Movies and TV

Paul Bettany, right, and Peter Macdissi are excellent in “Uncle Frank,” a cliché-packed melodrama.<ins> (Courtesy Amazon Studios)</ins>

‘Uncle Frank’ is both moving and clichéd

‘Zappa’ a sprawling doc about a unique rock artist

 

“The Croods: A New Age” is a pleasant sequel to 2013’s cartoon adventure about cave people. (Courtesy DreamWorks Animation)

New ‘Croods’ is colorful, comfy

But cartoon sequel is less funny than original

 

“Home for the Holidays,” starring, from left, Charles Durning, Holly Hunter and Anne Bancroft, is a quintessential Thanksgiving movie. <ins>(Courtesy Paramount)</ins>

15 great Thanksgiving movies (and one turkey) to watch at home

While many families won’t be getting together during this pandemic Thanksgiving holiday,…

 

Riz Ahmed, left, and Paul Raci are superb in the powerful “Sound of Metal.” <ins>(Courtesy Amazon Studios)</ins>

‘Sound of Metal’ tells an emotional story of deafness

Darius Marder’s debut feature has strong characters, performances

Riz Ahmed, left, and Paul Raci are superb in the powerful “Sound of Metal.” <ins>(Courtesy Amazon Studios)</ins>
Guy Pearce makes the most of a showy role in “The Last Vermeer.” <ins>(Courtesy Jack English/TriStar Pictures 2020 CTMG)</ins>

Guy Pearce elevates ‘Last Vermeer’

‘Born to Be’ sensitively documents transgender surgery

Guy Pearce makes the most of a showy role in “The Last Vermeer.” <ins>(Courtesy Jack English/TriStar Pictures 2020 CTMG)</ins>
East Bay Cake artist Mona Marwaha is among the contestants appearing on “Candy Land,” a reality competition based on the famous board game premiering at 9 p.m. Nov. 15. <ins>(Courtesy Food Network)</ins>

Fremont cake painter competes on Food Network

Mona Marwaha enjoyed everything about her ‘Candy Land’ experience

East Bay Cake artist Mona Marwaha is among the contestants appearing on “Candy Land,” a reality competition based on the famous board game premiering at 9 p.m. Nov. 15. <ins>(Courtesy Food Network)</ins>
Vince Vaughn, center, plays both a killer known as the Butcher and a high school student with whom he switches bodies, in “Freaky.”<ins>(Courtesy Brian Douglas/Universal)</ins>

Entertaining body-swapping ‘Freaky’ has scares and laughs

Gory flick with Friday the 13th release actually may calm some viewers

Vince Vaughn, center, plays both a killer known as the Butcher and a high school student with whom he switches bodies, in “Freaky.”<ins>(Courtesy Brian Douglas/Universal)</ins>
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, right, is prominently featured in Frederick Wiseman’s “City Hall.”
Courtesy photo

Frederick Wiseman brings Boston to life in ‘City Hall’

‘Irmi’ tells touching story of survival, resilience

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, right, is prominently featured in Frederick Wiseman’s “City Hall.”
Courtesy photo
Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo appear in “Come Away,” directed by Brenda Chapman. (Courtesy Hilary B. Gayle/SMPSP/Maginot Line, LLC)

Brenda Chapman takes to live action in ‘Come Away’

New Alice-Peter Pan fantasy has 21st century family

Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo appear in “Come Away,” directed by Brenda Chapman. (Courtesy Hilary B. Gayle/SMPSP/Maginot Line, LLC)
“Ocean Station November,” a film about the Coast Guard rescue of passengers on a transatlantic flight that was forced to crash into the ocean in October 1956, is among the offerings in the free Veterans Film Festival. (Courtesy photo)

Ninth Veterans Film Festival goes virtual

Free program designed to enlighten military members and civilians

“Ocean Station November,” a film about the Coast Guard rescue of passengers on a transatlantic flight that was forced to crash into the ocean in October 1956, is among the offerings in the free Veterans Film Festival. (Courtesy photo)
Nat Wolff plays a young man with special powers in “Mortal,” a film by Norwegian director André Øvredal. (Courtesy Saban Films)

