Gary Dowell

Professional film critic, journalist, Byronic hero.
Gary Dowell has written 535 posts for movie ink™

Movie review: “Pacific Rim Uprising”

Steven S. DeKnight’s sequel to Guillermo Del Toro’s 2013 love letter to anime and kaiju movies is more coherent than a Transformers movie but not much smarter, Pacific Rim Uprising is at its best when it drops all pretenses and focuses on giant CGI robots fighting giant CGI monsters. The actual flesh-and-blood characters are paper … Continue reading

Movie review: “A Wrinkle in Time”

A mixed bag at best, Ave DuVernay’s (Selma) adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic young adult novel hammers home its (still) powerful message of individuality over conformity while combining it with a potent “girls rule” empowerment message. On the downside, it does so with blunt force under a crushing wave of eye-candy and mediocre technique. Considering … Continue reading

Movie review: “Annihilation”

Beautifully executed though thematically murky, Alex Garland’s (Ex Machina) adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s best-seller novel is an exercise in psychedelia and cinematic dissonance. Though not as existentially unnerving as Ex Machina, it’s one of the most ambitious head movies ever made, laced with trace elements of Carpenter’s The Thing and Tartovsky’s Stalker, with a little … Continue reading

Movie review: “Black Panther”

No good run lasts forever, and after 18 movies produced during the past 10 years, any movie studio would be long overdue for bomb or two. Sorry, haters: Black Panther is not Marvel’s. In fact, it represents another big step forward in content and quality, and ranks among their best to date. Director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale … Continue reading

Movie review: “Pitch Perfect 3”

If anybody actually asked for another Pitch Perfect movie, then they absolutely deserve what they got: a tone-deaf three-quel more thinly plotted than a grade-school revival of The Music Man as produced by Terrence Malick. The first installment a surprise hit that coasted on a novel combination of savvy music design and an affable cast … Continue reading

Movie review: “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”

Much like the under-appreciated Zathura: A Space Adventure, writer-director Jake Kasdan’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a spiritual sequel to Joe Johnston’s 1995 classic Jumanji, rather than a reboot or a remake. It pays mild homage to its predecessor while charting its own course with a solid, if obvious, spin on the premise. It’s a pleasant … Continue reading

Movie review: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Fans who felt that The Force Awakens played it safe or skewed too close to the original Star Wars films will find much to like about The Last Jedi — if they go into it with an open mind and willingness to step into uncharted terrain. There’s a moment in the trailer (and also the … Continue reading

Movie review: “The Shape of Water”

It’s a classic romantic premise: star-crossed lovers from different worlds meet cute, fall in love, and struggle to be together in a world intent on keeping them apart. Granted, the star-crossed lovers in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water are a mute cleaning woman and a fish-man, but whatever — it still works. Leave it … Continue reading

Movie review: “Darkest Hour”

Darkest Hour is one of those rare biopics that, for the most part, breaks free of formula to deliver an intriguing portrait of a complex and controversial figure. Similar to Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady, it pins its hopes on its central performance (by Gary Oldman at his chameleonic best). Whereas that film tried to … Continue reading

Movie review: “Justice League”

It’s truly difficult to not pity the beleaguered Justice League movie. The long-awaited comic book team-up flick arrives with low expectations thanks to the twin dumpster fires of Batman V. Superman and Suicide Squad, plopped down in the combined shadows of the half-dozen or so other, better comic books flicks that dominated the year. It’s … Continue reading

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