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We rank 5 new movies out Christmas weekend from best to worst

By in Press Enterprise on December 22, 2017

By Bob Strauss

Merry Christmas!

And like the majority of those attractively wrapped presents under the tree, most of the big new movies Hollywood’s releasing for the holiday weekend may be nice to have, but aren’t quite what was wanted.

Along with a very good Western that ultimately overstays its welcome, we’ve got three wise auteurs who made decent but unsatisfying offerings and a once joyful, peppy franchise going one desperate sequel too far.

Still, there are pleasures to be had in all the new movies, akin to feeling toasty in that ugly sweater Aunt Ida got you at Walmart. Below, in order of how much I’d like to regift them from least to most, are my reviews of this weekend’s L.A. releases.

Happy holidays!

1. Hostiles: A brutal, disturbing Western with a lot of time for reflection built in. Christian Bale is quietly torn as an Native American-hating cavalry officer escorting a dying Cheyenne war chief (Wes Studi) 1,000 miles to his home burial ground. Along the rugged way, the company picks up (and just as often loses) maddened individuals who outwardly express the stoic captain’s controlled turmoil. Rosamund Pike is an unshakable volcano of grief, Ben Foster is racism distilled down to its purist hatred, et cetera. It’s all pretty cool, if laid on a bit long and thick. Screenwriter-director Scott Cooper (“Black Mass”), working off a manuscript by the late Donald E. Stewart, wants to shock and compel with equal fervor, and it’s remarkable how often he succeeds at doing both.

2. The Post: The middle third of Steven Spielberg’s political history lesson excites all senses. It’s a sustained, ratcheting drama of ethical suspense as Washington Post staffers and management work against a ticking clock to decide whether or not to publish […]    

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