Movie column by Eleanor Ringel Cater

'The Fall of the American Empire' – falls short in every way

“The Fall of the American Empire” does only one thing well: fall apart.

Gracelessly. Stupidly. And without a shred of self-awareness.

The Canadian director Denys Arcand, who may be one of the most pompous and annoying filmmakers in the northern hemisphere, has concocted a cretinous crime caper that seems strung together from bits and pieces of every ‘70s cop show ever made.

'Rocketman' – a jukebox version of Elton John, who deserves more

Going in, you already know that last year’s unexpected hit, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” would be either the best thing or the worst thing to happen to “Rocketman,” the new Elton John movie.The parallels are so strong: similar time frames, similar problems (being gay in a pre-woke world), similar storylines (success is more likely to bring cocaine than happiness).

'All is True' – an older Shakespeare struggles in retirement

Imagine Shakespeare, not in love, but up to his ears in inducements from AARP.That’s the framework, more or less, for Kenneth Branagh’s “All Is True,” a look at the Bard in retirement.The year is 1613. His beloved Globe Theatre has burned to the ground and the playwright takes that as a sign it’s time to move back to the country and retire in the…um…loving?…bosom of his family.

'The Chaperone' – predictable tale of a prude who loosens up

“The Chaperone” is a rigged shell game. It lures you in with Louise Brooks, the charismatic silent-film legend best known for “Pandora’s Box,” and proceeds to tell you this tedious fictional tale about the woman who accompanied Brooks from Wichita to New York where the incipient Ultimate Jazz Baby found – what else? –fame and fortune.At least the movie can claim truth in advertising. It is, after all, called “The Chaperone.”

'The Aftermath' – a post-war love triangle that falls flat

“The Aftermath” is the sort of movie about which somebody will inevitably write, “They don’t make ‘em like this anymore.”“The Aftermath” is a good reason why.Tepid, obvious, uninvolving, “The Aftermath” proves that, yes, in the shadow of World War II, the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans unless, they’re named Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Heinreid and they’re hanging out in Casablanca.

'Best of Enemies' – a well-acted civil rights story worth telling

In a way “The Best of Enemies” could be likened to a made-for-TV version of “The Green Book.” But even if that’s meant as a compliment from a flat-out fan of the recent Oscar winner (which I am), it’s still a bit demeaning. Though the movies share a Civil Rights theme and a first-they-bicker-then-they bond plot, “The Best of Enemies” has its own distinct voice. That’s due, for the most part, to its pair of high-powered stars, Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell.