This Week at the Movies (Dec. 21, 2018)

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: DATE

Wide (United States)

Aquaman

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Bumblebee

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Mary Poppins Returns

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Second Act

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Welcome to Marwen

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Limited (United States)

Cold War

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Expanding (United States)

The Favourite

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Mary Queen of Scots

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2018 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

Bird Box

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BlacKkKlansman

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Bohemian Rhapsody

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Can You Ever Forgive Me?

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Creed II

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Disobedience

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The Equalizer 2

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

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The First Purge

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The Girl in the Spider’s Web

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Green Book

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The Guilty

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Hereditary

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If Beale Street Could Talk

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Isle of Dogs

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

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Mirai

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Mission: Impossible – Fallout

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Mortal Engines

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The Mule

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The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

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The Old Man & the Gun

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Overlord

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A Quiet Place

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Ralph Breaks the Internet

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Robin Hood

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Roma

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Science Fair

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Shoplifters

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Solo: A Star Wars Story

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Sorry to Bother You

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

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Venom

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Vox Lux

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Widows

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Wildlife

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

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1985

Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com

  • Excerpt: [I] appreciate that Tan embraces complexity, flaws, and compassion when he could have ignored them for a bow-tied catharsis.

The American Meme

Chris Barsanti @ Eyes Wide Open

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie

  • Excerpt: Imagine the nerve required to make your best character only one-sixth of your movie. The rest had better be good. It is! I do not claim all of the six short stories are as good as “Buster Scruggs”, they are not, but they are all mesmerizing and delivered in that peculiar Coen brothers method. It’s not six Coen films for the price of one; it feels like six stories the brothers had to get out of them somehow.

Ben Is Back

Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie

  • Excerpt: Peter Hedges found a creative way to explore how the opioid crisis destroys families every single day and for the first half of his film, he almost achieves it. Unfortunately, the second half transformation into a mystery thriller obscures the family drama momentum ensuring the film’s impact misses the mark.

Ben is Back

Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer

  • Excerpt: Ben is Back might be the most depressing Christmas movie since It’s a Wonderful Life. But if there is a Jimmy Stewart in Hollywood today, his spirit endures in Julia Roberts’ infectious smile.

Billionaire Boys Club

Amir Siregar @ Amir at the Movies [Indonesian]

  • Excerpt: Dull, unlikable, and basically works like third-rate, dumbed-down version of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’

Boy Erased

Jonathan Richards @ Pasatiempo

  • Excerpt: It’s when he cries out for help and his mother’s protective instincts kick in that the movie realizes its most affecting moments. Kidman, up till then a bit of a cipher, seizes the narrative.

A Bread Factory

Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum

  • Excerpt: The film is a delightfully idiosyncratic and ambitious exploration of art and community. It may be long, but it’s also a very rewarding and singular experience.

Custody

C.H. Newell @ Father Son Holy Gore

  • Excerpt: Custody will no doubt be difficult to watch for women who’ve experienced abuse. For everyone else, it’s a film begging society to pay attention, to listen to women when they share those experiences.

Dark Money

Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com

  • Excerpt: It’s therefore great that Dark Money has the backing of PBS to be utilized as an educational tool. There’s a lot of information, but it’s all given proper context with which to comprehend its explosive ramifications.

Destroyer

Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum

  • Excerpt: I loved every deliciously trashy and amazingly broody second of this. Kusama and Kidman are both working at the very top of their game.

F20

Dragan Antulov @ Draxblog Film Reviews

The Go-Getters

Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer

  • Excerpt: Pretty much everyone is up for grabs as Owen and Lacie rain more shit on Toronto than Doug Ford after a bad bowl of chili.

The Great Buddha

James Wegg @ JWR

  • Excerpt: It’s not often that political and social satire can sleep together in the same cinematic bed, but Huang has found the magic jelly to make his many points with humour, truth and voice.

Hal

Dragan Antulov @ Draxblog VI [Croatian]

  • Excerpt: …ovaj je film koristan onima koji su vec ranije stekli filmofilske sklonosti, odnosno onima koje zanima povijest Hollywooda, a koja je u jednom relativno kratkom razdoblju izgledala spektakularnije i ružicastije od svega što je došlo nakon njega.

Happy as Lazzaro

Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com

  • Excerpt: [Rohrwacher] provides the truth of our collective contemporary paranoia. Rather than see [Lazzaro] as a saint to exploit, he becomes a devil harboring ulterior motives yet unleashed.

