Liam Neeson brings his very particular set of skills to yet another January action movie. You can set your watch by them, they’re so reliable. And that’s true once again with “The Commuter,” which is essentially “Taken” on a train. It’s a lot of fun for a while, and then it just turns plain silly. But my latest Wine the Flick?! guest, longtime LA critic Lael Loewenstein of KPCC’s FilmWeek, is always fun — and smart, and insightful. I’ve wanted to have her on here for a while, so I’m so glad it worked out for us to chat over a couple of glasses of cabernet after a screening at the AMC Century City. We are at a very fancy food court.
And yes, I realize in retrospect that the bad-ass Jaume Collet-Serra did NOT direct the “Taken” movies. I misspoke. It’s part of the on-the-fly nature of the series. But please enjoy!
“Paddington 2” is completely charming and exactly what we need right now. And it proves that the wonderful, original “Paddington” was no fluke three years ago. Maybe it’s not the revelation that the first film was, but its central message of being kind to others, even during the most troubling circumstances, couldn’t be more relevant. My review, at RogerEbert.com.
Welcome to the cinematic dumping ground that is January. My first review of 2018 is of the utterly forgettable crime thriller “Dark Meridian,” a title that says nothing at all. It could be a high-octane action flick about extreme sports enthusiasts. It could be a supernatural thriller about hopeful fools who dare to connect with the dead. It could be the new fragrance for men from Paco Rabanne. My review, at RogerEbert.com.
If you’re a fan of Aaron Sorkin’s particular brand of impossibly intelligent characters exchanging rat-a-tat dialogue, you’ll be in heaven here. The hose is on full blast for two-plus hours. Nothing and no one seems to be holding the longtime screenwriter back in his directorial debut, for better and for worse. But Jessica Chastain handles the complexity of the material masterfully in the true story of a woman who made millions running an underground poker game. My final review of 2017, at RogerEbert.com.
“Pitch Perfect 3” supposedly is the final film in the wildly successful series about the musical misadventures of the Barden Bellas. Lots of overlong, tearful group hugs after the final a cappella song make that clear. But we really didn’t need a second “Pitch Perfect” movie, much less a third one. Aca-nough already. My RogerEbert.com review.