Kristofer Jenson

Contributing writer to C-Ville Weekly. Associate Film Editor of DigBoston. Host of Spoilerpiece Theatre.

Marshall stars Chadwick Boseman, who delivers a breakout performance as Thurgood Marshall in the early days of his career. Courtesy Open Road Films

Movie review: Marshall succeeds on multiple levels

A civil rights superhero movie? Why not? For a country so enamored with our national mythology, we are remarkably inconsistent when it comes to cinematic depictions of our historical figures. After all, many of our founding fathers owned slaves, and many more recent icons emerged at a time when personal shortcomings could not be as easily […]

Judi Dench and Ali Fazal make an unlikely pair in Victoria & Abdul, a true story that suffers as a comedy. Courtesy Focus Features

Movie review: Victoria & Abdul chooses gags over substance

The story of Queen Victoria and Abdul Karim—“the Munshi”—is one worth telling. Karim, a humble clerk in Agra, was invited to participate in a ceremony for the queen, which resulted in the initiation of a peculiar friendship that defied convention and stirred controversy among the Royal Court. All of the ingredients are there: class antagonism, […]

Emma Stone and Steve Carell take sides in Battle of the Sexes, a comedic accounting of the famous tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Courtesy Fox Searchlight

Movie review: Battle of the Sexes serves up an ace

Directing team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris continue their streak of slyly subversive, yet totally engaging, films with Battle of the Sexes, an insightful, exciting and unexpectedly hilarious recounting of the famous 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Like all Dayton-Faris outings, it breathes new life into familiar tropes while cleverly […]

In Stronger, Jake Gyllenhaal portrays the real-life reluctant hero Jeff Bauman, who lost his legs in the Boston marathon bombing. Photo courtesy New Line Cinema

Movie review: Stronger explores the realities of healing

It’s unfortunate that Stronger is being seen by some as “the other Boston Marathon bombing movie” after the release of Patriots Day earlier this year. The comparison shouldn’t even be made, but just in case there are people who might not see Stronger due to the association, let’s debunk and move on. The two could […]

A lack of suspense kills all hope of intrigue in American Assassin starring Dylan O’Brien. Courtesy New Line Cinema

Movie review: American Assassin can’t lose but does anyway

Could there possibly be anything more boring than a supposed spy thriller where the main character wins all the time and is immediately right with every hunch? That’s the experience of watching American Assassin’s Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien), a character who is devoid of real personality so he can more fully embody the many contradictory […]

Coulrophobes beware! The movie version of Stephen King’s supernatural clown thriller "IT" is stylish, well-acted and super scary. Courtesy New Line Cinema

Movie review: Stephen King’s IT balloons with big-screen scares

The film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel IT, long considered unfilmable, has finally reached the big screen, bringing new life and a modern sensibility to a story that is simultaneously nostalgic and damning of selective memory. The decades are swapped—our heroes are growing up in the late 1980s instead of King’s 1950s—but the coulrophobia has […]

Lost in Paris is a French romantic comedy that may miss the mark with American audiences. Courtesy of Oscilloscope

Movie review: Lost in Paris is a slow-moving charmer

Madcap francophone antics and lanky physical comedy are served aplenty in Lost in Paris, the new film from co-writers, co-directors, co-stars and spouses Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon. Even without knowing that bit of information about the film’s co-creators, it is clear that the pair constructed the cinematography, set pieces, physical humor and punchlines around […]

In An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Al Gore continues to educate deniers and advocate for climate change initiatives. PARAMOUNT PICTURES

Dire consequences: Al Gore’s agenda is discouraged by current climate

The impact of An Inconvenient Truth, the award-winning film released in 2006, was almost unprecedented for a documentary. There had already been a conversation around climate change, but many advocates and people generally in favor of promoting the notion that it was human-supported often lacked cohesion. One could always cite scientific consensus, but before director […]

The crime drama Wind River, starring Jeremy Renner, boldly portrays hardships faced by residents of Native American reservations. Acacia Filmed Entertainment.

“Wind River” is uncompromisingly tough

Not a single aspect of Wind River is easy to endure, but every shot, frame, line of dialogue, standoff and underlying theme is indispensable. The film turns every convention on its head in a plot involving a murder on a Native American reservation—the investigation is not depicted as a mystery, but implores both its characters […]

Annabelle: Creation is a prequel to a spin-off series, and it might be the most fun you have at the movies this summer. Courtesy Warner Brothers

Annabelle: Creation is a great escape

Who would have known a prequel series to a reboot of a movie based on a book based on a hoax would boast some of the most delightful big-budget horror filmmaking in recent memory? The Annabelle series is one that should not work; kids, spooky dolls and overexplained mythologies are typically the undoing of any […]

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit depicts the 1967 Algiers Motel incident that led to a three-day racially charged riot in the Motor City. Photo courtesy of Annapurna Pictures.

Unflinching eye: “Detroit” smolders with tension and brutality

The push for greater representation in cinema, both in front of and behind the camera, is sometimes derided as an academic one that places statistics ahead of quality, of checked boxes over realism. What these critics miss is that representation means greater diversity of perspectives. People of different races, nationalities, genders, religions and sexual orientations […]

I spy: “Atomic Blonde” has obvious twists

Whether it gets the acknowledgment it deserves, we are currently in what might be called a golden age of action filmmaking. Aside from the superhero flicks that seem to be holding the industry afloat, the last few years have seen sea changes in the genre’s presence in the culture. There are the high-profile blockbusters like […]

Bong Joon-ho explores the confluence of corporate farming, moral conflict and true friendship in Okja. Photo courtesy of Netflix

Movie review: Okja

Bong Joon-ho is back once again with Okja, a parable that goes to stylistic extremes to make an existential argument, broadcasting the film’s central metaphor from the very first scene while being far more emotionally and politically trenchant than anticipated. Snowpiercer could have been a straightforward action/sci-fi yarn, but in his hands, it becomes a […]

Discarded from society, The Bad Batch claw their way through a dystopian love story set in Texas. Photo courtesy of Neon.

“The Bad Batch” creates a kind of magic

The release of films in select theaters and on demand simultaneously may be good news for cinephiles in overlooked parts of the country, but the experience of watching a movie as intensely visual and stylistically unrelenting as The Bad Batch can’t help but be diminished as a result. Nothing is different about the composition—every shot […]

Spider-Man: Homecoming delights faithful fans and brings new ones along in Marvel Cinematic Universe’s instant classic update. Photo courtesy Columbia Pictures

Spider-Man: Homecoming weaves a brand new thrill

At first, the biggest surprise move made by Marvel was placing fan favorite (yet far-fetched) Thor on equal footing with the iconic Iron Man and Captain America in its Cinematic Universe. Now we accept the character’s presence as a given. Then the studio defied expectations by establishing phase two of its master plan with new-to-film […]

Baby Driver stars Ansel Elgort as a getaway driver whose heart is not in the robbery game. Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Baby Driver is a sweet, action-packed ride

Edgar Wright is best known as the master of comedic tributes to genre films that never stoop to parody due to his genuine affection for the source material. He is not the only director to self-consciously employ techniques and tropes from older films, but he is the best at balancing his modernist sensibilities with a […]

Transformers: The Last Night is so disjointed and confusing that it causes inauthentic responses based on audience conditioning, more like Furby reactions than real engagement.
PARAMOUNT PICTURES

New ‘Transformers’ flies apart on reckless plot

Homo sapiens as a species have survived this long partially due to mechanisms in our brain that evoke an instinctive response to stimuli when there is not enough time for a full intellectual analysis. For example, we notice and react to sounds or rustling bushes with curiosity and heightened senses before figuring out whether we […]

Zoë Kravitz, Jillian Bell, Scarlett Johansson, Ilana Glazer and Kate McKinnon star in Rough Night, which is neither a re-hashing of Bridesmaids nor the bawdy crowd pleaser it aspires to be. Courtesy Sony Pictures

Rough Night loses direction on gender gags

The story of Rough Night centers around a disastrous bachelorette weekend organized by an old friend who doesn’t know the difference between entertaining someone and monopolizing her time—which is a distinction the movie itself also has difficulty making. Featuring a terrific cast with great chemistry, a mix of A-listers and promising up-and-comers, and written and […]

The movie, such as their is one, intends to be an exaggerated version of the original TV series’ more preposterous plots, involving lifeguards taking down a massive crime ring because it happens to be located near their beach. Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Movie review: Baywatch can’t save itself from a lack of focus

The big-screen Baywatch isn’t the worst movie ever made—just the most pointless. There are occasional laughs but it can’t be called funny. The performers are charming and committed, but it’s not exactly well acted. Everyone was hired for a job: They did it, took lunch, got paid and went home satisfied with a solid day’s […]

Lacking in atmosphere and intrigue, Alien: Covenant is an unwelcome departure in Ridley Scott’s popular action series. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Alien: Covenant fails to perpetuate the franchise

When a movie crash lands due to its own misguidedness, the common question is, “What were the filmmakers thinking?” In the case of Alien: Covenant, we know exactly what Ridley Scott was thinking because he won’t stop broadcasting the film’s metaphors or applauding the foreshadowing long enough to let it tell a worthwhile story. If […]

Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with an all-star cast of characters culled from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Movie review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 keeps fans happy

The A-hole Avengers are back in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, with just as much swagger and ragtag chemistry as ever. It’s easy to forget that the first film was a risk for the unstoppable Marvel Cinematic Universe, a massive introduction to myriad characters, planets, teams and sci-fi concepts for a franchise wedded to […]

Anne Hathaway (above) and Jason Sudekis give compelling performances in Colossal, one of the strangest storylines to hit screens this year. Courtesy of Neon

Colossal turns odd comedic plot into dramatic gold

Everything about Colossal is a pleasant surprise. From its cute premise carrying actual dramatic weight, to every moment it made the choice to be better instead of safer, to the revelation of Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo demonstrating that his brand of humor and metaphor needs no further translation, it is difficult to recall a film […]

Ben Wheatley’s stylish Free Fire stars Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Sam Riley and Michael Smiley in an overlong gun battle. Photo courtesy of A24

Movie Review: Free Fire can’t get out of its own way

Ben Wheatley’s obvious joy of filmmaking is contagious. It’s clear from everything he’s ever made that movement, color (or lack of it, as in A Field in England) and the extremes of human behavior compel him to create unique, kinetic films with an energy that bridges the gap between raw inspiration and technical perfectionism. Even […]

The Fate of the Furious starring Vin Diesel outshines the hard-driving, logic-defying stunts of the series’ seven previous films. Courtesy Universal Pictures

Movie review: Fast and Furious series gets better and better

After 16 years—old enough, as it turns out, to finally get its driver’s license—the Fast and Furious series finally has nothing left to prove. There’s no need to explain why good guys turn bad, how a particular bit of technology works or where an improvised ramp came from that Vin Diesel somehow knew would be […]