The Happy Prince

Jonathan Richards @ Pasatiempo

  • Excerpt: The movie is a worthy tribute to one of the greats of English literature, and a timely, cautionary reminder of the devastating effects of bigotry on an individual, and a culture.

Have a Nice Day

Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum

  • Excerpt: Liu Jian’s rough around the edges animation reflects the harsh and bleak realities that the characters inhabit, but it does so with a cool, sly sense of humor.

Kedarnath

Kathy Gibson @ Access Bollywood

Little Pink House

Frederic & Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A vehement critique of economic injustice, class warfare and corporate power.

Love, Gilda

Frederic & Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: Informative and emotionally touching documentary about the beloved comedian.

Mario

Bavner Donaldo @ Cinejour [Indonesian]

Monrovia Indiana

Jonathan Richards @ Pasatiempo

  • Excerpt: Wiseman has pretty certainly chosen this epitome of red America in response to the Trump presidency, but there is not a MAGA cap or a political rally to be seen.

Mountain Rest

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: Eaton has a gift for creating miniature moments of subtle unease. But the story here stays too restrained; every time it threatens to move in a dangerous direction, it pulls back and goes for the obvious angle.

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie

  • Excerpt: A human attempting to be an animal within the state of nature would confront a host of psychological pitfalls and is ripe for kids to engage with it. Too bad most of them will beg their parents to turn off the blood and guts before they reach those parts.

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

Ross Miller @

On the Basis of Sex

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: Leder returns to the big screen with an effort that feels intended for the small screen. While it tells a great story…”On the Basis of Sex” feels like a Lifetime movie.

Once Upon a Deadpool

M. Enois Duarte @ HighDefDigest.com

  • Excerpt: The Merc with a Mouth returns in Deadpool 2 and takes aim right in the feels with another plot driven by an emotional core that places the irreverent mutant hero in a journey of self-discovery. But overlooking all that mopey, mawkish fluff, the sequel delivers more of the same cheeky, raunchy humor with the action visuals to match while also feeling wholly original.

Once Upon a Deadpool

Dan Lybarger @ Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

  • Excerpt: Now I know what it’s like to drink a keg of O’Doul’s laced with de-caffeinated sugar-free iced tea in one sitting.

The Possession of Hannah Grace

Vadim Grigoriev @ kinoblog.com [Ukrainian]

The Price of Free

Kathy Gibson @ Access Bollywood

Return of the Hero

Jonathan Richards @ Pasatiempo

  • Excerpt: It’s the work of its two stars, ably supported by the secondary players, that gives this nicely-pitched comedy its staying power. Dujardin is awash in charm, but it’s the smart astringency of Laurent that really makes the chemistry sizzle and the fun sustain.

Springsteen on Broadway

Frederic & Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A breathtaking personal tribute by the songwriter/storyteller to the spirituality of place, relationships, and service.

Vice

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: While the multiple story lines and complex subject of his last were buoyed by McKay’s amusing financial explanatory asides, his use of the same device for this single-stranded biopic is overbearing and unwarranted.

Vice

Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer

  • Excerpt: Vice is an all too relevant satire when yet another idiot is running the show in 2018.

Vice

Aaron Neuwirth @ We Live Entertainment

  • Excerpt: Vice feels more refined than The Big Short, as McKay has grown more confident, but the film lacks an extra punch as a result.

Vice

Betty Jo Tucker @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

  • Excerpt: Christian Bale manages to project a Dick Cheney aura, but Sam Rockwell really convinced me he was George W. Bush!

What Will People Say

Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum

  • Excerpt: Iram Haq is a terrific filmmaker, and she is able to tell a very personal story in a way that is both deeply affecting and evocatively told.

2017 Films

mother!

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Phantom Thread

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The Shape of Water

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Ava

Bavner Donaldo @ Cinejour [Indonesian]

Bright

Dragan Antulov @ Draxblog VI [Croatian]

Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts

Bavner Donaldo @ Cinejour [Indonesian]

One Cut of the Dead

Amir Siregar @ Amir at the Movies [Indonesian]

  • Excerpt: Despite a sagging middle, ‘One Cut of the Dead’ is one of the most engaging and innovative films released this year. Pom!

2016 Films

Bad Moms

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Silence

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