Mary Queen of Scots

Margot Robbie, pictured in an early iteration of Queen Elizabeth’s heavily made-up look. 

“AQUAMAN” (PG-13) 2.5 STARS

Though this has enough cool visuals, huge-scale battle sequences and glimmers of talent from some of its stars to work as a somewhat satisfying comic book movie, it never grabs the audience like the best Marvel movies do. Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language. 143 min. [MC, PV, RF]

“BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY” (R) 2.75 STARS



This Queen band biopic works well enough as a dramatic tale, though it helps if you’re already a fan of the group and its charismatic lead singer, Freddie Mercury. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, suggestive material, drug content and language. 134 min. [RF]

“BUMBLEBEE” (PG-13) 3 STARS

One of the sweetest and best-made films of the holiday season turns out to be about a Hasbro Transformer. The story about a broken alien car/robot works as a coming-of-age tale thanks to Hailee Steinfeld, who plays a young girl who finds an unlikely robot friend. Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action violence. 113 min. [MC, PV, RF]

“ESCAPE ROOM” (PG-13) 1.5 STARS

Though this was designed to create tension and fear by turning the notion of an escape room into a horror film, it’s more forgettable than scary. Rated PG-13 for terror/perilous action, violence, some suggestive material and language. 100 min. [MC, RF]

“GREEN BOOK” (PG-13) 3.5 STARS

This film manages to be poignant, funny and meaningful as it explores issues ranging from racism to friendship. It’s the tale of a working-class Italian–American bouncer who becomes the driver for an African–American classical pianist on a tour of the 1960s American South. Rated PG-13 for thematic content, language including racial epithets, smoking, some violence and suggestive material. 130 min. [RF]

“MARY POPPINS RETURNS” (PG) 3 STARS

Thanks to Emily Blunt, who seems tailor-made to play Mary Poppins, this long-awaited return works as a sweet second chapter for the magical and all-knowing nanny, though not quite as good as the original. Rated PG for some mild thematic elements and brief action. 130 min. [MC, PV, RF]

“MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS” (R) 3 STARS

While you know going in that things won’t turn out well for the young queen of Scotland, Saoirse Ronan creates such a fascinating Mary Stuart that it’s worth the journey. The young actress is at turns tough, defiant, tender, stone-willed, loving, happy and sad, wanting nothing more than to find a way to serve her subjects. Rated R for some violence and sexuality. 124 min. [RF]

“THE MULE” (R) 2.5 STARS

Though Clint Eastwood offers much to like—both as director and as the film’s star—it’s hard to find much that rises above mediocre, and its moral message, if it has one, is questionable. It’s the same ol’ cantankerous Clint Eastwood we’ve seen in too many films toss insults and smart-mouthed replies to everyone he meets. Rated R for language throughout and brief sexuality/nudity. 116 min. [MC, PV, RF]

“RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET” (PG) 3 STARS

This silly tale of two video game characters who set out to explore the internet is smartly written, working both for the younger set and the parents escorting them to the theater. Rated PG for some action and rude humor. 112 min. [PV]

“REPLICAS” (R) (Not reviewed)

A scientist becomes obsessed with bringing back his family members who died in a traffic accident. With Alice Eve, Keanu Reeves, Emily Alyn Lind. Rated PG-13 for thematic material, violence, disturbing images, some nudity and sexual references. 107 min. [RF]

“SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE” (PG) 3 STARS

This movie is exciting, funny and heartfelt. More than that, it offers a sense of inclusion, with a superhero who’s both dark-skinned and Hispanic. And if that isn’t inclusive enough, eventually Spider-people arrive from other planets. One is even a little cartoon piglet. Rated PG for frenetic sequences of animated action violence, thematic elements, and mild language. 117 min. [MC, PV, MC]

—Rob Hedelt

Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415

rhedelt@freelancestar.com

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