These movies available on demand and streaming services were all given *** reviews by Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times.
‘Snyder Cut’ four-hour trek
“Zach Snyder’s Justice League” (superhero action, R, 242 minutes, HBO Max). Director Zach Snyder has supersized his 2017 action film about Batman (Ben Affleck) teaming up with fellow superheroes to thwart a dastardly alien god and revive the fallen Superman (Henry Cavill). Although there are moments of levity, this is one bleak film. While the added exposition and additional action sequences don’t improve the movie, the “Snyder Cut” still is worth the four-hour trek, thanks in large part to the first-rate CGI and the gritty and game performances from the all-star cast.
College Admissions scandal
“Operation Varsity Blues” (documentary drama, R, 100 minutes, Netflix). This solid documentary on the college admissions bribery scandal of 2019 — which resulted in dozens of arrests and high-profile parents such as Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman serving jail time — has an effective storytelling technique. Wiretapped calls with mastermind Rick Singer are re-created by Matthew Modine doing some of the most oddly compelling work of his career by playing Singer, who orchestrated hundreds of illegal “side door” payments that enabled under-qualified students to attend elite schools. Using other actors are the parents, the film details how it all came crashing down, as one arrest leads to another.
Night-terror horror story
“Come True” (sci-fi horror, not rated, 106 minutes, on demand). Despite an out-of-left-field ending, there’s much to recommend about this night-terror horror story focused on a teen whose hyper-real nightmares intensify when she’s being monitored during a sleep study. She dreams that she’s trapped in some kind of in-between world where she is pursued by a hulking, vaguely human-looking creature with eyes that glow like headlights on a foggy night. We’re nearly lifted out of our seats by a couple of perfectly executed jump-scares.
Amusing and wry
“My Salinger Year” (drama, R, 101 minutes, on demand). Margaret Qualley delivers an effortlessly endearing performance as an assistant to a literary agent (Sigourney Weaver) charged with culling through J.D. Salinger’s fan mail in 1995 and choosing one of a half dozen stock replies. Joanna takes it upon herself to start responding to Salinger’s fans with personalized replies, which seems to help some of them and infuriate others and will get her fired if discovered. This is a borderline trifling but consistently amusing and wry period piece.
“Boss Level” (sci-fi action, not rated, 94 minutes, Hulu). In the hardcore thriller addition to the time-loop genre, a former special agent (Frank Grillo, carrying the movie with a brute force and light charm) gets killed every day by a team of assassins. Then he wakes up to start fending off the attackers all over again. Let’s just say Roy is a pawn in some sort of sci-fi experiment involving his ex-wife, Dr. Jemma Wells (Naomi Watts), who is working on a high-level, top-secret techno-project under the paranoid watch of her supervisor, the wild-eyed Col. Clive Ventor (Mel Gibson). There is much left unexplained and you either go with it or you don’t.