sacramento news & review

The Barnesyard’s Sacto/SF Now Playing Power Rankings (Nov. 22-30, 2017)

Click the links to read my reviews.

* = playing in SF Bay Area only

OFFICIALLY BUMPED

*1) The Florida Project
*2) LA 92
*3) Faces Places
*4) Whose Streets?
5) Last Flag Flying
*6) Stronger

MIXED-POSITIVE

*7) Jane
*8) The Divine Order
*9) Chavela
*10) Lucky

MIXED-NEGATIVE

*11) Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
*12) The Square
*13) The Killing of a Sacred Deer
*14) Marshall
15) Justice League
16) The Man Who Invented Christmas
*17) God’s Own Country

OFFICIALLY DUMPED

*18) Novitiate
19) Blade Runner 2049
*20) Battle of the Sexes
*21) Wonderstruck
*22) Tragedy Girls
23) It
24) Victoria & Abdul

HAVEN’T SEEN

A Bad Moms Christmas
*Bill Nye: Science Guy
*Blade of the Immortal
Coco
Daddy’s Home 2
Geostorm
*Jigsaw
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Lady Bird
LBJ
The Lego Ninjago Movie
Loving Vincent
*Mudbound
Murder on the Orient Express
My Friend Dahmer
Roman Israel, Esq.
The Star
Thor: Ragnorok
Three Billboards…
Wonder

These rankings are updated every week and are only intended to reflect the opinion of Daniel Barnes. All films playing in Sacramento area theaters are listed, as well as most films playing exclusively in the S.F. Bay Area.  Repertory showings are excluded, as they are obviously the superior option wherever available.  Underlined films are on my catchup list.

The Barnesyard’s Sacto/SF Now Playing Power Rankings (Nov. 3-9, 2017)

Click the links to read my reviews.

* = playing in SF Bay Area only

OFFICIALLY BUMPED

1) The Florida Project
*2) mother!
*3) Faces Places
*4) Brimstone & Glory
5) Spider-Man: Homecoming
*6) Okja

MIXED-POSITIVE

*7) Rat Film
*8) Lucky

MIXED-NEGATIVE

*9) Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
10) The Killing of a Sacred Deer
*11) Columbus
12) Thank You for Your Service
13) Marshall

OFFICIALLY DUMPED

14) Blade Runner 2049
*15) Battle of the Sexes
16) Wonderstruck
*17) Tragedy Girls
18) The Foreigner
19) It
20) Victoria & Abdul

HAVEN’T SEEN

American Made
A Bad Moms Xmas
Boo 2! 
*BPM
Geostorm
Goodbye Christopher Robin
Happy Death Day
*Human Flow
*Jane
Jigsaw
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
LBJ
The Lego Ninjago Movie
Loving Vincent
My Little Pony
*Novitiate
Only the Brave
The Snowman
Suburbicon
*Thor: Ragnorok

These rankings are updated every week and are only intended to reflect the opinion of Daniel Barnes. All films playing in Sacramento area theaters are listed, as well as most films playing exclusively in the S.F. Bay Area.  Repertory showings are excluded, as they are obviously the superior option wherever available.  Underlined films are on my catchup list.

The Barnesyard’s Sacto/SF Now Playing Power Rankings (September 1-7, 2017)

Click the links to read my reviews.

* = playing in SF Bay Area only

OFFICIALLY BUMPED

1) Good Time
2) Dunkirk
3) Logan Lucky
*4) The Little Hours
*5) Detroit
*6) Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
7) Wind River
8) Spider-Man: Homecoming
*9) Maudie

MIXED-POSITIVE

10) War for the Planet of the Apes
11) Cars 3
12) Patti Cake$
13) Atomic Blonde

MIXED-NEGATIVE

*14) Columbus
15) The Big Sick
16) Wonder Woman
17) Menashe

OFFICIALLY DUMPED

18) Transformers: The Last Knight
*19) Gook
*20) The Wedding Plan
21) Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
*22) An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
23) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
24) I Do… Until I Don’t

HAVEN’T SEEN

All Saints
Annabelle: Creation
Baby Driver
Birth of the Dragon
*Crown Heights
The Dark Tower
Despicable Me 3
The Emoji Movie
*The Fencer
47 Meters Down
Girls Trip
The Glass Castle
The Hitman’s Bodyguard
Ingrid Goes West
Kidnap
Leap!
*Marjorie Prime
*The Midwife
The Nut Job 2
The Only Living Boy in NY
*Rumble: The Indians Who…
*The Trip to Spain
Tulip Fever
Valerian and the City…

These rankings are updated every Thursday, and are only intended to reflect the opinion of Daniel Barnes. All films playing in Sacramento area theaters are listed, as well as most films playing exclusively in the S.F. Bay Area.  Repertory showings are excluded, because they are obviously the superior option wherever available.  Underlined films are on my catchup list.

