This fall shapes up as a battle of reality vs. fantasy. The reality is a movie industry that continues to unlearn lessons never easily learned in Hollywood: how to create and simultaneously point stockholders toward new work, new intellectual properties, new storytelling for a sustainable future.

When actress Maria Bello visited the West African nation of Benin in 2015, she learned the history of the Agojie, an all-female military regiment from the Kingdom of Dahomey (and the inspiration for Wakanda’s Dora Milaje from “Black Panther”). Recognizing the cinematic potential for this sto…

Back in 2007, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez tapped an up-and-coming genre filmmaker, Edgar Wright, to make a parody trailer for a fake movie to play between their “Grindhouse” double feature. Wright came up with “Don’t,” in which a gravelly voice intones, “If you are thinking of goi…

Idris Elba is going to test his box-office appeal as a lead in a big, brawny thriller with the upcoming film "Beast," in which he plays a dad protecting his two teenage daughters from a rampaging lion in South Africa.

It’s August, which means it’s hot, and if you’re not spending your time in an actual swimming pool, you may want to beat the heat with movies about swimming pools. Luckily, there are some great ones to suggest.

In “Nope,” writer/director Jordan Peele presents us with a big, shiny summer blockbuster — a cowboys and aliens riff built from the DNA of sci-fi spectacles of yore — and then proceeds to vivisect the very notion of a summer blockbuster before our eyes. He wants us to question the nature of …

We could all use a little escapism right now, especially when the escapism in question is as exceedingly pleasant as Anthony Fabian’s “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris,” starring the luminous Lesley Manville as a cleaning lady from London who takes a trip to Paris to see about a frock. It’s not jus…

When the aliens finally invade, they will find the vestiges of our Minions-based civilization and wonder just what the hell happened here. Having lived through it, I could not possibly begin to explain just how these hot dog-shaped, banana-hued, gibberish-speaking overlords came to infiltrat…

Disney has made big business mining content from content, with spinoffs and sequels and multiverses dancing through multiplexes and streaming apps. “Lightyear,” the latest Disney/Pixar animated film, has been extracted from the much-beloved “Toy Story” universe, but it’s a bit unique. It’s s…

Nostalgia as escapism is ubiquitous. But what if nostalgia could be a force for good? Not an inelegant poke in the dopamine receptors, but rather, transcendent, even galvanizing, as it is in the case of Joseph Kosinski’s “Top Gun: Maverick,” a legacy sequel that that allows the viewer to lux…

LOS ANGELES — It was the slap heard round the world, or at least among the dwindling population of TV viewers who still bother to watch the Oscars. Will Smith's hand connected with Chris Rock's face during a live broadcast of the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday evening, an awards show that pro…

Fall movies are a thing, winter movies are definitely a thing, but spring movies? Spring is a distinctive season — not my favorite, but hey, we all do our own thing — and it’s a little harder to pin down as a distinctive movie look. What is a spring movie, really, but a summer movie with a l…

How charming is “The Lost City”? So charming that the villain is played by Daniel Radcliffe. So charming that it leaves you wondering why nobody has asked Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum to host the Oscars, or make an “Ocean’s 8” sequel in which he’s the mark, or team up for a series of PS…

Leonard (Mark Rylance), the proprietor of the finest bespoke suiting shop in 1956 Chicago, wants to make one thing very clear: he’s not a tailor, he’s a cutter. “Anyone with a needle and thread can call themselves a tailor,” he sniffs. No, Leonard trained for years on legendary Savile Row in…

Maybe by the end of 2022 we can hit the multiplexes without masks? In the meantime, here are some cinematic offerings in the new year that might make it worth heading to the theaters. Dates are, perhaps more than ever in this still-pandemicked world, subject to change; streaming dates, where…

Thanks to the pandemic, all of us spent a good chunk of 2021 — maybe even all of it — not able to see the newest movies in theaters. So while I saw and reviewed a decent handful of movies, particularly in the past few months, it really wasn’t enough to make a “Top 10” list meaningful. But le…

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a holiday fixture now but that was not true at first. Movie fans did not always think the classic — No. 20 on the American Film Institute’s list of the best movies ever made and 75 years old this week — was so wonderful.

There is only one word to describe Steven Spielberg’s remake/revival of “West Side Story”: dazzling. As Janusz Kaminski’s wildly liberated camera swirls around the flying limbs of the Sharks, Jets and everyone caught in the middle, set to the familiar strains of Leonard Bernstein’s music, th…

Entertainment Weekly compiled a list of every original holiday movie that is set to come out this year on streaming and TV networks and the number is mindboggling: 146. And that is likely a low number.

After you’ve finished eating your turkey leftovers and watching “House of Gucci” (and looks like a popcorn fest), brace yourself: This year, unlike last year, lots of big movies are headed for the multiplexes for the holiday season. Here are 10 that might be worth getting up from the couch —…

In 2018, horror mogul Jason Blum revived one of the longest-running horror franchises, “Halloween,” inviting filmmaker David Gordon Green to take a spin through Haddonfield. Blum got the whole gang back together, enlisting “Halloween” auteur John Carpenter to compose one of his inimitable sy…

Adam Robitel’s 2019 B-movie horror flick “Escape Room” had all the auspices of a flash in the pan: early January release and a gimmicky premise based around a live entertainment trend. “Escape Room” was just that: a series of high-stakes, life-or-death puzzles, but thanks to the cast and cha…

Even though it was delayed for over a year, the release of a documentary film about Central Washington’s Gorge Amphitheatre — a film about music and the sheer joy of togetherness — seems right on time after all. “Enormous: The Gorge Story” opens July 21 in theaters, including Wenatchee’s Gat…

Ever since Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), better known as Black Widow, kicked-boxed her way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans have been clamoring for a standalone movie, and for good reason. She’s astonishingly lethal but also incredibly human, with a dark and mysterious backs…

What a ride it’s been for the “The Fast and the Furious” franchise. Now spanning 20 years and nine films, this soap opera of motor fuel and melodrama has defied logic, physics and death again and again while weaving an intricate tapestry of a cinematic text that’s filled with callbacks, came…

Starring Kevin Hart as a widower trying to raise his young daughter, “Fatherhood” is an affable dramedy that lacks any real tension or drive. In a more dramatic turn than his usual manic comedic roles, Hart shows promise but isn’t quite there yet to craft something truly rounded, emotional a…

Good luck planning ahead to see movies this summer; the schedules (and the theatrical versus streaming strategies) are still changing rapidly. But here are a dozen movies I’m keeping an eye on, and hoping to see on the biggest screen I can find.