Three 'A'-rated movies now playing at your favorite neighborhood theater

A scene from the 2017 movie, 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' (Sony Pictures Entertainment)


Score: A

Rated PG-13 -- 133 minutes

The screening audience loved the energy of this great new film from start to finish. I certainly did. Six writers contributed to the story under the direction of Jon Watts. The film stars 20-year-old British actor Tom Holland. He plays a great Peter Parker at 15 years of age. He is loaded with charisma and charm. Holland will appear in next year's AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR.

This is the first Spider-Man movie that Sony has produced with Marvel Studios. I am so happy for this marriage. It is now estimated that this solo debut of Spider-Man in the Marvel "Cinematic Universe" is looking at a possible $100 million domestic box office opening weekend. The franchise itself is 15 years old.

One of my all-time heroes – both on screen and in real life – allows Robert Downey Jr. to play a major role in HOMECOMING, as Iron Man, a.k.a. Tony Stark. Jon Favreau as Happy is also given a lot of screen time.

If I had to use just one word to entice you to go and see this movie, it would be FUN. A few critics may complain about the film's length and maybe too much plot. Not me. Two other film heroes – Michael Keaton and Marisa Tomei – are just terrific. Keaton plays a great villain and Tomei plays a loving Aunt May. I also do not want to slight any of the large cast. Kudos to them all!

There is also an "inside joke" with regards to Michael Keaton's costume. Trust me. You can't miss it!

This is an adolescent, high-energy Spider-Man at his best. Spider-Man is living his dream. And for 133 minutes, we get to all go along with him on his journey.


Score: A

Rated R -- 119 minutes

You are in for a treat if you liked WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. That was director Rob Reiner’s 1989 film classic, written by Nora Ephron (and starring Billy Crystal). You will absolutely love this very clever and extremely well-written romantic comedy. Yes, there is romance and yes, finally — we have a comedy that is really laugh-out-loud funny.

The star of THE BIG SICK is Kumail Nanjiani, the star of “Silicon Valley”. He and his wife Emily V. Gordon co-wrote the true story of an interracial Pakistani-American relationship. Emily is played in the film by Zoe Kazan. What a star-making role. Oscar winner Holly Hunter and Emmy champion Ray Romano are absolutely perfect in this movie. THE BIG SICK is directed by Michael Showalter, who, himself, is a noted comedian.

Last week, THE BIG SICK opened with a limited release in New York and Los Angeles. With rave reviews and strong box office, this film is already an Oscar contender. “Strong box office” means playing to sell-out crowds, and on just five screens, THE BIG SICK took in $435,000. That translates into a per screen average of $87,000 — which is the best to-date opening this year! Put this movie at the top of your list.


Score: A

Rated R -- 94 minutes

Like THE BIG SICK, THE BEGUILED opened with a limited release in New York and Los Angeles this past week. Again, to rave reviews and strong box office. THE BEGUILED was only on four screens and earned an impressive per screen average of $60,000.

This was one of the “buzzed” movies at the Cannes Film Festival. It is a remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood classic Western. This remake is directed by Hollywood royalty Sofia Coppola, who won Best Director at Cannes. The uniqueness of this Civil War sequel is the re-imagined story now told from the female perspective.

The story includes four remarkable performances from Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning. Farrell noted in an interview at Cannes that "this is my favorite film.” THE BEGUILING is a story of women cut off from the world. They are pent up together. Fighting to survive during the Civil War, we slowly are introduced to their anguish and deepest feelings. The only man in the house is up against competitive power struggles from very repressed women. In the end, he pays a heavy price.

In addition to the strong direction, story, and performances, note the extraordinary Oscar-caliber "natural lighting" from Philippe Le Sourd, the Director of Photography. The haunting musical theme playing throughout the film is Monteverdi's "Magnificat", one of the eight most ancient of Christian hymns.

If you love a story about betrayal, revenge, and intrigue, add this movie to your must-see list. This is a story that needs to be told in a theater and up on the big screen.



Score: A+

Rated PG-13 -- 140 minutes

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES is the first movie of 2017 that I have awarded an A+ rating. If the Oscars were being held today, this is the BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR. Technically, it is a stunning achievement. Visually, it is breathtaking. The screenplay is rock solid. And Andy Serkis (as Caesar) should finally receive his well-deserved Oscar nomination as Best Actor of the Year.

Looking ahead to what's coming this summer? Bob Fisher has the blockbuster box office guide to this summer's movie season!