So. Now that the movie has finally opened after what has felt like years of pre-release hype and inevitable backlash to that hype, a couple of questions about writer/director Todd Phillips' super-villain origin story Joker can at last be answered, at least from a personal perspective.

When I first heard of Dreamworks Animation's Abominable, the tale of a friendly Yeti and his quest to return home to the Himalayas, my first thought was “Didn't I just see this?!” But then I remembered that the film I was thinking of – this past April's animated comedy Missing Link – was actually about a friendly Sasquatch and his quest to return home to the Himalayas. Totally different.

Obsessives who passionately devoured every minute with the upstairs Crawleys and the downstairs help might very well be annoyed by how little everyone is given to do, and how little any of it matters. Those who never watched a second of the show might be utterly lost and left wondering what the big deal is. For my part, though, I found this feature-film exercise in unmitigated fan service a touching, entertaining reunion with half-forgotten friends, even though it doesn't resemble a movie so much as a highbrow Comic-Con panel in which those on the dais receive thunderous ovations merely for showing up.

Judging by reports from the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, which wrapped on September 15, the true shocker of this year's fest wasn't that intimate chamber drama The Two Popes turned out to be a ton of fun (though apparently it was) or that the already-notorious Joker didn't receive nearly the acclaim that greeted its eight-minute-standing-ovation debut in Venice (though apparently it didn't) or that the Audience Award – which, last year, was awarded to eventual Best Picture Oscar winner Green Book – went to the wildly divisive Hitler comedy Jojo Rabbit. (Wha-a-a-a-a?!?) It was that the heftiest Oscar buzz went to Jennifer Lopez, of all people, for playing, of all things, a larcenous stripper in writer/director Lorene Scafaria's Hustlers.

As with its predecessor, the best thing about director Andy Muschietti's horror sequel It Chapter Two is its murderous clown Pennywise, a role again acted to perfection by Bill Skarsgård. The worst thing, unfortunately, is everything else.

And so, with the passing of Labor Day, the summer-movie season of 2019 officially comes to an end. Not with a bang, but rather, as is annually the case, a whimper – specifically, a pair of releases so thoroughly unpromising that one of our area's two cineplexes didn't bother booking either of them. With that in mind, while we all count the days to It: Chapter Two and the onslaught of hopefully better fall flicks, let's take a moment to look at two films you likely didn't see this past weekend … .

In the new action thriller Angel Has Fallen, Gerard Butler plays Secret Service agent Mike Banning for the third time, having already portrayed this gruff, dyspeptic, über-violent patriot in 2013's Olympus Has Fallen and 2016's London Has Fallen. Considering those were two of the more painfully awful studio releases I've suffered through this decade, director Ric Roman Waugh's second sequel, I presumed, had nowhere to go but up. And blessedly, Angels Has Fallen is indeed less noxious than its predecessors. For a full 20 minutes.

Even though the raunchy comedy Good Boys, like the Jonah Hill/Michael Cera slapstick Superbad, is about nerdy best friends prepping for a party and boasts Superbad screenwriters Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg as producers, I didn't spend much time at the new film reflecting on its 2007 cousin. I did, however, think a lot about Bugsy Malone, Alan Parker's 1976 kiddie musical that imagined a stereotypical 1930s gangster flick cast entirely with teens and tweens.

Ordinarily, it's the sort of movie I'd casually dispose of in a couple hundred words at the end of a series of reviews – a chaser after time spent on more worthy subjects. This past weekend, though, saw Hobbs & Shaw the only new offering in wide release, so I suppose a few hundred extra words are in order. That shouldn't be a problem, though. There's so much here to hate.

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