Stooges sling sillies in solid ‘Stuber’

Images courtesy — oh, god damn it! Images courtesy Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

8/10 Stuber is so heavily composed of tropes that it would be barley intelligible outside the context of its genre, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In this case, the movie needles its strict buddy comedy confines while also giving a great cast room to shine.

In Stuber, Los Angeles detective Vic Manning (Dave Bautista) loses his partner Sarah Morris (Karen Gillan) in the ill-advised attempted arrest of dangerous drug trafficker Oka Teijo (Iko Uwais). Six months later, Manning gets tipped off that Teijo is about to make a major drop, but this comes a few hours after Manning has major eye surgery. Unable to drive himself downtown, he summons an Uber driven by down-on-his luck retail worker Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) and essentially kidnaps him for a last-minute investigation that takes them all across the greater Los Angeles area. Along the way, Manning forces Stu to confront his lack of integrity.

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Low-rent ‘Crawl’ doesn’t live up to spectacular story

Scodelario’s performance also leaves something to be desired, though I’m much more inclined to blame editor Elliot Greenberg based on some of the ways it comes out. Images courtesy Paramount Pictures.

6/10 Despite a ton of talent behind and in front of the camera, Crawl ends up not being worthy of its wonderful story.

As a category five hurricane prepares to march straight up the middle of Florida, University of Florida swim team member Haley Keller (Kaya Scodelario) drives two hours south, toward the storm, to make sure her estranged father Dave (Barry Pepper) has actually evacuated. She finds him in the crawlspace of her childhood home, passed out from blood loss after being attacked by an alligator that had nested in the drain pipes. As the storm hits and the neighborhood begins to flood, the Kellers must fight their way up the house, which is quickly filling with both water and more alligators, in hope of finding rescue on the roof.

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‘Midsommar’ a top-level work, disturbing in several ways

The strange architecture of Hårga, particularly the bright yellow temple too sacred for most characters to enter, subtly haunts from the background. Images courtesy A24.

9/10 Midsommar is such a strong example of film craft, is so viscerally affecting and executes its ideas with such commitment that it can only be seen as a masterpiece, but that isn’t to say it’s perfect.

Near the summer solstice, anthropology graduate students Christian Hughes (Jack Reynor), Josh (William Jackson Harper) and Mark (Will Poulter) join their Swedish classmate Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) on a trip to his home in Hårga, Sweden, to observe the remote commune’s midsummer festival. At the last minute, Hughes’ girlfriend Dani Ardor (Florence Pugh) joins the trip. Hughes has wanted to break up with Ardor for several months but was delayed when her sister killed their parents and herself in the winter, an incident which has left Ardor suffering multiple panic attacks daily. At the festival, the group is plied with a wide variety of psychedelics and then plunged into a Wicker Man/Cannibal Holocaust nightmare that’s all wrapped up in Ardor’s and Hughes’ relationship strife.

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‘Far From Home’ puts Spider-Man front and center of MCU

Worst secret identity ever. Images courtesy Sony Pictures Releasing.

7/10 Is Spider-Man: Far From Home good as an individual, stand-alone movie? Eh, who cares.

After going toe-to-toe with Captain America, being shot into outer space and turned into dust by a weirdly hot wannabe-nihilist with a scrotum on his face, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) briefly puts down the mantle of Spiderman to go on a school trip abroad, where he hopes to hit on his weirdly hot wannabe-nihilist classmate, MJ (Zendaya). His romantic ambitions are held back by giant, elemental-themed monsters from World of Warcraft that just keep showing up wherever he goes. The elemental monsters are easily defeated by Magic Man from Adventure Time (Jake Gyllenhaal), and Parker has neither the interest nor the realistic ability to help, but SHIELD director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) insists on keeping him around, telling Parker he’s “the new Tony Stark.”

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‘Yesterday’ not the Beatles movie you were looking for, still quite thoughtful

Images courtesy Universal Pictures.

7/10 If you came in looking for a Beatles party, Yesterday will disappoint, but do stick around for the movie’s thoughtful story and a menacing performance from Kate McKinnon.

In Yesterday, struggling musician Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is about to go back to teaching when, in an unexplained freak event, the power blinks off all around the world. When it comes back, Malik discovers he is the only one in the world who remembers the music of The Beatles. Malik plagiarizes the quartet’s legendary tunes, and as his star rises, he must leave his manager and longtime love interest Ellie Appleton (Lily James) for “the poison chalice of wealth and success” offered by bigshot manager Debra Hammer (McKinnon).

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