NOW PLAYING REVIEWS: The Grudge (2020)

The answer is none.

Question: which new wide release movie is recommended to watch in the theaters this week?

Week #1 of 2020 1/3/2020 only has one movie and despite it being one of my favorite genres: horror, it cannot be recommended.

The Grudge (2020)⭐️⭐️

I’m not even recommending you see it when available on streaming. Just save yourself the pain and see something else. Is it really that bad? Unless you like watching a bunch of jumpscares, yeah, it’s that bad.

Neither of us were jumpscared into excitement and yes, we’re kinda holding a grudge.

Hey, if you want to see an awesome horror movie and haven’t yet seen yet (available to stream on Amazon Prime Video as of 1/3/2020) ….

A Quiet Place ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 

I just saw that and loved it! A Quiet Place 2 is coming in March 2020.

In fact, since doing this every week, this is the first week I have no new wide release movie theater recommendations.

Alas, we can’t leave you hanging, friendly readers. I’m going to recommend — again — last week’s recommendation:

Little Women ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Directed by Greta Gerwig, only her second effort since Lady Bird ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (also recommended, available on Amazon Prime as of 1/3/2020).

Want to see what else we recommend NOW PLAYING at the theater?

Here are other movies we’ve seen at the theater recently that are recommended. Any movie rated at least 3-stars is recommended. You should read any 3-star review (click the title), because sometimes they are qualified, meaning we were entertained, but maybe only recommend to certain moviegoer interests.

4-star movies are highly recommended to everyone and films rated 4.5 or 5 stars are must see.

  1. Ford v Ferrari ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ScreenX
  2. Little Women ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. Knives Out ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  4. Joker ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  5. Richard Jewell ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  6. Uncut Gems ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  7. Dark Waters ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  8. Last Christmas ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  9. Frozen II ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. Bombshell ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Happy movie watching to you!

NOW PLAYING REVIEWS: Little Women, Uncut Gems, Spies In Disguise

Week #52 at the box office 12/25/2019 and we’re treated to sisters growing up, a frantic sports gambling addict and an animated spy accidentally disguised as a penguin, so which one is best?

This is not how I expected this to turn out, but #1 is …

Little Women ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

What made this movie so special for me is how the story unfolds and is told. The narrative structure at first is disorienting, it bounces back and forth from present to flashback and moves between four sisters differing storylines. It should confuse, but by the ending of the movie it all seems the perfect way to tell this story.

On the way to the theater I recorded a video about my apprehension about the film based on the trailer.

My anticipation for this film was 2/10 … and then I actually saw the film and everything changed

After watching the film, see how I feel about it:

Go see Little Women. As I said in the video, it makes my top 10 list for 2019. A total surprise to me.

Next up is the movie I thought would be #1 for me this week. It was a film I looked most forward to seeing this week with Adam Sandler in a non-comedy, thriller role.

Uncut Gems ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 

And, finally, the least entertaining film of the three wide releases this weekend

Spies In Disguise ⭐️⭐️

Want to see what else we recommend NOW PLAYING at the theater?

Here are other movies we’ve seen at the theater recently (maybe they are available in your area still) that are recommended. Any movie rated at least 3-stars is recommended. You should read any 3-star review (click the title), because sometimes we do qualify those recommendations, meaning we were entertained, but it doesn’t mean that it was necessarily that good.

4-star movies are highly recommended and films we rate as 4 1/2 or 5 stars are must see.

  1. Ford v Ferrari ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ScreenX
  2. Little Women ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. Knives Out ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  4. Joker ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  5. Richard Jewell ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  6. Uncut Gems ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  7. Dark Waters ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  8. Last Christmas ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  9. Frozen II ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. Hold On ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  11. Bombshell ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  12. Black Christmas (2019) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Happy holidays and movie watching to you all!

NOW PLAYING REVIEWS: Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker, Cats, Bombshell

Week #51 at the box office 12/20/2019 and we’ve got singing felines, sexual harassment and a galaxy at peril, so who comes out on top?

