Isle of Dogs is Wes Anderson's stop-motion-animated tale of a 12-year-old boy's search for his missing pooch, and somehow, against all logic, it feels like one of the least precious works on its writer/director's résumé.

Friday, April 6, 10:05 a.m.-ish: Call me an optimist, or maybe just a nitwit, but I was really looking forward to starting my day with Blockers, director Kay Cannon's tale of three middle-aged parents who attempt to foil their daughters' prom-night plan to lose their collective virginity. Sure, its central conceit, as several characters here point out, was sexist, retrograde, and more than a little icky, and there was bound to be an awkward blend of slapstick and sentiment, and the previews' comedic highlight was the sight of John Cena chugging beer through his anus. Still, though: Potential belly laughs! Likable leads! John Cena chugging beer through his anus!

Adapted from Ernest Cline's famed sci-fi novel and set in the dystopian 2045 of Columbus, Ohio, Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One is about a teen gamer (Tye Sheridan's Wade Watts) who, like millions of others, enters a worldwide virtual-reality competition intent on finding a hidden Easter Egg that will reap him untold fortune. This is no knock against Spielberg's generally exhilarating, occasionally frustrating, frequently jaw-dropping entertainment, but considering the film runs 140 minutes, I'm rather astounded that the kid didn't find the thing within the movie's first seconds. Because good God is this thing lousy with Easter Eggs.

Sometimes it seems as if very, very little separates a wretched Tyler Perry movie from a … . Well, not from a great Tyler Perry movie, because he hasn't yet made one of those. (He probably came closest with 2010's For Colored Girls, but those results were likely aided by Perry's choice to adapt a Tony-nominated Ntozake Shange play.) The auteur, however, has certainly made his share of terrifically entertaining movies, and for almost its entire length, I couldn't tell whether Tyler Perry's Acrimony was a stunningly confused and ineffective melodrama or an oddly irresistible one.

Friday, March 23, 10 a.m.-ish: There are worse ways for movies to begin than with the bouncy strains of Elton's John's “Crocodile Rock.” And there are certainly worse ways for quadruple features to begin than with Sherlock Gnomes, director John Stevenson's witty, winning follow-up to 2011's Gnomeo & Juliet.

You may have heard Love, Simon described as a gay Sixteen Candles – or a gay anything-by-John-Hughes – and it's kind of true, as this coming-out comedy is just as blithe, funny, well-meaning, and contrived as any of Hughes' mid-'80s classics, and certainly just as sensitive to the plight of its teenage protagonist. Yet particularly in its final half hour, director Greg Berlanti's casually revolutionary film is more like a gay Lady Bird – an unerringly truthful, supremely insightful, deeply affecting work boasting more than a half-dozen supporting characters whom you'd eagerly watch in films of their own.

Even if you're Steven Spielberg, Spielberg-ian whimsy is tough to pull off effectively, and Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time – the director's eagerly awaited adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's cherished 1962 fantasy novel – most assuredly has its heart in the right place. If only it were clear where its brain was.

Because of last year's historic foul-up in the telecast's final minutes, anyone committed to watching Sunday night's 90th Annual Academy Awards really had to commit, agreeing to sit through 230 frequently interminable minutes – you could watch The Post twice in that time! – just to see if Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway would read from the correct envelope. They did. And the evening's climax still felt a little bungled.

If you're one of those people who, for personal or professional reasons, simply has to catch a new movie every weekend, your wide-release choices this time around were director Francis Lawrence's spy thriller Red Sparrow and director Eli Roth's remake of Death Wish. In other words, you could either see the one in which Jennifer Lawrence is routinely beaten, tortured, and raped, or the one in which Bruce Willis drops an elevated car directly onto a bad guy's head. Apples and apples, really. And both experiences were kind of rotten to the core.

The precursors have been announced, the speeches have been made, and there's nothing left to do but muse on what might transpire at the 90th Annual Accadeny Awards telecast, scheduled to air on ABC at 7 p.m. CST this Sunday, March 4.

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