2.5 star movies
Escape Room is an entertainingly cheesy and surprisingly innovative B-movie, but suffers when it turns its attention to setting up future sequels.
Mortal Engines has some terrific world design and visuals, but its uninspired narrative and ungainly filmmaking make for a hollow viewing experience.
Once Upon A Deadpool proves the foul-mouthed anti-hero can work in the confines of PG-13, but it only kind of works as a re-cut version of Deadpool 2.
Prodigy plays with some big ideas and heady themes, but doesn't fully develop all of them as it struggles to truly connect with audiences.
The Crimes of Grindelwald has its moments of wonder and delight, but gets bogged down in its efforts to build out the Fantastic Beasts franchise.
Outlaw King is buoyed by strong performances, by Chris Pine in particular, but David Mackenzie's swords-and-mud epic is too plodding to be exciting.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms has all the elements of an earnest holiday movie with family-friendly fun, but is less than the sum of its parts.
Prospect deserves credit for its ambitious vision and scope, but Earl and Caldwell's effort is undone by mediocre script and character work.
Despite a strong performance by Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody plays out as an excessively sanitized version of Queen's story, rather than a labor of love.
Silencio toys with fascinating ideas and sports some solid performances, but is ultimately dragged down by a mediocre narrative.
Goosebumps 2 lacks the charm and inventiveness of its predecessor, but still has a reasonable amount of spoopy entertainment value to offer.
A Simple Favor is a delightfully twisty psychological thriller with compelling performances, and much of Paul Feig's humor, but little substance.
The Predator aims to revitalize the sci-fi action franchise with fresh ideas, but succeeds at delivering mindless action more than cohesive mythology.
The Nun is a thinly-sketched Conjuring spinoff that's light on real scares, but offers enough stylish atmosphere to make up (some of) the difference.
The Darkest Minds is a solid enough dystopian sci-fi YA adaptation, elevated by Amandla Stenberg's performance, but it won't revive this film trend.
Teen Titans GO! To the Movies is solid entertainment for the kids, but it's undermined by a thin story that only scratches the surface.
The Equalizer 2 is an equally stylish sequel to Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington's action drama, but with fewer thrills and surprises.
The First Purge is as schlocky and ham-fisted as the Purge films before it, yet its political subtext justifies the franchise's continued existence.
Day of the Soldado is a competent thriller but, without the original Sicario's artistic flourishes and substance, it's somewhat forgettable.