Sonny Bunch

‘Rocketman’ Review

Big screen jukebox musical an enjoyably chaotic mess

A friend described Bohemian Rhapsody, last year’s Oscar-winning biopic about Freddie Mercury of Queen, as “like [watching] someone reading the Wikipedia article on Queen out loud.” The description has stuck with me because it’s so succinct and so accurate and so damning. It’s not that Bohemian Rhapsody was bad—though it was definitely bad—so much as that it was utterly and confoundingly boring.

‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ Review

A tribute to the franchise that most closely approximated what it's like to read comic books

Dark PhoenixNow that 21st Century Fox has become the property of Disney, one imagines that the nearly 20-year-old X-Men franchise will be rebooted* and integrated into the stunningly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe at some point in the next few years. It may be worth taking a moment, then, to pay tribute to the series of films that most closely approximated what it's like to read comic books.

‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ Review

It's got monsters punching each other, what more do you people want?

Godzilla: King of MonstersHere are some things that Godzilla: King of the Monsters has. It has a giant lizard and a giant moth and a giant fire bird and a giant three headed snake-dog.

‘Aladdin’ Review

Utterly unnecessary, but not charmless

AladdinAs someone who was expecting to hate Aladdin, allow me to say right off the bat: I didn't hate Aladdin.

‘Detective Pikachu’ Mini-Review

I don't get it. I mean, I get Detective Pikachu. The movie, that is. It's not complicated, basically one part noir, one part cartoon, about a young man trying to figure out who killed his father, and why: a sillier Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, perhaps. I could talk about Justice Smith's underwhelming performance as Tim Goodman or Ryan Reynolds's amusing-but-tiring shtick as the voice of the titular yellow catlike Pokemon whose powers involve lightning, I think (it's never really explained). Or about how something feels just a hair off with the computer animation; there's an unreality when Tim pats Pikachu's head, his hand seems to be resting just above it.

‘Shadow’ Review

Shakespearean Chinese martial arts epic takes a little while to get going

ShadowShadow, the new action epic from Chinese director Zhang Yimou, is a bit slow to get rolling and likely inscrutable, politically, to the average American. Yet what it lacks in immediate gratification it makes up for in visual spectacle: from the set design to the action choreography to the costuming, Shadow is sumptuous and sensuous throughout.

‘Under the Silver Lake’ Review

Meandering, Pynchonian, noir-ish critique of mass culture and modernity

Under the Silver LakeUnder the Silver Lake is the sort of movie I'm a sucker for. Overly ambitious and densely plotted and stuffed to the brim with ideas about modernity and pop culture and the meaning of it all, David Robert Mitchell's follow up to the critically acclaimed It Follows never quite coheres into something solid enough to grapple with.