Jessica Rothe makes dying and comedy look easy with the convoluted fun of Happy Death Day 2U

B-

Most sequels are time warps: It’s the audience that gets stuck in a loop, experiencing the same premise all over again. So it should come as no shock that Happy Death Day 2U finds a way to zap sorority girl Tree (Jessica Rothe) right back into the live-die-repeat cycle she escaped at the end of 2017’s horror-comedy…

We’ll never see Steven Soderbergh’s Moneyball, but his High Flying Bird is in the same ballpark

B

It takes guts, making a basketball movie with no basketball. Is there irony, too, in keeping players on the sideline of a story about returning power to the players? Steven Soderbergh has done both with his new low-fi Netflix drama High Flying Bird, which is interested in juking of a different sort—in backroom…

The Rock hits Sundance with a “secret” screening of the crowd-pleasing Fighting With My Family

This morning was supposed to be my last at Sundance, but the weather had other ideas. Not the weather here in Park City, mind—that’s been unseasonably warm and pleasant, unblemished by the kind of snowstorms that often make getting around the mountain town a challenge. But back in Chicago, where wind temperatures are…

Jake Gyllenhaal reunites with his Nightcrawler director for toothless horror satire Velvet Buzzsaw

C

Watch a random few minutes from any of his movies and it becomes obvious that Dan Gilroy loves the cinema of the 1970s. It’s an obsession baked into the rhythm and downbeat trajectory of his work. Increasingly, though, one has to wonder: Have all of his insights been yanked from 40 years ago, too? Nightcrawler,…

Zac Efron plays Ted Bundy, Shia LaBeouf plays his own dad: What a day for former teen stars 

There are people who come to Sundance just for the chance to freak out at the sight of a movie star. (“Fan” is the charitable word to describe these folks. “Unpaid paparazzi “ would do the trick, too.) Movie stars, by contrast, sometimes come to the festival to unleash their inner freak—to subvert their public image,…

You don’t have to be a detective to get ahead of the nutty Matthew McConaughey thriller Serenity

C+

Nothing is ever as it seems in film noir, a genre built on hidden motives and delayed revelations. Serenity, a preposterous tropical-island thriller from writer-director Steven Knight, takes that principle to an absurd new extreme. To even describe the film as noir is to make oneself an accomplice to its deception.…

The Keanu Reeves sci-fi movie Replicas is so terrible it could give you an existential crisis

D-

Replicas, the astonishingly inept new Keanu Reeves vehicle, plays less like a science-fiction thriller than some malfunctioning computer’s unconvincing approximation of one. If you woke up in a glitching simulation, this janky garbage would be projected on every screen, possibly under the title Human Movie. One could…