A Flurry of Films for Years-End


What to Watch in the Theater:
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (PG13) is in theaters now. This fun adventure is jam-packed with clever jokes and lessons for the whole family. On the surface, it may seem to perpetuate stereotypes, but look closer and you’ll see it pokes fun by forcing characters to face the way they look at things (and people). With their hilarious new outer shells, a group of teens learns to work together, relying on each of their strengths, and finding out what’s really important in life.
Our rating: 5 out of 5


Downsizing (R) is in theaters now. With an intriguing premise and a likable leading man, this film held great promise. But alas, all of the good parts were shown in the trailer, and the second half of the movie takes a serious turn for the worse. With the addition of an annoying character and a weird plot diversion, the movie loses it’s way – and our interest.
Our rating: 2.17 out of 5


I, Tonya (R) is in limited release. This is an interesting biography of Tonya Harding that gives us the backstory leading up to the infamous “incident” involving Nancy Kerrigan. The casting is masterful – with Margot Robbie and Allison Janney leading the pack. The story is told interview-style, with some fourth-wall breaking to add levity. It’s an entertaining watch for those who lived through that episode in Olympic history.
Our rating: 3.83 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Going in Style (PG13) This solid remake features a great cast, pulling off the heist of a lifetime. It’s like Ocean’s Eleven for the older set, but you really care about the characters and what inspired them to rob a bank. It’s a caper movie that will entertain you, while warming your heart.
Our rating: 4.17 out of 5

Plus box office results, what’s out on DVD & Blu-Ray, what’s coming to streaming services, and more!

Let’s Put on a Show!


What to Watch in the Theater:
The Greatest Showman (PG) is in theaters now. This film takes us to the 1800s in New York City, where P.T. Barnum first establishes his circus. It’s an interesting tale of a man striving to succeed at doing something he loves, while giving a home to people shunned by the very society he desperately wants to accept him. And by the way, it’s a musical! But it’s NOT a period musical – the wonderful songs are contemporary, and the performances (especially Zendaya and Zac Efron’s together) are impressive. Oh, and there are some important messages as well. This movie packs in almost enough stuff for three rings, or at least a VERY large tent.
Our rating: 4.17 out of 5


Pitch Perfect 3 (PG13) opens today. At first you may wonder why the franchise needed a third installment, and think the premise is a little iffy. But then the action – and the music – take center stage, and you can’t help but get swept into this aca-awesome closing act. You may just have to admit you really care about what happens to Beca, Fat Amy and the rest of the Bellas. And why won’t those pesky judges turned documentarians (John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks, even more over the top than usual) just leave them alone? Yes, the story gets pretty outrageous, but it’s a fun romp full of great songs.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Christmas Eve (PG) Compared with other films celebrating multiple stories on a particular day (New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and the killer – Love, Actually) – this one just shouldn’t have bothered. While the intertwined stories hold a bit of interest, there isn’t enough here to make us care about what happens to these characters while they’re stuck in elevators, or wonder what comes next for them once they get out. DON’T add this to your must-see list for the holidays.
Our rating: 1 out of 5

Plus box office results, awards, what’s out on DVD & Blu-Ray, what’s leaving Netflix, and more!

A Force to be Reckoned With


What to Watch in the Theater:
Ferdinand (PG) opens today. This story, based on a beloved children’s book, is full of fun characters and positive fish out of water and tolerance messages. It’s the kind of movie that has something for all ages, so parents will appreciate a lot of the gags and jokes kids may not catch. Action-packed and heartwarming, it’s an entertaining film for the whole family, with a great voice cast.
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5


Star Wars: The Last Jedi (PG13) opens today. The Force is strong with this one! It’s an action-packed trip through a galaxy far, far away, featuring several main characters (and at least one newcomer) following their hearts toward an uncertain destiny. No spoilers here, except to say that it takes up where Star Wars: The Force Awakens left off, so you might want to brush up on that one.
Our rating: 5 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Ingrid Goes West (R) This film is about a social media obsessed girl stalking the object of her online admiration in real life. While entertaining at times, the premise and characters are so annoying, it’s hard to sit through, even though it’s only 90 minutes long. If you’re a fan of any of the actors, you may enjoy it. Then again, it might just annoy you, too.
Our rating: 2.5 out of 5

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (TVMA) We enjoyed binge-watching all 8 episodes of this smart and funny Amazon Studios original. Midge is a 26-year-old picking up the pieces of a failed marriage in the late 1950s, when she discovers she has a flair for stand up comedy. Great characters (and cast) fill this wonderful story of a time period when women had limited options in life, and even more expectations to fulfill. It’s a fun watch, but is only available to stream on Amazon Prime, and is for adults only.
Our rating: 5 out of 5

Future Man (TVMA) We didn’t rate this Hulu Original when we reviewed it a couple of weeks ago, because we wanted to finish the season first.
Our rating: 4.75 out of 5

Plus box office results, movie news, what’s out on DVD & Blu-Ray, and more!

Hearts Warmed, Lessons Learned


What to Watch in the Theater:
Wonder (PG) is in theaters now. This heartwarming story is full of lessons about acceptance, but it’s refreshingly told in a way that offers multiple perspectives. Not only do you see Auggie’s struggles, dealing with people reacting to his facial deformity, but you also see what his friends and family bring to the table, and how their backstories play into that. Love, heartache, joy, sadness – prepare yourself for some tears!
Our rating: 4.83 out of 5


The Man Who Invented Christmas (PG) is in theaters now. This is an interesting and entertaining look at the creative process behind Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Fast-paced and well-cast, this film shows how Dickens overcame a slump in his career and came up with a story that continues to inspire kindness and joy in Christmas celebrations..
Our rating: 4.75 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
The Book of Henry (PG13) This family film about a quirky boy genius turns into a sad tale and then becomes a crime drama. Henry’s mom relies on him for everything, and then has to figure out how to live without him and make him proud. It’s an interesting movie, full of wonderful performances and plot twists.
Our rating: 3.83 out of 5

Wish Upon (PG13) It’s a nice change to find a teen horror/thriller that’s not chock full of sex, gore and bad language. There’s something familiar about this story of a girl who’s given 7 wishes, only to figure out later that every wish has come at a terrible cost. It’s interesting to watch her struggle with that realization and her desire to continue wishing. A good watch, and a great role for Joey King.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

Plus box office results, movie news, what’s out on DVD & Blu-Ray, and more!