As we enter spring alert for cinematic gemstones and stink bombs, here are 12 film reviews, each summarized in a single sentence. Films are rated on a scale from 0 (“The Dreaded Fist of Badness”) up to a “high 5,” an outstanding film you do not want to miss. Several smaller ones are lots of fun but two this month suffer the ultimate indignity: The Dreaded Fist of Badness.
Always happy to hear your thoughts, so here we go:
The Last Man on the Moon –3 fingers. An average documentary about a very interesting man—Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the lunar surface—misses its chance to get inside the mind of an eccentric astronaut with a maverick personality.
Eddie the Eagle – 4 fingers. A fun, happy, and inspiring story about British ski-jumping underdog Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, whose lack of talent was more than offset by a heart and determination as big as the ski jumps he slid down at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
The Witch – 2 fingers. A fresh take on an early American horror story tied to New England witch hunts, this bold effort suffers from a slow first act and substandard sound, which drag the film down despite its fine dramatic climax.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – 2 fingers. Tina Fey seems miscast in this bland, forgettable war drama about a bored and frustrated female desk reporter who volunteers to go from America to Afghanistan to cover the war.
10 Cloverland Lane – 4 fingers. A superb score, fantastic surprise twist, and an outstanding performance by John Goodman—who plays an intense survivalist who traps a pretty young woman and imprisons her underground—highlight this very entertaining terror film.
Zootopia – 5 fingers. Disney delivers big time with this wonderful family animation feature, a rollicking good time that is guaranteed to entertain from start to finish.
Eye in the Sky – 3 fingers. Strong performances from lead actors Helen Mirren and the late Alan Rickman highlight this taut British drama about the ethical arguments and the unwillingness of many in high places to authorize a drone strike that may cause innocent collateral damage in terrorist Somalia.
The Bronze – 0 fingers, The Dreaded Fist of Badness. A bad script, horrendous overacting, and dumb decision-making by the director torpedo a decent premise about a horny female has-been Olympic gymnast, sinking this mess to an instantly forgettable abyss of unwatchability.
Krisha – 5 fingers. This sad but powerful drama about an old woman volunteering to cook the family turkey at a tenuous Thanksgiving reunion grows stronger with every scene, especially when things don’t turn out quite as planned.
Hello, My Name is Doris – 4 fingers. Sally Field is absolutely fantastic as a spinster hoarder whose fantasies are ignited by a chance run-in with a dreamboat co-worker half her age on a tightly packed elevator.
Embrace of the Serpent – 4 fingers. A powerful and thought-provoking black-and-white subtitled drama about a solitary Amazonian rain forest native who serves as a river guide for foreign explorers at bookend stages of life, Embrace is based on a true events during the white man’s rubber tree money grab and slaughtering of indigenous natives.
Batman vs. Superman – O fingers, The Dreaded Fist of Badness. This ponderous disaster is easily one of the worst films of the year, if not the decade, and midway through the audience was hoping the two superheroes would team up to kill the director.
The golf courses are open by day, the movie theaters by night. Choose wisely and have fun at the movies.
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