Brian Lowry, CNN

Brian Lowry

CNN

Los Angeles, CA, United States

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Recent:
  • CNN
Past:
  • Variety
  • Boston Herald
  • CNN Money

Recent articles by Brian:

CNN

‘Willow’ revives the Lucasfilm fantasy with a more contemporary streaming adventure

Disney's press materials refer to the original 1988 movie "Willow" as "beloved," which despite its admirers feels like nostalgic inflation of a pretty generic George Lucas-plotted fantasy that provided an early directing showcase for Ron Howard. Setting that aside, a Disney+ revival series isn't without its charms, in a more contemporary narrative that brings back Warwick Davis while focusing on… → Read More

CNN

‘Disenchanted’ turns the page on a storybook ending to what comes after

Amy Adams nimbly steps back into the role of an animated princess trying to adapt to the live-action world, in an epilogue to "Enchanted." → Read More

CNN

'Slumberland' strands Jason Momoa in a nightmare of a movie

A movie about dreams becomes the stuff of nightmares in Netflix's utterly misguided "Slumberland," an attempt to build a sprawling fantasy adventure from the bones of the early-20th-century newspaper comic strip. → Read More

CNN

‘Bones and All’ serves up a strange stew with its fine young cannibals love story

"Bones and All" mashes up a lot of genres, coupled with the promise of a "Call Me By Your Name" mini-reunion of director Luca Guadagnino and Timothée Chalamet, until now the star less likely to appear in a story with the word "cannibal" in it. → Read More

CNN

‘Yellowstone’ is back, as the Kevin Costner series takes a sharper turn into politics

"Yellowstone" is one of those mysteries of the TV business, a series that generates major ratings but like the late comic Rodney Dangerfield, doesn't always get much respect. That dynamic was summed up last year by a Vanity Fair headline that read, "Here's to Yellowstone, the Most-Watched Show Everyone Isn't Talking About." → Read More

CNN

In dealing with Chadwick Boseman’s death, ‘Black Panther’ makes a case for recasting

In the process of dealing with Chadwick Boseman's absence, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" makes a case for recasting, a once-standard practice that has increasingly been sidestepped and avoided by filling roles with digital wizardry. → Read More

CNN

‘The Fabelmans’ is Steven Spielberg’s super-director origin story

"The Fabelmans" is a deeply personal chronicle from one of cinema's greatest talents, yielding a movie that features wonderful moments within a somewhat scattered narrative. → Read More

CNN

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ pulls off a difficult dive after Chadwick Boseman’s death

In the parlance of Olympic diving -- a good analogy for blockbuster movie-making -- "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" faced an inordinate degree of difficulty, addressing the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman. That the movie manages to strike that somber chord and still deliver as Marvel-style entertainment represents a major accomplishment, though the tension created by those two forces grinding… → Read More

CNN

‘The Crown’ reloads with new leads and old troubles in a more disjointed fifth season

Questions of propriety about the fifth season of "The Crown" premiering two months after Queen Elizabeth II's death are largely eclipsed by other issues, as the Netflix series reloads with new prestige talent in key roles and old troubles, while feeling more disjointed than usual. The result is an uneven campaign that reinforces a sense the Emmy-winning series risks extending its reign too long. → Read More

CNN

Selena Gomez opens up about her mental-health struggles in ‘My Mind & Me’

In the most deeply personal aspect of "Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me," the singer-actor reads excerpts from her journal filled with self-doubt and anxiety, including lines like "I have to stop living like this" and "I want to know how to breathe again." Opening up about her bipolar disorder is surely a service, but the six-year span encompassed by this intimate Apple TV+ presentation labors to… → Read More

CNN

‘Enola Holmes 2’ cleverly puts Millie Bobby Brown back on the case

The game is afoot (again) in "Enola Holmes 2," a wonderful showcase for Millie Bobby Brown that this time manages to work the character's famous brother, Sherlock, more organically into the mix. Throw in fact-based underpinnings about horrid working conditions during the time and you have the makings for a very polished sequel -- one that makes the whole thing look elementary, and a whole lot of… → Read More

CNN

‘God Forbid’ revisits the Falwell sex scandal from the ‘pool boy’s’ point of view

Making the most of its extensive access to Giancarlo Granda, the figure at the center of it all, Hulu's "God Forbid: The Sex Scandal that Brought Down a Dynasty" pulls back the curtain on a salacious tale of sex, lies, hypocrisy, and political intrigue -- for streaming purposes, a divine cocktail if there ever was one. → Read More

CNN

‘The White Lotus’ relocates to Sicily and delivers another five-star experience

"The White Lotus" hasn't lost any of its intoxicating allure, shifting its mix of rich-people problems and staff struggles to a new island (Sicily), with Jennifer Coolidge as the one holdover from the Emmy-winning original. It's an impressive exercise in reloading by writer-director Mike White, who based on this encore should have plenty of frequent-flyer miles in his future if he chooses. → Read More

CNN

‘Call Jane’ looks at a pre-Roe world through one woman’s abortion journey

"Call Jane" is a good example of how a few questionable choices can muddle an otherwise-powerful story, with the recent HBO documentary version of these events, "The Janes," outshining this fictionalized dramatic account. The portrait of an underground abortion network pre-Roe v. Wade is obviously timely, but its slightly askew focus blunts the overall impact. → Read More

CNN

‘Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi’ shows animation remains a creative force in Lucasfilm’s galaxy

Animation has been the driving creative force behind the "Star Wars" universe for some time, a state of affairs cast into sharper focus by how live-action series Lucasfilm has produced for Disney+ have drawn upon those shows. That relationship continues with "Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi," an animated anthology that provides an opportunity to flesh out the stories of peripheral but familiar… → Read More

CNN

‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ shows off Guillermo del Toro’s eclectic vision of horror

As a horror maestro and auteur, Guillermo del Toro has earned the right to his moment in the spotlight -- in this case presiding on camera, Alfred Hitchcock style, over "Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities." It's only too bad that this eight-episode Netflix horror anthology lacks the verve of the director's cinematic work, with episodes that feature monstrous special effects but… → Read More

CNN

‘House of the Dragon’ soars into the battle to come with its season finale

"The Black Queen" brought this first season -- at times uneven, but always interesting -- full circle. Spoilers ahead. → Read More

CNN

‘Ticket to Paradise’ gets mileage out of its George Clooney-Julia Roberts pairing

Think of "Ticket to Paradise" like a postcard of beautiful people having fun in a beautiful place and you'll get along just fine. Giving it much more thought than that won't help this rom-com vehicle for George Clooney and Julia Roberts, although the "com" part proves a trifle deficient in a movie that's significantly better when it's sweet than salty. → Read More

CNN

‘Descendant’ and ‘Rosa Parks’ provide new windows into chapters in Black history

Two powerful documentaries explore different aspects of Black history this week, in each case shedding light on misrepresented or under-covered chapters. Presented by Barack Obama's company under its Netflix deal, "Descendant" examines the discovery of a long-sunk ship that brought enslaved Africans to Alabama, while "The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks" reclaims a figure whose legacy was too… → Read More

CNN

‘Black Adam’ tries to launch Dwayne Johnson’s antihero into the DC Universe

"Black Adam" features a protagonist of almost unlimited power, which only makes its puny script more conspicuous. Dwayne Johnson is saddled by a very limited range of expression as the ancient mystical being featured in DC's latest superhero epic, a film that isn't nearly as cool as its poster, while highlighting the inherent challenge of building stories around antiheroes. → Read More