Movie Review

Movie reviewer Fletcher Powell shares his opinions on Hollywood's best efforts. Tune in every Thursday for the latest review.

The movie review can also be heard on iTunes. Listen or subscribe here.

Once, when I was young, my dog ran away. She ran out the door into the rain and never came back. I was heartbroken. After a few days we checked the Humane Society, just in case.

We’re dumped right into the middle of the story in A Quiet Place. It’s about three months after something apocalyptic has happened, and we’re with a family taking items from an abandoned grocery store. But despite the fact that there’s clearly no one else around, they’re moving, and searching, and communicating, without… making… a sound.

We like to complain that there’s nothing new—everything we see is a retread of something else: a remake, a sequel, an adaptation, a reboot. And while this isn’t completely true, a look at the box office winners for any recent year will tell us that this is mostly true.

So I have to give credit to Steven Spielberg for having the audacity to present us with a movie in which literally nothing is original. 

The increasing quality of the cameras on devices like the iPhone has made it so that pretty much anyone can make a real, feature-length movie at a cost nearing zero dollars. Still, with a couple of notable exceptions, movies shot on iPhones have been seen by almost no one, and we certainly haven’t seen the big kids in Hollywood jump on board.

It’s not fair to compare a movie adaptation to the book it’s based on -- a movie should stand on its own merits. But if you’ve read the book first, it can also be a challenge not to compare the two.

When I first watched Thoroughbreds, I came away irritated. Some people seem to regard it as a black comedy, though it’s only sporadically funny. And I was surprised to learn it’s apparently not based on a stage play, because it’s only got a handful of characters, 80 percent of it takes place in a single location, and it’s very talky.

Red Sparrow is the latest in a line of stories about young women being coerced into joining a secret government organization, wherein they become super spies, or super assassins, or something along those lines. Think of Luc Besson’s La Femme Nikita.

I was headed into the theater, all ready to see the new science fiction adventure movie Annihilation. “I’ll bet this is going to be heavy,” I thought to myself. But I’d been sick all weekend, and I was still in a sort of weird head fog, and part of me really worried that I just wouldn’t be able to handle a movie called Annihilation.

So, at the last second, I bought a ticket to see Game Night instead.

Just four days into its release, Black Panther had grossed more than $426 million worldwide, and that’s before it’s even opened in China. Which means that other than maybe a Star Wars movie or two, this is basically the biggest opening for any movie ever. 

In August of 2015, a gunman attacked a train from Amsterdam to Paris. After short skirmishes with some passengers, his rifle jammed, and three Americans on the train overwhelmed the man and subdued him with the help of a couple of other passengers.

Pages