Jeffrey M. Anderson

Israel Broussard and Jessica Rothe star in “Happy Death Day 2U.” (Courtesy Michele K. Short/Universal Pictures)

‘Happy Death Day 2U’ a scrappy sequel with character appeal

“Happy Death Day,” which could be described as “Groundhog Day”-meets-”Scream,” shouldn’t have…

Israel Broussard and Jessica Rothe star in “Happy Death Day 2U.” (Courtesy Michele K. Short/Universal Pictures)
Liam Neeson’s performance in “Cold Pursuit” defies expectations. (Courtesy Doane Gregory)

‘Cold Pursuit’ is a surprisingly thoughtful dark comedy

Notwithstanding reports about Liam Neeson’s racist comments about wanting to kill a…

Liam Neeson’s performance in “Cold Pursuit” defies expectations. (Courtesy Doane Gregory)
Wyldstyle and Emmet are among the amusing characters in “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.” (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)

‘Lego Movie 2’ still clicks satisfyingly into place

Released in 2014, “The Lego Movie” was a delightful animated surprise --…

Wyldstyle and Emmet are among the amusing characters in “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.” (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)
Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway can’t save the unsatisfying “Serenity.” (Courtesy Graham Bartholomew/ Aviron Pictures)

‘Serenity’ is a fishing-boat film noir turned sideways

“Serenity” starts like a traditional film noir, glossy and heated, with a…

Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway can’t save the unsatisfying “Serenity.” (Courtesy Graham Bartholomew/ Aviron Pictures)
Director Karyn Kusama, left, and Nicole Kidman consult on the set of “Destroyer.” (Courtesy Annapurna Pictures)

Karyn Kusama discusses ‘Destroyer’s’ physical, moral challenges

Although 2018 included remarkable cinematic achievements by women, Karyn Kusama’s extraordinary, haunting…

Director Karyn Kusama, left, and Nicole Kidman consult on the set of “Destroyer.” (Courtesy Annapurna Pictures)
Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski says the characters in "Cold War" are inspired by his parents, but not his parents. (Courtesy Amazon Studios)

Pawel Pawlikowski follows ‘Ida’ with dynamic black-and-white ‘Cold War’

In 2015, Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski won the Oscar for Best Foreign…

Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski says the characters in "Cold War" are inspired by his parents, but not his parents. (Courtesy Amazon Studios)
From left, Taylor Russell, Jay Ellis, Logan Miller and Tyler Labine play folks under pressure in “Escape Room.” (Courtesy David Bloomer/Sony Pictures)

‘Escape Room’ tantalizes both brains and brawn

True cineastes know that January movies are generally unwanted castoffs, the riffraff…

From left, Taylor Russell, Jay Ellis, Logan Miller and Tyler Labine play folks under pressure in “Escape Room.” (Courtesy David Bloomer/Sony Pictures)
Jason Momoa and Amber Heard star in “Aquaman,” a middling selection from the DC Extended Universe. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)

‘Aquaman’: Moments of fun, but too long and explosive

The sixth in the DC Extended Universe movie franchise, “Aquaman” is fun,…

Jason Momoa and Amber Heard star in “Aquaman,” a middling selection from the DC Extended Universe. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)
Armie Hammer and Felicity Jones play Marty and Ruth Ginsburg in “On the Basis of Sex.” (Courtesy Jonathan Wenk/ Focus Features)

Armie Hammer steps into RBG’s husband’s shoes in ‘On the Basis of Sex’

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has evolved into a role…

Armie Hammer and Felicity Jones play Marty and Ruth Ginsburg in “On the Basis of Sex.” (Courtesy Jonathan Wenk/ Focus Features)
Barry Jenkins and KiKi Layne work on the set of “If Beale Street Could Talk.” (Courtesy Tatum Mangus/Annapurna Pictures)’

‘Moonlight’-maker Jenkins follows Oscar win with elegant ‘Beale Street’

Barry Jenkins, whose glorious “Moonlight” won three Academy Awards including best picture,…

