What to watch from the couch
1917 (War action, R, 119 m., 2019). With brilliant, claustrophobically effective directing choices by Sam Mendes and strong, raw performances from young leads Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay, this heart-stopping World War I drama is a unique viewing experience you won’t soon shake off. Rating: Four stars.
A HIDDEN LIFE (Historical drama, PG-13, 180 m., 2019). In 1940s Austria, a farmer is jailed for refusing to sign a loyalty oath to Hitler, as his wife and children suffer without him. This is a Terrence Malick film, so you can count on feeling dazzled by spectacular shots of heaven on Earth, and impatient at the sheer overpowering deliberateness of it all. Rating: Three stars.
RICHARD JEWELL (Historical drama, R, 130 m., 2019). The latest economically filmed, well-crafted gem from Clint Eastwood recalls the cop wannabe who was proven innocent after being named as the prime suspect in the 1996 Olympics bombing in Atlanta. Paul Walter Hauser delivers screen-commanding work as the title character. Rating: Three and a half stars.
JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL (Action adventure, PG-13, 123 m., 2019). Like 2017’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” this rousing, funny, warm-hearted, old-fashioned adventure movie puts high school students into video game avatars that look like Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and others. There’s more than enough charm to overcome the occasional overlong action sequence. Rating: Three stars.
SPIES IN DISGUISE (Animated action, PG, 101 m., 2019). This computer-animated adventure benefits from the expert comic timing of Will Smith, providing the voice of a super spy accidentally transformed into a pigeon and forced to team up with a socially awkward tech genius (Tom Holland). It’s terrific family entertainment, popping with bright colors. Rating: Three stars.
CHARLIE’S ANGELS (Action comedy, PG-13, 119 m., 2019). Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska play well off one another as a trio of secret agents working for the mysterious Charlie and middleman Bosley (Elizabeth Banks, who also directs), but this is a frothy, ridiculous and entirely unnecessary piece of work. Rating: Two stars.
UNCUT GEMS (Crime comedy, R, 135 m., 2019). In one of the most authentic deep dives into the world of the gambling addict ever put on film, Adam Sandler’s performance as a New York jeweler with a variety of voracious appetites might just be the best dramatic performance by an actor in all of 2019. Rating: Four stars.
BOMBSHELL (Biographical drama, R, 108 m., 2019). This recounting of the sexual harassment scandals at Fox News benefits from solid if unspectacular direction by Jay Roach and excellent performances by Charlize Theron (as Megyn Kelly), Nicole Kidman (as Gretchen Carlson) and Margot Robbie (as a composite character). Rating: Three stars.
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Mechanic/artist Alex Dicharry’s original creation was selected for the prestigious 2022 Handbuilt Motorcycle Show in Austin, Texas.