie-in products and DVD/Blu-ray releases with regularity. Why should you consider getting it again? Well, this is the sing-along version, which may be attractive to some people, especially young ones, but the real draw is the two short films that inspired Jack Skellington, Burton's early works "Vincent" and "Frankenweenie." It's Jack's world, we just live in it.
Tim Burton's Early Film: "Vincent"
The Making of
Deleted Animated Sequences
Tim Burton's Early Film: "Frankenweenie" (Uncut Version)
"What's This?" Jack's Haunted Mansion Tour
Tim Burton's Original Poem Narrated by Christopher Lee
What an amazing cast! What an OK movie. To be honest, it would be hard to not at least deliver mediocre escapism with this all-star line-up of talent, and that's exactly what Gary Ross and the team behind this inferior "Ocean's sequel does. Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, and especially Anne Hathaway are having a blast in this heist movie about jewelry theft from the Met Gala, but the script here is depressingly flat. Ross does the best he can to find the pace and rhythm in it, but this flick lacks the wit and creativity of the best heist movies. Just putting these Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy winners on the same screen provides just enough inherent spark to justify a rental, but lower those expectations that the casting director won't be the MVP of this particular venture.
A Heist in Heels - Featuruette
Ocean's Team 3.0 - Featurette
Reimagining the Met Gala - Fetaurette
"Won't You Be My Neighbor?"
I hate to be a grumpy critic, but I'm disappointed in how many of my colleagues have wholeheartedly embraced this doc, one of the most profitable films of its kind in years but a perfect example for me of the issue of "form vs. content." Yes, the content here is undeniably great. Fred Rogers was progressive, brilliant, and empathetic, the kind of person we could certainly use more of in 2018. But the movie about him is clunky, over-using score and episodic in its structure. I was frustrated by a movie that I kept wanting to be better than I think it is simply because of how much I love its subject matter. Most people won't care and there's inherent value in getting Mr. Rogers' life and message to more people. But that doesn't mean this couldn't have been a better movie.
A tribute to Robert Forster.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
The experts sound off on what films to watch in honor of Indigenous Peoples' Day.
A short film about two friends trying to get through a period of loss.