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Gary Dowell

Professional film critic, journalist, Byronic hero.
Gary Dowell has written 532 posts for movie ink™

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

Movie review: “Murder on the Orient Express”

A hearty serving of “meh”, actor-director Kenneth Branagh’s workmanlike adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is diverting, crammed full of strong but unremarkable performances from an impressive ensemble cast, and mercifully short. It’s a fun ride, but there’s not enough steam in this engine for it to develop into anything memorable. However, the … Continue reading

Movie review: “Thor: Ragnarok”

Let’s face it: the God of Thunder has arguably been an outlier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, struggling to mesh with its more rounded pegs. Fortunately, with Thor: Ragnarok, writer-director-actor Taika Waititi (What We Do In the Shadows) wisely mines humor from the character’s inherent silliness and wraps it around an dazzling, offbeat core of … Continue reading

Movie review: “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”

Classical tragedy mixed with moderate sadism and Polanski-ish surrealism, upstart filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest test of audience endurance plays like Sophie’s Choice by way of the ‘burbs. Don’t let that description be deceptive — it may not be everyone’s proverbial cup of tea. Lanthimos (Dogtooth, The Lobster) builds his bizarre revenge tale around a heart surgeon, … Continue reading

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