"Mary Poppins Returns"

Mary Poppins is back, still espousing frivolity and encouraging children to do dangerous, ill-advised activities such as attempting to jump the River Thames on an overloaded bicycle.

“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 because young Hailee Steinfeld works so well as a young girl who finds an unlikely robot friend. Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action violence. 113 min. [MC, PV, RF]

“DR. SEUSS’ THE GRINCH” (PG) 2.25 STARS

Though this much-loved Christmas story from Dr. Seuss looks more snazzy, detailed and glittery in this version from Illumination, it never quite captures the heart of the original animated TV movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Rated PG for brief rude humor. 86 min. [MC, PV, 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]

“INSTANT FAMILY” (PG-13) 2.75 STARS

This story of a couple adopting three children is moving, funny and downright touching at times. But the constant mixing of comic and serious moments shows how it can’t quite pick between drama and comedy. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual material, language, drug references. 119 min. [RF]

“MARY POPPINS RETURNS” (PG) 3 STARS

Thanks to Emily Blunt, who simply becomes 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]

“MORTAL ENGINES” (PG-13) 2.25 STARS

This film has a cool look, but precious little in the way of a story to flesh things out. With Peter Jackson (“Lord of the Rings”) involved in the project, this post-apocalyptic tale of mobile cities that war with each other lives up to the hype as a visual extravaganza. Rated PG-13 for sequences of futuristic violence and action. 128 min. [PV]

“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 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]

“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]

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

Give credit to the creative folks at Marvel and Sony Pictures. 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 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

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