Baltimore Sun


Reviews of movies showing in theaters or streaming online


‘DON’T MAKE ME GO’: A father-daughter road trip that navigates between comedy and drama, “Don’t Make Me Go” has a lot of the right components. A likable cast. A story grounded in realism and human-scaled stakes. It’s not an unpleasant film, by any means. But it’s not one that makes a case for itself, either. John Cho plays a single father named Max. He finds out he has a tumor near his brain that’s fatal if left untreated. His chances aren’t good even if he does have the surgery to remove it. Not ready to break the news to his 15-year-old daughter, Wally, played by Mia Isaac, he decides to take her on a cross-country road trip instead. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video. 1:49. 2 stars. — Nina Metz, Chicago Tribune

‘ELVIS’: Why hasn’t there been a great Elvis biopic yet? Well, Austin Butler wasn’t around to star as the King of Rock ’n’ Roll. At the center of Baz Luhrmann’s sprawling pop epic “Elvis,” a film as opulent and outsize as the King’s talent and taste, Butler delivers a fully transforme­d, fully committed and star-making turn as Elvis Presley. The rumors are true: Elvis lives, in Austin Butler. Swirling around Butler’s bravura performanc­e is a manic, maximalist, chopped-and-screwed music biopic, in which Luhrmann locates Elvis as the earth-shaking inflection point between the ancient and the modern, the carnival and the TV screen, a figure of pure spectacle who threatened to obliterate the status quo — and did. Luhrmann takes Elvis Presley’s legacy, relegated to a Las Vegas gag, and reminds us just how dangerous, sexy and downright revolution­ary he once was. He makes Elvis relevant again. 2:39. 3 ½ stars.

— Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service


The “Jurassic Park”/“Jurassic World” franchise always favored a janky, what-should-wetry-this-time approach. Fans of dinosaurs (and who isn’t?) and the 1993 Steven Spielberg original based on Michael Crichton’s novel, have been forgiving enough to show up for most or all of the sequels, with their new batches of dinosaurs and hilariousl­y secondary humans. As I took my seat for a recent preview screening of “Jurassic World Dominion,” the family on my left was debating which was the worst in the series so far: the second movie in the first trilogy or the second in the second. Well, it’s neither. I’m afraid it’s this new one, “Jurassic World Dominion,” and neither its blobby story structure nor a frenetic running time of nearly two and a half hours (longest in the franchise) is the problem, really. The problem is filmmaking craft, and how little director Colin Trevorrow (who made “Jurassic World”) brings to bear on the project. Something’s off here, all the way through the film’s warring personalit­ies and wan subplots. The results may enjoy a big haul this summer, given the film’s nostalgic Grand Finale trappings and the melding of the first trilogy’s headliners — Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum — with the second trilogy’s nominal leads.

But you know how it is with brand-name blockbuste­rs. Whether they personally bust your blocks means nothing. The IP is everything. 2:27. 2 stars.

— Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune


I could not possibly begin to explain just how these hot dog-shaped, banana-hued, gibberish-speaking overlords came to infiltrate our culture at every level. The grasp these inexplicab­le animated creatures hold on cinema is insidious, and they continue their reign in their latest cinematic dispatch, “Minions: The Rise of Gru.” They’ve overthrown their masters in the “Despicable Me” franchise, wrestling top billing away for themselves. “The Rise of Gru” is just another “Despicable Me” movie, a supervilla­in origin story for beaky-nosed, scarf-wearing, evil aspirant Gru (Steve Carell). 1:27. 1 star. — Katie Walsh

‘MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS’: This is the latest screen adaptation of the 1958 Paul Gallico novel, about a humble London war widow getting by as a charwoman (though I don’t believe the new film calls her that). Ada Harris dreams of luxury, for once, before it’s too late. Her story is a daydream made real, about traveling to the home of the House of Dior and coming home with something nice. The inciting plot incident remains the same. When Harris spies one of her regular cleaning clients’ Dior dress, the sight takes her breath away. Her life immediatel­y transforms into a single, pricey long shot: Saving enough money to fund a quick flight to Paris, where she will buy a single Dior dress and return home in a dreamy Cinderella state of mind. The lives she transforms en route, by way of compassion and beguiling effrontery, are many and grateful. 1:55. 2 ½ stars.

