FILM-VICE-REVIEW

Sam Rockwell portrays George W. Bush and Christian Bale portrays Dick Cheney in ‘Vice,’ a movie about old man Potter from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ becoming U.S. vice president.

“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. [PV, RF]

“A DOG’S WAY HOME” (PG) 2.25 STARS

It’s impossible to deny some of the appeal of this film that documents a cute dog’s dedication to travel 400 miles over several years to get back to the owner he’s separated from. But it’s been done better in many films that have come before, in ways that don’t include scary moments that will frighten children coming out to see this. Rated PG for thematic elements, some peril and language. 96 min. [MC, PV]

“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]

“IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK” (R) 3 STARS

This tale—based on a James Baldwin book—of a pregnant woman in Harlem whose fiancé gets jailed for a crime he likely didn’t commit finds power in its stylistic and intense approach. Rated R for language and some sexual content. 119 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]

“ON THE BASIS OF SEX” (PG-13) 3.25 STARS

This biopic of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg interestingly mixes the personality and life story of the lawyer from Brooklyn who changed the world for women. Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer are inspiring as Ginsburg and her husband, Martin, who is her partner in marriage and in the effort to expand women’s rights under the law. Rated PG-13 for some language and suggestive content. 120 min. [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

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]

“THE UPSIDE” (PG-13) 2 STARS

Though Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston have a few nice moments in this film about an unqualified guy who ends up caring for a paraplegic man, they’re not enough to carry this movie that can’t decide if it wants to be serious or funny. Rated PG-13 for suggestive content and drug use. 126 min. [MC, PV, RF]

“VICE” (R) 1.5 STARS

The story of Dick Cheney, who wielded immense power as vice president to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe. With Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Tyler Perry. Rated R for language, violent images. 132 min. [RF]

Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415

rhedelt@freelancestar.com

Load comments