Reviews of a Stephen King sequel, an old-style war movie and a fresh take on Christmas

Also fun amid the California wildfires (filmed in BC) and two film festivals, one new, one a regular

What a week. You can choose from child-killers, war, bratty kids, wildfires, a dubious rom-com and two specialized film festivals with more rough topics. But there's always Christmas. Two of these new films deal with it.
Doctor Sleep: 3 stars
Midway: 2 1/2
Klaus: 3 1/2
Playing With Fire: 1 1/2
Last Christmas--
Architecture Film Festival
Asian Film Festival

DOCTOR SLEEP: I found it hard to get into this film. I expected it to be a sequel to the great Stanley Kubrick film The Shining from 1980 when I should have paid more attention to its tagline: “The next chapter in the Shining story.” It’s so different that I was distracted for a long time asking what this has to do with the first story. Sure Danny is now grown up (and played by Ewan McGregor) and suffering trauma from back then. Remember Jack (“Here’s Johnny”) Nicholson tried  to kill him with an axe. He’s now a drifter, an alcoholic and bar fighter who gets a job working in a hospice (where he gets that nickname) and hardly ever does any of that extra-sensory “shining” anymore.

More in New Movies

Films about race and poverty in Paris, low-life exuberance in London and Werner Herzog re-tracing a friend’s quest

Also: damning memories from and since the Viet Nam war, an innovative dance choreographer in 3-D, the latest unhinged act by Nicolas Cage and a new but unseen version of The Turn of the Screw

Bad Boys shoot again; Adam Sandler gets loud in Uncut Gems and Clemency ruminates on capital punishment

And for the kids: A superior Japanese anime in Weathering With You, Robert Downey Jr. talking to the animals in Dolittle and your chance to sing along with Frozen II.

1917: a must-see, Just Mercy, a should-see, and Underwater, a don’t-bother

But do check out three others making a welcome return from last fall’s film festival
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