Director Jaume Collet-Serra's family adventure may be as self-referential and avaricious as any of the Mouse House's live-action blockbusters, but the film's cheerful spirit and charm prove utterly infectious, and I wound up having more and more fun as the film progressed.

M. Night Shymalan's new cinematic freakout, inauspiciously yet evocatively titled Old, could easily be mistaken for a masterpiece if you don't understand a word of English.

Director Malcolm D. Lee's LeBron-James-meets-the-Looney-Tunes adventure, beyond feeling cynical and desperate, may be the most flabbergasting, relentlessly self-promoting entertainment I've ever endured. Lee's movie is constantly selling, yet the only thing it actually gave me was a headache.

With more praise (and some damnation) to come, I suppose the highest compliment I can pay director Cate Shortland's new Black Widow is that, in the grand scheme of things, this Marvel entry could hardly matter less.

Directed by Everardo Gout and written, as all of them have been, by James DeMonaco, The Forever Purge is the fifth and purportedly final (sure, whatever) installment in the popular series of horror thrillers, and offhand, it's hard to think of another long-running film franchise that has gotten more mileage out of being not bad.

F9: The Fast Saga opens like Days of Thunder, middles like James Bond, and closes like a Corona commercial. In between those mile markers, the movie also manages to suggest a lost Indiana Jones sequel, a live-action Road Runner cartoon, a week-ending episode of Days of Our Lives, and a biggest-bicep competition in which the only entrants are Vin Diesel and John Cena. Needless to say, I ate it all up with a spoon.

Lauded by the Boston Globe as “brilliant metaphorical filmmaking,” director István Szabó's 1981 drama Mephisto serves as the latest presentation in the Kinogarten series of German-themed works screened on the first Friday of every month, with Rock Island's Rozz-Tox and Davenport's German American Heritage Center, on July 2, co-hosting their presentation of the first Hungarian movie to ever win the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film.

One of the most intelligent, loving, and hysterical film comedies of the modern era will make a 25th-anniversary return to the big screen when Rave Cinemas Davenport 53rd 18 + IMAX, from June 27 to 30, houses director Mike Nichols' The Birdcage, the riotous slapstick starring Robin Williams and Gene Hackman that the Washington Post's Desson Thomson called “a spirited remake of the French drag farce [that] has everything in place, from eyeliner to one-liner.”

As we discover in Edgar Wright's music documentary The Sparks Brothers, not long after the release of their 21st (!) album, the frontmen for the genre-defying rock outfit Sparks – siblings Ron and Russell Mael – embarked on a live-concert run of all 21 of those albums performed in chronological sequence, one night after another, over the course of 29 days. That's insane.

Had the musical been released last June as originally scheduled, and had there been no pandemic, director Jon M. Chu's film version of In the Heights would no doubt have felt like what it feels like today: a sweet, touching, frequently thrilling bash in which the guest list simply reads “Everybody.” Arriving now, however – and for we Illinoisans, debuting on the very same day the state's COVID-19 restrictions were lifted – Chu's big-screen opus feels like more than a party; it feels like liberation.