Reel-View Ratings: The Bigger The Beard, The Better The Movie



The great wars of the 20th century — both hot and cold, as it were — never cease to be compelling cinematic fare. Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies dramatizes the story of lawyer and negotiator James Donovan, who defended Soviet spy Rudolf Abel in court and later negotiated the exchange of Abel for two American prisoners. Allusions to the grayer nuances of modern-day warfare linger throughout the film, and Spielberg’s story is almost old-fashioned in its straightforward characters and morals. It’s beautifully shot and brilliantly acted — Tom Hanks is a given, but the lesser-known Mark Rylance surprises — and it’d be perfect if it were just a tad less preachy.

Opens Oct. 16 in wide release

901718 - Goosebumpsmeh


There’s a lot going on in Goosebumps. The first tip off that there may be too much is in the title: Goosebumps — as in all of them, an entire series’ worth of monsters and kid-friendly spooky tales crammed in about two hours. This Jack Black vehicle imagines R.L. Stine as author and literal gatekeeper of the monstrous stories he tells, which naturally all escape their bookly bindings to wreak havoc, all at once. In a whirlpool of subpar CG and way-too-much-happening-all-time chase scenes, there are glimpses of a sensible, funny film, but then away they go again, lost in the monster mash. Children might still enjoy it, but really? Just read the books.

Opens Oct. 16 in wide release



The gleeful colorgasm of Takashi Murakami’s art does not translate to his first feature film. This dull and redundant flick follows little Masashi, a lonely boy with a floating jellyfish F.R.I.E.N.D. (they’re kind of like Pokemon, for lack of a better parallel). Eventually, somehow, there’s a plot to use the emotions of children to ruin the world, but it is foiled (of course). Murakami’s monster designs are charming, but nothing ever clicks in this film. The children are not endearing. The monsters seem uncanny most of the time, and not in a good way (the CG isn’t exactly great). The plot meanders. It’s not fun.

Plays at 4 p.m. Oct. 17 and 1 p.m. Oct. 23 at Doris Duke Theatre