#1 …

Bombshell ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I looked more forward to watching this movie about Roger Ailes sexual harassment while head of Fox News than the new Star Wars. It didn’t resonate quite as hoped for, but was still vastly better than either of the other two wide releases because at least it was a coherent story.

Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly? She looked incredible with the prosthetic makeup, but her voice imitation was off. Most of the time she spoke it didn’t seem like Megyn Kelly to me who has a very familiar voice with emphasis and pause.

The movie itself kind of wandered as it tried to make a meaningful story of three women who faced harassment by Ailes: Megyn Kelly (Theron), Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) who starts the complaint rolling when she’s fired and a fictional composite character named Kayla played by Margot Robbie.

Probably the standout character was the great John Lithgow, who was fattened up to look more like the late Roger Ailes and delivered his creepiness with disturbing subtlety.

It’s the only movie of the three screening wide that is recommended an d it is a soft recommendation.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ⭐️⭐️½ 

Rise and whine, it’s Star Wars time!

I don’t even know where to start with my level of disappointment in this movie. A story that attempts to do so much and yet doesn’t slow down and breathe enough to do any of it dramatically. It’s the last freaking movie in nine parts spanning 40+ years and this is what moviegoers get? It’s not an absolute travesty like The Last Jedi⭐️½ , but it misses mark set by The Force Awakens ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sigh.

Cats ½ 

This was easily the worst movie of 2019 that I’ve seen. Barely any story, song after song after song with hardly any dialogue with mostly the same boring — in front of the building — set, terribly fake CGI, dancing on obvious wires and bizarre singing cat people with music that isn’t very good.

Should have known from the trailer that this was headed toward bad, but didn’t realize how far off the cliff of telling any kind of meaningful this would plummet.

I’m not surprised others are reviewing this poorly. Here’s an idea, don’t make movies out of poems. I can see how it might make an OK play though, because of the lack of need for much in the way of set changes, bizarre costumes and endless stream of music. This is one where if you like the music — and I do like different genres of music besides good rock and roll (this movie has zero rock and roll) — you might find something a little different here than me.

Then again you also have to enjoy a movie devoid of any logical story, characterization or plot. I’ve never seen a musical that played out like this, like 97% music, dancing and song and 3% dialogue and story. Maybe the story is played through the music, but if the viewer can’t get into the music enough to try and focus on the lyrics, then it’s game over.

Want to see what else we recommend NOW PLAYING at the theater?

Here are other movies we’ve seen at the theater recently (maybe they are available in your area still) that are recommended. Any movie rated at least 3-stars is recommended. You should read any 3-star review (click the title), because sometimes we do qualify those recommendations, meaning we were entertained, but it doesn’t mean that it was necessarily that good.

4-star movies are highly recommended and films we rate as 4 1/2 or 5 stars are must see. NOTE: of all 2019 movies seen in theaters (over 55 movies since August 12, 2019), there have been no 4.5 or 5 star movies rated. Zero. Just hasn’t been anything either of us felt was that amazing. Am hoping there will be at least one before the end of the year .. but time is running out.

  1. Ford v Ferrari ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ScreenX
  2. Knives Out ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. Joker ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  4. Richard Jewell ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  5. Dark Waters ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  6. Last Christmas ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  7. Frozen II ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  8. Hold On ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  9. Bombshell ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. Black Christmas (2019) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

If new movie Bombshell doesn’t seem like the type of movie you’re interested in, maybe something else above is still playing that you haven’t seen and want to try. Especially anything toward the top of the list. Ford v Ferrari has 98% fresh score at Rotten Tomatoes from audiences. That’s higher than any other “new” movie screening right now that has a decent number of audience reviews.

The Aeronauts ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ started streaming on Amazon Prime. That’s recommended too.

NOW PLAYING REVIEWS: Richard Jewell, Black Christmas, Jumanji: The Next Level

Weekend #50 12/13/2019 is all about anti-climaxes.