The Barnesyard’s Sacto/SF Now Playing Power Rankings (June 30-July 6, 2017)

Click the links to read Daniel’s reviews.

* = playing in SF Bay Area only

OFFICIALLY BUMPED

*1) Your Name
*2) Get Out
*3) Kedi
*4) Harmonium
*5) A Quiet Passion
6) Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
*7) Maudie

MIXED-POSITIVE

8) The Beguiled
9) Cars 3
10) Alien: Covenant
*11) The Women’s Balcony
12) Beatriz at Dinner
*13) Nowhere to Hide

MIXED-NEGATIVE

*14) My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea
*15) The Big Sick
*16) Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
17) Wonder Woman
18) The Hero

OFFICIALLY DUMPED

19) Transformers: The Last Knight
*20) Paris Can Wait
21) The Mummy
*22) The Wedding Plan
23) Letters from Baghdad
24) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
25) Beauty and the Beast
26) The Book of Henry

HAVEN’T SEEN

All Eyez on Me
Baby Driver
*The Bad Batch
The Boss Baby
*Buster’s Mal Heart
*Chuck
*Dean
Despicable Me 3
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
47 Meters Down
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
The House
*It Comes at Night
*The Journey
*Like Crazy
*Manifesto
Megan Leavey
*Moka
*My Cousin Rachel
Rough Night
*Slack Bay
Snatched

These rankings are updated every Thursday, and are only intended to reflect the opinion of Daniel Barnes. All films playing in Sacramento area theaters are listed, as well as most films playing exclusively in the S.F. Bay Area.  Repertory showings are excluded, because they are obviously the superior option.  Underlined films are on my catchup list.

Daniel Barnes @ the SN&R – 12/3 and 12/10 issues

index*In this one-note adaptation of Macbeth, director Justin Kurzel and cinematographer Adam Arkapaw strive to balance heavily stylized visuals with a heavily intimate tone. Mostly, it’s just heavy. There’s a lot to like on a conceptual level, but the execution is monotonous, like Zack Snyder without the comic book zeal.

*A clever but clunky riff on the Mary Shelley classic, Victor Frankenstein possesses an ambition far beyond its range.

*After an excellent first half and an astonishing centerpiece fight sequence, Ryan Coogler’s Creed plummets into tired convention, proving just good enough to be disappointing.

2015 End-of-Year Cramfest Capsules, Part III

indexBy Daniel Barnes

More coffee-fueled palaver about meaningless awards and reductive categorizations?  No problemo! Click HERE for Part I and HERE for Part II of the Cramfest, and strap yourself in for a jam-packed Part III.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25

Love & Mercy ***REWATCH*** (Dir.: Bill Pohlad; GRADE: B+)

The only real change from my original assessment of this Brian Wilson biopic is that I severely underrated Paul Giamatti’s performance, probably because he’s playing the same sort of splenetic sociopath we’ve seen him do dozens of times. After this film and Straight Outta Compton, though, can any young, aspiring musician ever trust Paul Giamatti again?  If I could nominate ten actors per category, Giamatti, Paul Dano, John Cusack and Elizabeth Banks would all make the cut; but limited to five, they’ll probably all get left off my ballots.

Janis: Little Girl Blue (Dir.: Amy Berg; GRADE: B)

Pretty square in its construct, but light-footed in the execution, and very sincere in its attempt to clear away the bullshit legends and find the real Janis.  Through a careful selection of interview subjects and a goldmine of Joplin photographs, clips and personal effects, the film shows us not just Janis the heedless white-soul belter, but Janis the daughter, sister, girlfriend and friend, the thoughtful and introspective woman who was mercilessly bullied as a child, saved by rock and roll as a teenager, and killed by heroin at the age of 27.  A solid emotional and musical experience.index2

The Duke of Burgundy ***REWATCH*** (Dir.: Peter Strickland; GRADE: A-)

No real changes from my original assessment, although a second viewing may have nudged supporting player Chiara D’Anna into my top 5.  One of the top 10 films of 2015.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26

Jurassic World ***REWATCH*** (Dir.: Colin Trevorrow; GRADE: B+)

My original assessment of Colin Trevorrow’s franchise-reviver was un-enthusiastically favorable, but I had even more ridiculous, regressive fun with a belly full of Thanksgiving turkey and barrel-aged beer.  I’ve been complaining for years that not enough movies feature a Tyrannosaurus Rex as the hero, and the film’s insane ending sequences set the table for the Jurassic movies to move in a Planet of the Apes-like direction.

