Does ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’ work? Humbug.

“The Man Who Invented Christmas” – Ask any American 6-year-old who invented Christmas.  Depending upon the household, Santa or Jesus would probably be the response, but director Bharat Nalluri and screenwriter Susan Coyne offer a third name. Charles Dickens. Dickens?  Well, the man did write A Christmas Carol in 1843, and his transcendent story has warmly struck jolly and merry nerves over the last 174 years.  In the television/film age, many, many producers have jumped on this particular holiday bandwagon.  Just look at the “Adaptations of ‘A Christmas Carol’” Wikipedia…

‘Justice League’ team chemistry tops some muddled special effects, lackluster villain

“Justice League” – There is no “I” in team. When confronted by a selfish player, a coach may use that sports proverb to help illustrate that looking out for No. 1 may prove fatal to the team’s success.  Now, if the team has one, some or a collection of self-centered basketball, baseball, football, volleyball, soccer, or insert-your-sport-here players, the end result could be a lost game or perhaps, a lost season. In the movies, an individual superhero might not be self-regarding, but he or she may just not be capable…

Tremblay, Roberts and Wilson kindly deliver in ‘Wonder’

“Wonder” – Be kind. Auggie (Jacob Tremblay) walks with his parents – Isabel (Julia Roberts) and Nate (Owen Wilson) – towards Beecher Prep for his first day of middle school, and he is terrified.  Sure, middle school can be terrifying for just about any kid.  Think back to your years during that preadolescent and adolescent brew of confusion mixed with caste systems of rumors, doubt and Darwinism that distract from the primary tasks at hand: reading, writing and arithmetic. His future schoolwork does not concern him, but the potentially toxic…

Leo and Qualley shine during a dim view of the ‘Novitiate’

“Novitiate” – Cathleen (Margaret Qualley) is 17 years old and in love.  She is in love with God.  Conversely, her mom, Nora (Julianne Nicholson), never embraced religion and does not quite understand her daughter’s love and faith.  Soon, everything that Nora knows – her own faith in a sense – becomes severely tested.  Cathleen joins a convent, Sisters of Beloved Rose, to become a nun, and Nora believes that she is too young to make this decision. Faith and coming-of-age rise as the two primary themes in writer/director Margaret Betts’s…

Looking back at ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ director Taika Waititi’s movie catalog

On Friday, Nov. 3, “Thor: Ragnarok” invades theatres, and this latest installment in the Marvel Universe delivers spectacular thrills and oodles and oodles of laughs. (3.5/4 stars)  In fact, one could easily label it as a comedy, instead of an action-adventure, comic book film without an ounce of grief from anyone.   Credit the actors, including Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, and Jeff Goldblum.   Tessa Thompson and Cate Blanchett hop on the comedy train as well, and the film’s overall tone matches its director Taika Waititi. Waititi is no stranger…

‘The Square’ marvelously carries bizarre and hilarious edges

“The Square” – Do you enjoy modern art?   Modern art can offer fascinating trips into extraordinary visions, kooky madness, fashionable imagery turned on its head, and much more.  Walk into a modern art museum, and one might find neon orange cubes that turn purple and then back to their original color every 30 seconds or so.  In another room, one could spot repeated portraits of Sophia Loren layered with newspaper and paraded on the walls, and the adjacent corridor may house an oil painting splashed by one thousand hues and…