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Moonlight movie reviews: Barry Jenkins directs one of the year's best-reviewed films

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David James; David Bornfriend; Universal Pictures; Richard Foreman Jr.

As four wide releases duke it out for the no. 1 spot at the domestic box office, one film shines on the specialty front as one of 2016’s best-reviewed titles: Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight.

While critics haven’t taken well to fresh studio fare from Tom Cruise (Jack Reacher: Never Go Back) and Isla Fisher (Keeping Up with the Joneses), an overwhelming majority of them have praised the Jenkins’ second feature film (following his 2008 drama Medicine for Melancholy) which explores the life of a young black man, Chiron, as he matures on the streets of Miami, Florida. 

Read on to find out what movie critics are saying about Moonlight, Jack Reacher, Keeping Up with the Joneses, Ouija: Origin of Evil, American Pastoral, and more in the reviews below. 

Moonlight

Opens Oct. 21 in limited release.

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:

Adapted from a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney, Jenkins’ long-awaited follow-up to 2008’s Medicine for Melancholy is a lyrical meditation on identity — racial identity, masculine identity, and sexual identity — that asks what it means to be a black man who’s gay. Or, in the case of Moonlight, what it means to be Chiron. Set in a Miami far from the rococo glitz of South Beach, the film is broken into three intimate and perfectly constructed chapters — “Little,” “Chiron,” and “Black” — after the three names our protagonist goes by on his stations-of-the-cross journey from boyhood to adolescence to adulthood. A

Read the full EW review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

Metacritic: 99

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Opens Oct. 21.

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:

The problem is, aside from Cruise and Smulders, nothing else about Never Go Back really works or matters. Granted, we’re now only two films deep into the Jack Reacher franchise, but that seems like a fair enough sample size to come to the conclusion that he’s no Ethan Hunt—and never will be. Not every middling box-office success needs to be spun off into a franchise. Especially when it results in sequels as aggressively mediocre as this. Tom Cruise deserves better. So does the audience. C 

Read the full EW review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 40%

Metacritic: 47

Keeping Up with the Joneses

Opens Oct. 21.

EW’s Devan Coggan says:

Keeping Up with the Joneses isn’t bad, just forgettable—and a bit of a missed opportunity. There are more than a few laugh-out-loud lines, but they’re undercut by an overly sappy message about unlikely friendships. What could’ve been a clever or innovative spy caper instead feels about as exciting as a subdivision barbecue: not a bad time, per se, but wouldn’t you rather be hanging out with James Bond? C

Read the full EW review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 22%

Metacritic: 31

American Pastoral

Opens Oct. 21 in limited release.

EW’s Leah Greenblatt says:

On the page, it’s a fascinating portrait of father-daughter dynamics, cultural identity, and the fallout of ‘60s radicalism; somehow, the movie manages to take all the richness and subtext of Roth’s writing and turn it into just text, a flat and clumsy paper-doll melodrama that even some gorgeous cinematography and a raft of gifted, great-looking actors can’t save. As hard as they work to add nuance, Connelly is trapped in mad-housewife hysteria, Fanning’s a brat, and McGregor never really rises above a strange, stunned blandness. It’s a noble effort, almost completely lost in translation; give it an American pass. C–

Read the full EW review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 19%

Metacritic: 42

Ouija: Origin of Evil

Opens Oct. 21.

EW’s Christian Holub says:

Ouija: Origin of Evil is an interesting exercise in watching filmmakers try to mint a franchise out of basically nothing. The movie shares some characters with the 2014 film it is a prequel to, but the connection adds hardly anything to either film. Effective horror relies on the actualization of some deep-seated cultural fear, but Ouija: Origin of Evil supplies only ineffective clichés and half-hearted attempts at franchise building.

Read the full EW review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%

Metacritic: 66

The Accountant

Now playing.

EW’s Leah Greenblatt says:

Director Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) seems to know at some level that it’s all camp, though it’s unclear where he picked up certain elements of his medical definition of autism, or why Wolff’s military-officer dad decides that the best response to his son’s diagnosis is to train him to be a sharpshooting, Muay Thai-kicking assassin — aside from the fact that it works out super well for the plot. The whole thing’s ludicrous, down to the last loony twist, but it’s also a lot more fun than Batman v Superman. C+

Read the full EW review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 50%

Metacritic: 51

The Girl on the Train

Now playing. 

EW’s Leah Greenblatt says:

Director Tate Taylor (The Help) doesn’t bring the kind of stylistic dazzle that David Fincher, his fellow helmer in literary It Girl depravity, lavished on Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl. But he deftly translates the bleak, raw-boned menace and tricky time signatures of Train’s intertwined plotlines, and draws remarkably vivid performances from his cast, particularly his two female leads. Blunt and Bennett aren’t girls at all; they’re women on the edge of their own oblivion, wounded and furious and chillingly real. A–

Read the full EW review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 44%

Metacritic: 48

Kevin Hart: What Now?

Now playing.

EW’s Devan Coggan says:

When Hart goes broad, however, he isn’t quite as funny. A bit about the hassles of ordering at Starbucks, for example, doesn’t feel very fresh in 2016. And as Hart’s fame has grown exponentially, his material has changed, too. He jokes about his family, but now, it’s about how private school has changed his son. He jokes about airport bathrooms, but now, it’s about awkward run-ins with fans. Still, Hart’s exuberance make him a captivating performer — and his energetic delivery helps even the most mediocre jokes land. B–

Read the full EW review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 77%

Metacritic: 60

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Now playing.

EW’s Devan Coggan says:

Miss Peregrine has all the visual hallmarks of your classic Burton—a child with teeth on the back of her head, a girl who wears lead shoes to keep from floating away (Ella Purnell, swapping powers with another character from the book). But the film chooses style over substance, emphasizing how cool the children’s powers are without fleshing them out as full characters. To compete with Burton’s best, his heroic weirdos need a little more heart—and the monsters need sharper teeth. B–

Read the full EW review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 65%

Metacritic: 57

Deepwater Horizon

Now playing.

EW’s Leah Greenblatt says:

What works almost disturbingly well is the way Berg calibrates his delivery of the disaster while still holding on to the human scale of it. Alternating between the visceral jolt of experiencing the destruction firsthand and a God’s-eye view of its root cause and effect, he brings a man-made tragedy into fiery focus — and reminds us why it deserves more than corporate fines and a few fading headlinesB+

Read the full EW review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%

Metacritic: 68

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