The Second Mother (Dir.: Anna Muylaert; GRADE: B+)

Mike Dub covered the film well in his ESFS review, although I enjoyed it slightly more than him. The film plays like a decaffeinated Almodovar, wisely insidious and restrained where Almodovar is often wild and impetuous. Regina Case gives a stunning and utterly convincing performance as a domestic servant who has spent her life raising another couple’s child instead of her own, although she’ll probably fail to make my ballots in a crowded year for Best Actress candidates.

index.3jpgFRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27

Far from Men (Dir.: David Oelhoffen; GRADE: B-)

After Jauja, the second best 2015 movie in which Viggo Mortensen wanders a barren landscape speaking a foreign tongue. A bone-dry “adventure” with revisionist western overtones, as an Algerian-born white man (Mortensen) is tasked with delivering a prisoner to a faraway fort, all while dodging increasingly violent rebels and an unforgiving environment.  Decent but fairly unmemorable.

The Wonders (Dir.: Alba Rohrwacher; GRADE: B)

The moody, low-fi flipside to the brash rebel yell of Mustang, another story of womanhood flowering in patriarchal soil.  While the adolescent daughter of a fiercely independent beekeeper slob dreams of a world beyond the dilapidated family farm, the discomforting realities of her life conspire to frustrate her petty ambitions.  Quietly engrossing in the early scenes, with a third-act narrative wrench that I never saw coming.

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (Dir.: Stanley Nelson; GRADE: B-)

A solidly constructed but determinedly unspectacular history lesson about the Black Panthers, told with great enthusiasm by the surviving members (and in a few cases, by the cops, politicians and spooks who violently opposed them).  Inspiring and timely, but also stuffy and vain in the by-now familiar Boomer doc style, to the point that it might as well be called The Black Panthers: We Were the Coolest People to Ever Save the World, Just Don’t Get Me Started on These Kids Today.index4

Bridge of Spies (Dir.: Steven Spielberg; GRADE: B+)

Impeccable craft and vision from top to bottom, and consistently riveting even when Spielberg predictably indulges in his Franklin Mint-worthy views on American history.  Sturdy work by lead actor Tom Hanks, brilliant work by supporting actor Mark Rylance, and unlike in last year’s awful Unbroken, you can actually hear the voices of co-screenwriters Joel and Ethan Coen in the finished product.  Check out my updated Steven Spielberg Power Rankings HERE.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 28

Legend (Dir.: Brian Helgeland; GRADE: B-)

Tom Hardy might be the only actor alive who could make a movie this slapdash and predictable into required viewing.  He plays twin brothers Reginald and Ronald Kray, ruthless gangsters who ruled London during the swinging sixties, and delivers two distinct but rhyming performances.  Just try to imagine a Colin Firth or Eddie Redmayne type (or perhaps even worse, a Jason Statham or Vinnie Jones type) in the role and you’ll understand how essential Hardy is here.  The rest of the film is problematic as fuck.

In Jackson Heights (Dir.: Frederick Wiseman; GRADE: A-)

index7In an era dominated by documentaries that begin with a conclusion and then structure the rest of the film around reaching it, the let-the-camera-roll patience and empathetic discovery of Frederick Wiseman feels more and more like a luxurious throwback.  A great chronicler of institutions, Wiseman plants us in the Queens neighborhood of Jackson Heights, a community that proudly boasts of its unprecedented diversity, and fights hard to maintain its local character.  Over the course of three quietly riveting hours, Wiseman shows us the best that democracy has to offer, and the best that documentaries have to offer as well.

Eden (Dir.: Mia Hansen-Love; GRADE: B-)

A low-pulse, strangely disaffected alternate history of the French EDM movement, following the lives and loves a handsomely expressionless suburban DJ who comes of age right across from Daft Punk.  It’s a pretty classic rise/fall music industry parable, but it’s all trappings and no drama, curiously watchable as window dressing and yet never more than superficially involving.

Listen to Me Marlon ***REWATCH*** (Dir.: Stevan Riley; GRADE: A-)index

A second viewing only confirmed my original assessment: mesmerizing; enlightening; disturbing; deeply personal. The best documentary of 2015.

Check out my updated rankings of every 2015 NYC theatrical release HERE, and come back later this week for the fourth and final edition of the 2015 End-of-Year Cramfest!