‘Mortal’ a sci-fi fantasy with a deep, dark hero

Nat Wolff stars as a Norwegian-American with issues

Nat Wolff plays a young man with special powers in “Mortal,” a film by Norwegian director André Øvredal. (Courtesy Saban Films)
From left, Jack Lowden, Fiona Shaw and the excellent Tamara Lawrance star in “Kindred.” (Courtesy IFC Films)

Superb lead performance boosts creepy ‘Kindred’

‘Koko-Di Koko-Da’ an intriguing, sinister fantasy

From left, Jack Lowden, Fiona Shaw and the excellent Tamara Lawrance star in “Kindred.” (Courtesy IFC Films)
Jules Porier, left, and Marta Nieto appear in Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s intriguing “Madre.” (Courtesy Strand Releasing)

‘Madre’ a dark and buoyant psychological drama

‘Us Kids’ details rising anti-gun violence youth movement

Jules Porier, left, and Marta Nieto appear in Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s intriguing “Madre.” (Courtesy Strand Releasing)
Gillian Jacobs, left, and Azhy Robertson are good in the effective horror flick “Come Play.” (Courtesy Amblin/Focus Features)

Solid scares in ‘Come Play’

Impressive, well-made monster story is about loneliness

Gillian Jacobs, left, and Azhy Robertson are good in the effective horror flick “Come Play.” (Courtesy Amblin/Focus Features)
“Tenet,” the new Christopher Nolan film starring John David Washington, is showing at the drive-in in Concord. (Courtesy Warner Bros.)

Drive-ins are popping up all over the Bay Area

There are pandemic-era options for movie lovers who want to watch outdoors

  • Oct 23, 2020
“Tenet,” the new Christopher Nolan film starring John David Washington, is showing at the drive-in in Concord. (Courtesy Warner Bros.)
Octavia Spencer is delightful as the grandmother in “The Witches.” (Courtesy HBO Max)

‘The Witches’ is slight, bright Halloween entertainment

New take on Roald Dahl novel not quite comparable to Roeg’s version

Octavia Spencer is delightful as the grandmother in “The Witches.” (Courtesy HBO Max)
Rashida Jones and Bill Murray star in the delightful “On the Rocks.”<ins> (Courtesy A24)</ins>

‘On the Rocks’ a poetic, joyful screwball comedy

Sofia Coppola’s latest serves up laughter, warmth

Rashida Jones and Bill Murray star in the delightful “On the Rocks.”<ins> (Courtesy A24)</ins>
Jamie Dornan, left, and Anthony Mackie make the most of their roles in “Synchronic.” (Courtesy Rustic Films)

Sci-fi adventure ‘Synchronic’ looks good, but lacks originality

New Orleans-set time-travel thriller could be sharper

Jamie Dornan, left, and Anthony Mackie make the most of their roles in “Synchronic.” (Courtesy Rustic Films)
Documentarian Judith Ehrlich’s “The Boys Who Said No!” about young people who actively resisted the Vietnam War screens Oct. 25, closing the United Nations Association Film Festival. (Courtesy photo)

United Nations Association Film Festival offers big slate of human rights documentaries

11 days of programs showcase international films focusing on social justice

Documentarian Judith Ehrlich’s “The Boys Who Said No!” about young people who actively resisted the Vietnam War screens Oct. 25, closing the United Nations Association Film Festival. (Courtesy photo)
Liam Neeson makes an action hero soulful in the new “Honest Thief.” <ins>(Courtesy Open Road Films)</ins>

Liam Neeson’s primal in breezy ‘Honest Thief’

Acting veteran’s found his niche in action movies

Liam Neeson makes an action hero soulful in the new “Honest Thief.” <ins>(Courtesy Open Road Films)</ins>