Freeze Frame: “Amsterdam” (R), “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” (PG), “Hellraiser” (R), “Hocus Pocus 2” (PG)

What do you get when you combine an intriguing story, great cast, impressive production values and a top-notch director? In the case of “Amsterdam,” you get a real mess. Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and John David Washington lead a terrific ensemble in David O. Russell’s bold experiment gone awry. It’s a murder mystery, period drama, comic romantic triangle, war film and political cautionary tale all rolled into one. “Amsterdam” tries to be too much and winds up not being enough.

“Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” is a musical adaptation of the beloved children’s’ books about the adventures of a performing reptile who lives with a nice family in Manhattan. Javier Bardem leads the cast as a down-and-out magician and Shawn Mendes provides the singing voice of the CGI produced title character. This family friendly fantasy is harmless and aimed squarely at the youngest moviegoing demographic. Others, beware.

Although it’s the eleventh entry in a grisly horror franchise that started in the 1980s, the new Hulu offering “Hellraiser” is a reboot that goes back to Clive Barker’s original story. It’s about a puzzle box that unleashes sadomasochistic beings from another dimension who don’t discern between pleasure and pain. “Hellraiser” is well made and unsettling, a twisted and perverse assault on the senses for fans of the gore horror genre.

It’s been 29 years since the Disney Halloween movie “Hocus Pocus” hit theaters. Disney+ is finally offering its sequel. “Hocus Pocus 2” reunites Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson Sisters, resurrected witches bent on taking revenge on the town that rejected them. It’s very broad and cornball, but then so was the original. “Hocus Pocus 2” may be bland, but undemanding kids may still fall under its spell.

Share This Episode