First, we don’t get to watch either Uncut Gems (opens on Christmas Eve in our area) or Bombshell (opens next week in our area). Secondly, we get two fairly underwhelming sequels, one of which isn’t recommended, and another which is maybe recommended (read on!).

At least there is one star with a bit of a shine, and that film is this week’s #1 new film recommendation …

Richard Jewell ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

In case you didn’t know by now (I’ve mentioned this several times, so sorry for beating this legend of Hollywood home), Clint Eastwood is behind the camera and we get a tasty helping (again) of Kathy Bates playing a “momma” character like she did to Adam Sandler in The Waterboy. She is good, but it is silly to suggest she win an Oscar for her performance when it isn’t the first time she’s done this character.

Richard Jewell is our top pick for weekend #50 2019

My guess is the box office money is going to go first to the third film on our list, that isn’t recommended, but story-wise, Richard Jewell is the best of the lot.

Black Christmas (2019) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Am already catching crap for this one. Of course it’s from a man. I get it, this is a man-hater’s movie, so why should any man recommend it? You have to watch the video review and read my text review to understand this recommendation comes with all kinds of ifs and buts, but that’s the danger of a star rating. People want to make it personal when they dislike something a critic likes and vice versa.

This bears the name of the original, but it’s all about hating on men — literally and figuratively

Plenty of criticisms for this movie, including the terrible script and characterization, but saw seeds of ideas that had potential and were likable enough to say, consider it. It should never have been given the title it has, but is a better feminist movie than Charlie’s Angels (2019) ⭐️½. .

Jumanji: The Next Level ⭐️½ (ScreenX)

Caught this on Thursday night 12/12 in ScreenX format. Didn’t add much

ScreenX is not the best way to view this movie. Our guess is that this film will win the most box office sales crown this weekend, perhaps based on the strength of the first two movies, but neither Kara or I enjoyed this film. It just felt too sequel fatigued. Stick a fork in this franchise is what we think. If you liked this one, that’s awesome. I’m happy any time somebody loves a movie because they will encourage their friends and others to go see the movie. That’s good for theaters and there are always other movies at the multiplexes.

Want to see what else we recommend NOW PLAYING at the theater?

Here are other movies we’ve seen at the theater recently (maybe they are available in your area still) that are recommended. Any movie rated at least 3-stars is recommended. You should read any 3-star review (click the title), because sometimes we do qualify those recommendations, meaning we were entertained, but it doesn’t mean that it was necessarily that good.

4-star movies are highly recommended and films we rate as 4 1/2 or 5 stars are must see. NOTE: of all 2019 movies seen in theaters (over 55 movies since August 12, 2019), there have been no 4.5 or 5 star movies rated. Zero. Just hasn’t been anything either of us felt was that amazing. Am hoping there will be at least one before the end of the year .. but time is running out.

  1. Ford v Ferrari ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ScreenX
  2. Knives Out ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. The Good Liar ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  4. Joker ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  5. Richard Jewell ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  6. Dark Waters ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  7. Last Christmas ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  8. Frozen II ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  9. Hold On ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. Black Christmas (2019) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Don’t forget the butter on that popcorn! Have a great time at the movies.

NOW PLAYING REVIEWS: Playmobil The Movie, Dark Waters, Hold On

Weekend #49 at the movies, 12/6/19, only features a single wide release and, in our opinion, it’s a major stinker. Luckily, I caught up with two other movies that are playing in the theaters and …

#1 is …

Dark Waters ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

I had the wrong idea for this movie based on the previews thinking it would be like Erin Brokovich, and it is only tangentially at best related.

A learning experience about teflon in Dark Waters, as it focuses in a David vs. Goliath legal drama

An attorney deals with the stress of representing a farmer who reports chemicals dumped into the river near his house and it’s killing his cows. Enjoyed this one, but could have done without the very cliched suspense scene where a character is about to turn the key in the ignition of a car and is worried about a car bomb. Recommended.