— Michael Phillips


This is co-writer and director Taika Waititi’s aggressive­ly nutty follow-up to “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017). That film zazzed up Thor’s corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe enough to justify more of the same. “Love and Thunder” establishe­s in the prologue the latest threat to intergalac­tic extinction: an ordinary soul on a planet far, far away, played by Christian Bale, wandering with his daughter in the desert. He suffers a grievous loss and then transforms into Gorr, the God Butcher, hellbent on wiping out those privileged paragons who, in this outing, forsake mere mortals left, right and center. Chris Hemsworth’s Thor is learning, uneasily, to be a more progressiv­e and empathic specimen of godly hunk, a team player instead of a solo act. The storyline concerns, among other things, the children of New Asgard, swept up and kidnapped by Gorr. Their rescue leads the A-team straight to the enemy. 2:05. 2 ½ stars. — Michael Phillips


It couldn’t outmaneuve­r the pandemic enemy that delayed its release for two years, but “Top Gun: Maverick” can’t lose, really. It’s a pretty good time, and often a pretty good movie. It’s cozy. And it’ll be catnip for those eager to watch Tom Cruise flash That Look. What is That Look? It’s the half-smile of insubordin­ation when a superior officer (Ed Harris or Jon Hamm this time) busts test pilot and congenital speedneede­r Capt. Pete “Maverick”

Mitchell’s chops, ineffectiv­ely. It’s The Look that goes with an eternally boyish voice and demeanor. Capt. Mitchell, who lives alone in the desert with his beloved Kawasaki motorcycle, is called to a new and time-sensitive duty by his old cohort Iceman (Val Kilmer), now a U.S. Pacific Fleet commander. Maverick has three weeks to train a group of new

Top Gun aces to destroy a uranium enrichment plant in an unspecifie­d but assuredly Slavic location. One of the trainees is Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the grudge-laden son of Maverick’s late radar intercept officer, Goose, played by Anthony Edwards back when. It’s silly-rousing enough to satisfy younger and older audiences alike. It may help to have hated the original, but I liked this one, even though it’s not so very different from the first. Thirty-six years from now, we’ll probably be watching Cruise teaching a new cadre of flying aces. Only the planet will have changed. 2:17. 3 stars. — Michael Phillips

‘WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING’: In 2018, retired zoologist Delia Owens, the author of the bestsellin­g

1984 memoir “Cry of the Kalahari,” published her first novel at age 69. “Where the Crawdads Sing” is set on the North Carolina coast in the 1950s and 60s, threading romance and murder mystery through the life story of a young, isolated woman, Kya, who grows up abandoned in the marsh. The story is a bit far-fetched, the characteri­zations broad, but there’s a beauty in Owens’ descriptio­n of Kya’s relationsh­ip to the natural world. Her derisive nickname, “the marsh girl,” ultimately becomes her strength. The film is easily slotted into the Southern Gothic courtroom drama subgenre — it’s like “A Time to Kill” with a feminine touch. While the nature of adaptation requires compressio­n and elision, the film dutifully tells the story that fans of the book will turn out to see brought to life on the big screen. But in checking off all the plot points, the movie version loses what makes the book work, which is the time we spend with our heroine,

Kya. 2:05. 2 stars. — Katie Walsh

RATINGS: The movies listed are rated according to the following key: 4 stars, excellent; 3 stars, good; 2 stars, fair; 1 star, poor.

 ?? MICHELE K. SHORT/SONY PICTURES ?? Daisy Edgar-Jones and Harris Dickinson in “Where the Crawdads Sing,” a film adaptation of the Delia Owens novel of the same name.
MICHELE K. SHORT/SONY PICTURES Daisy Edgar-Jones and Harris Dickinson in “Where the Crawdads Sing,” a film adaptation of the Delia Owens novel of the same name.

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