A doc can get away with an unexciting, even bland presentation so long as the story it tells captures and holds your interest, and directors Mila Aung-Thwin's and Daniel Cross' 2014 documentary Atanasoff: Father of the Computer kept me interested, and quite invested, through the whole of its too-short 45 minutes.

Among the quartet of living legends who star in 80 for Brady, Jane Fonda plays a romance-hungry author of steamy, football-themed fan fiction. Director Kyle Marvin's buddy comedy could hardly be called steamy, but it, too, is football-themed fan fiction, and about as winning as movies of its type ever get.

The January 24 reveal of this year's Oscar nominees brought with it the usual amount of pleasures, disappointments, and surprises, as well as our annual reminder that not every movie voters get to see is one Quad Citians have been able to see. Two of the stragglers, however, managed to secure local releases this past weekend. Another contender has been available for rental and purchase for weeks, but found itself as perhaps the title that Academy Awards completists wanted/needed to catch up with above all others.

If any movie this season can truly unify parents with their teenagers, it'll likely be Missing, the new mystery thriller whose morals can be effectively boiled down to “You need to always be honest with me, Mom” and “You need to pick up when I call, sweetie.”

I, personally, found the experience of Skinamarink extremely tiresome and legit-scary for maybe 100 seconds of its 100-minute running length. Dammit, though, if I can't get this thing out of my head.

There's no doubt a smarter, meaner movie tucked inside director Gerard Johnstone's M3GAN, but the largely dopey, relatively tame one we're given is a lot of fun, too.

Over the course of three hours and nine minutes, there's one sensationally effective, entertaining, and even educational sequence in Damien Chazelle's Babylon even if, like everything else in this wildly indulgent and obnoxious old-Hollywood saga, it, too, eventually gets royally effed up.

You know a movie about terminal illness is in trouble when it asks you to spend more time feeling sorry for the dying person's caregiver than it does for the person who's doing the dying. That, I'm afraid, was my chief hindrance in enjoying Spoiler Alert, director Michael Showalter's friendly, irritating dramedy about long-term life partners that keeps putting the emotional emphasis on the wrong partner.

Before discussing the very, very Bad Santa at the heart of director Tommy Wirkola's Violent Night, I want to address this grisly action comedy's other heroic perpetrator of bloody mayhem. Because despite the commitment that David Harbour lends to his portrayal of a jolly old elf by way of The Northman, seven-year-old Trudy Lightstone (endearingly enacted by Leah Brady) is easily the film's more interesting figure, largely for being the only movie character I can think of to truly call out the insidious irresponsibility in that holiday “classic” Home Alone.