Barry Jenkins and KiKi Layne work on the set of “If Beale Street Could Talk.” (Courtesy Tatum Mangus/Annapurna Pictures)’
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” has great animation and a real story, too. (Courtesy Sony Pictures Animation)

‘Into the Spider-Verse’ amazing, spectacular, astonishing

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is an animated film -- not part of…

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” has great animation and a real story, too. (Courtesy Sony Pictures Animation)
Ella Hunt and Malcolm Cumming appear in “Anna and the Apocalypse.” (Courtesy Orion Pictures)

Holiday horror musical ‘Anna’ deceptively packs emotion

Melding genres that don’t ordinarily mix can sometimes provide great inspiration. There…

Ella Hunt and Malcolm Cumming appear in “Anna and the Apocalypse.” (Courtesy Orion Pictures)
Rachel Weisz, left, and Olivia Colman are very good in “The Favourite.” (Courtesy Yorgos Lanthimos/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

Wicked, funny ‘Favourite’ overstays its welcome

Greek-born filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos’ cinematic worlds -- in “Dogtooth,” “The Lobster” and…

Rachel Weisz, left, and Olivia Colman are very good in “The Favourite.” (Courtesy Yorgos Lanthimos/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)
Willem Dafoe’s performance in “Eternity’s Gate” outweighs that of other great actors who have portrayed Vincent van Gogh. (Courtesy CBS Films)

‘Eternity’s Gate’ a challenging portrait of Vincent Van Gogh

Movies about painters, from “Pollock” to “Frida” to “Girl with the Pearl…

Willem Dafoe’s performance in “Eternity’s Gate” outweighs that of other great actors who have portrayed Vincent van Gogh. (Courtesy CBS Films)
From left, Yoo Ah-in, Jeon Jong-seo and Steven Yeun star in “Burning,” based on a short story by Haruki Murakami. (Courtesy Well Go Entertainment)

Lee Chang-dong’s enigmatic ‘Burning’ intrigues

The mysterious, entrancing “Burning,” the latest from South Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong…

From left, Yoo Ah-in, Jeon Jong-seo and Steven Yeun star in “Burning,” based on a short story by Haruki Murakami. (Courtesy Well Go Entertainment)
Rosamund Pike and Matthew Heineman work on the set of “A Private War,” the story of correspondent Marie Colvin, who died on the job in Syria in 2012. (Courtesy Paul Conroy/Aviron Pictures)

Rosamund Pike brings reporter Marie Colvin to life in ‘A Private War’

In “A Private War,” Rosamund Pike gives a committed, convincing performance as…

Rosamund Pike and Matthew Heineman work on the set of “A Private War,” the story of correspondent Marie Colvin, who died on the job in Syria in 2012. (Courtesy Paul Conroy/Aviron Pictures)
Rami Malek is great as rock icon Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” (Nick Delaney/Twentieth Century Fox)

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’: Another biopic bites the dust

Telling the story of Freddie Mercury and Queen, the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody”…

Rami Malek is great as rock icon Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” (Nick Delaney/Twentieth Century Fox)
Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant star in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (Courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Richard E. Grant among many Melissa McCarthy worshipers

Richard E. Grant is a great character actor with a long list…

Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant star in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (Courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures)
From left, Jon Hamm, Jeff Bridges and Cynthia Erivo appear in “Bad Times at the El Royale.” (Courtesy Kimberley French/Twentieth Century Fox)

‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ falls flat

Drew Goddard’s “Bad Times at the El Royale” is set at the…

From left, Jon Hamm, Jeff Bridges and Cynthia Erivo appear in “Bad Times at the El Royale.” (Courtesy Kimberley French/Twentieth Century Fox)
From left, Russell Hornsby, Regina Hall, Amandla Stenberg and  Common appear in “The Hate U Give.” (Courtesy Erika Doss/20th Century Fox)

Spreading the love on ‘The Hate U Give’

“The Hate U Give,” a forward-thinking drama of racial identity filled with…

From left, Russell Hornsby, Regina Hall, Amandla Stenberg and  Common appear in “The Hate U Give.” (Courtesy Erika Doss/20th Century Fox)