Playmobil: The Movie ½

Playmobil: The Movie is a mess, not recommended

This movie is the worst we’ve seen in the theaters in 2019.

Whatever it seems to try it fails to do well. The music is terrible, the voice acting is cringe-worthy in spots. The script tries to do way too much, introducing a bunch of Playmobil toy characters, but it’s not like Toy Story where we get to know a lot of different toy personalities and they participate actively in the adventure, they are mostly just there to do something supposedly cool in a scene or two and then go away.

The basic storyline is two kids trapped in a toy world, separated, and trying to get back to each other. One is a viking but being a viking doesn’t really change what he does and the other is a girl who, well, could have been a girl with super powers, but no. So instead of spending most of our time in the narration following the viking, we follow the girl and some toy named Del driving a burrito truck. Can’t make this up.

Rex Dasher is the James Bond like spy character, and he’s one of the most annoying, unlikable toy characters in animation history, complete with a cliched signature sound where he constantly boasts that he is, “Rex Dasher!” Sigh.

I won’t even get into the whole pink haystack flying stuff … just found this movie to have potential squandered. Am seeing several other reviewers saying this is a pure ripoff of The LEGO movie. Didn’t see that one myself, but surely it’s believable. Avoid this movie.

Hold On ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Worth going just to listen to this woman sing — great stuff!

A singer who can’t catch a break — where is American Idol or The Voice for this lady? Her voice is fantastic — is noticed by a record store employee who happens to be the son of a big shot music producer. A good story but an ending that I totally didn’t buy. Still, recommended.

Want to see what else we recommend NOW PLAYING at the theater?

Here are other movies we’ve seen at the theater recently (maybe they are available in your area still) that are recommended. Any movie rated at least 3-stars is recommended. You should read any 3-star review (click the title), because sometimes we do qualify those recommendations, meaning we were entertained, but it doesn’t mean that it was necessarily that good. 4-star movies are highly recommended and films we rate as 4 1/2 or 5 stars are must see.

  1. Doctor Sleep ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  2. Ford v Ferrari ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ScreenX
  3. The Irishman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Netflix)
  4. Harriet ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  5. Knives Out ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  6. The Good Liar ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  7. Joker ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  8. Motherless Brooklyn ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  9. Dark Waters ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  10. Jojo Rabbit ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  11. Last Christmas ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  12. Frozen II ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  13. Parasite ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  14. Hold On ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Happy movie watching to you!

NOW PLAYING REVIEWS: Black and Blue, The Current War: Director’s Cut, Countdown, Dolemite Is My Name

Want to know what we recommend seeing this 10-25-2019 weekend #43 at the movies? We’ve watched all wide releases and some limited ones, including a film that opened on Netflix starring Eddie Murphy in his exciting return to an adult film role (yay!).

Black and Blue ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Familiar tale of good cop being chased down by a bunch of bad cops, but with the added technology of body cam as evidence. Entertaining, not amazing, but recommended.

Video Movie Review: Black and Blue by Todd, Joel and Kara of tjsnk

The Current War: Director’s Cut ⭐️⭐️½  – Not really a war, but a business battle over AC and DC current with George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison with a sprinkle of Nikola Tesla thrown in. Held interest, although serious reservations on the historical accuracy with the characterization. Just …. OK. Not recommended.

Video Movie Review: The Current War: Director’s Cut by Todd, Joel and Kara of tjsnk

Countdown ⭐️⭐️½  – Phone app that tells you to the second when you are going to die. Sure, who would download such an app except bored young adults at a party and, eventually, a nurse. Would have worked better as a short story in an anthology show, not a full-length movie. Not recommended.

Video Movie Review: Countdown by Todd and Kara

Dolemite Is My Name ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – My favorite movie this opening weekend is playing at home on Netflix. Eddie Murphy is back in an R-rated vehicle on the making of the movie Dolemite by Rudy Ray Moore. This is film gold, recommended!

Video Movie Review: Dolemite Is My Name starring Eddie Murphy

Recommended: Dolemite Is My Name (Netflix original), Black and Blue

What movies in the theaters have you seen?

Now Playing At Theaters: Top 10 Movies Ranked and Reviewed

The top 10 at the box office Oct 4-6, 2019 via Box Office Mojo

Thanks to the Regal Unlimited Plus plan that I signed up for on August 12, 2019 and Kara signed up for a week or so later, I’ve been able to see almost every movie that has come out since (and we’ve seen 60%+ together). Am keeping a running Regal Unlimited Movie List at Letterboxd as well.

27 different movies seen in the theater since August 12, 2019

Have actually seen 28 movies using the unlimited pass, because I watched Rambo: Last Blood twice. I am considering seeing Judy again as well and trying to get my wife to see, too, but she has a hangup seeing anything I’ve already seen.

The only movie in the current top 10 box office that neither of us have seen is WAR. It’s showing at one theater nearby, and plan to see it soon.

“And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, because there were no more worlds to conquer.” – Hans Gruber from Diehard

The only bummer thing so far about the Regal Unlimited plan is that there aren’t enough movies available to see. Once you’ve seen them all it is either go and see something another time, or just wait until the next Thursday or Friday for new movies to be released. This is typically a minimum of two new movies each week. This doesn’t line up with the total movies being released, but how many screenings are available in the Seattle/Tacoma area. I needed to attend an independent theater to see Judy on opening day.

Top 10 Now Playing In The Theaters Ranked and Reviewed
* both of us watched

  1. Judy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  2. Joker ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  3. *Rambo: Last Blood [4DX]⭐️⭐️⭐️½  
  4. Downton Abbey ⭐️⭐️⭐
  5. War ⭐️⭐️⭐
  6. *Good Boys ⭐️⭐️½ 
  7. *IT: Chapter Two ⭐️⭐️½
  8. A️bominable ⭐️⭐
  9. *Hustlers ⭐️½
  10. *Ad Astra ⭐️

Note: we typically only recommend seeing movies that are ranked at least three stars or better. However, you should judge for yourself what you want to see, not use anybody else’s opinion. Reviews are subjective based on a wide variety of factors. In our case, our review criteria is based on how entertained we were. We go to movies to be entertained. That means that sometimes we will like movies that others don’t. In some cases, maybe even movies that are universally panned we found to be entertaining.

As for professional critics? We tend to disagree with them more often than not. For example, Rambo: Last Blood was panned by the critics, but audiences, including us, enjoyed it and were entertained.

NOW PLAYING REVIEWS – Rambo: Last Blood, Downton Abbey, Villains, Ad Astra

Can’t decide what to watch now playing in the theaters? Step onto the escalator with us …

We watch and review — no spoilers — (almost) every movie that plays in the theater. Follow, like, this blog and our Letterboxd to receive daily movie reviews covering all genres.

NOW PLAYING AT THEATERS REVIEWS – Opened Week 9/20/2019 – RANKED
Click movie title to read the full review

  1. Rambo: Last Blood [4DX]⭐️⭐️⭐️½  – a savage, not for the squeamish revenge flick that finally sees iconic John Rambo going home and audiences are liking, critics are hating. Us? See in 4DX while you can!
  2. Downton Abbey ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – #1 in sales/popularity, #2 most entertaining covering what it is like for servants and the rich inside a mansion in the early 1900s. No tie required.
  3. Villains ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – oh yeah, we enjoyed this dark comedy update of two Bonney and Clyde types who stumble onto a very eccentric family.
  4. Ad Astra⭐️ – Brad Pitt stars in this artsy fartsy space exploration flick that is neat to stare at, wonder and analyze but not much fun to, well, watch.

We hope you always enjoy your time at the theaters. Remember, we review movies based on what entertains us (see our review criteria). Movies are there to entertain you. If you enjoy a movie that we did or didn’t, we think that’s great. Tell us what you loved or not in the comments, blog it, log it, like it.

Happy movie watching to you.