Category: Reviews of Movies

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“Patch Adams” Review

The true story of a heroic man, Hunter “Patch” Adams, determined to become a medical doctor because he enjoys helping people. He ventured where no doctor had ventured before, using humour and pathos. One of Robin’s best “real life” movies, there’s a lot of enjoy in this story of a man looking for a purpose, then fighting tooth and nail to get that purpose realized. Buy On Amazon!

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“The Idol” Review

Jocelyn is desperate to reclaim her rightful title as the greatest and sexiest pop diva in America after a nervous breakdown disrupted her most recent tour after Tedros, a notorious nightclub entrepreneur, reignites her passions. I’m a huge fan of Sam Levinson’s work so it was no big surprise that I enjoyed this 5 hour episodic story as much as I did, then to have the A24 support added in was just icing on the cake. There’s some heavy stuff being bandied about and some deviously delicious slow cooker moments that don’t pay off until the final 5 minutes. If...

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“Blue Beetle” Review

An alien scarab chooses college graduate Jaime Reyes to be its symbiotic host, bestowing the teenager with a suit of armor that’s capable of extraordinary and unpredictable powers, forever changing his destiny as he becomes the superhero known as Blue Beetle. Introducing a new superhero in a universe that’s quickly on the decline and in the process of being rebooted is an exceptionally brave step to take and I’m pleased to report that Blue Beetle stuck the landing, largely by eschewing major common elements of other comic book films. Sure there’s a hero learning his place in the world, true...

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“Aladdin” Review

A kind-hearted street urchin and a power-hungry Grand Vizier vie for a magic lamp that has the power to make their deepest wishes come true. I got the 4k disk from Disney for free as a part of their “Movies at Home” reward section of the Disney Points system. This life action remake is slowly growing on me, but still has a long way to go to climb the pedestal that I have the original animated version on. The problem is that Robin Williams was such a large part of the original film that making another version of the story...

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“Paint” Review

Carl Nargle, Vermont’s #1 public television painter, is convinced he has it all: a signature perm, custom van, and fans hanging on his every stroke – until a younger, better artist steals everything (and everyone) Carl loves. I don’t think I can be blamed for assuming this was either a parody or homage to Bob Ross, but other than the hair cut Nargle has absolutely no relation or comparison to the superior Mr. Ross. Though there’s no Ross action, the story of a man having everything but losing it all because of his own hubris is done well enough, though...

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“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” Review

Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne are dragged into the Quantum Realm, along with Hope’s parents and Scott’s daughter Cassie. Together they must find a way to escape, but what secrets is Hope’s mother hiding? And who is the mysterious Kang? I still like the world that they built here but still feel it’s a dark world with the need for more nature light. Buy On Amazon!

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“Jakob the Liar” Review

During World War II, an ordinary inhabitant of a ghetto fakes news about Allied offensives to inspire hope for other victims of the Nazi regime. I think we’ve watched all the good comedy films from Williams and now our journey is taking us to his less humorous or less well received films, a set of movies that I’ve put off for months because of either how poorly they did at the box office or how badly they’d make me feel. “Jakob the Liar” falls in the latter set of films, as it’s a well made film with a sad story...

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“The Mother” Review

While fleeing from dangerous assailants, an assassin comes out of hiding to protect the daughter she left earlier in life. I have to assume that Lopez likes making these types of revenge / protector type of films, she’s starred in a few of them by now and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. “The Mother” isn’t a half bad film, but it definitely follows a familiar storyline that I’m familiar and tired with. The soundtrack makes up for the lack of a unique plot and honestly the action and special effects are serviceable with the exception of one motorcycle scene...

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“The Secret Garden” Review

An orphaned girl discovers a magical garden hidden at her strict uncle’s estate. The 2020 version of the story, this one moves the timeline from pre-electric to immediately after WW2, moves some of the set pieces around, and adds a ton of cgi that isn’t all that much noticeable, but it was only because there’s no way they had a bird do those tricks and some of the tree situations were straight up fantastical. I think I prefer the original adaptation, but that is in no means a knock against this version. Buy On Amazon!

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“Bros” Review

Two men with commitment problems attempt a relationship. The marketing and interviews for this film were pretty bad, with my impression of the film as a “try-hard” over the top nonsense attempt at shock value, but other than a few orgies, there wasn’t much that was too titillating here and the comedy was spot on and a breath of fresh air. If you can get past watching a dude make out with another dude while two other dude go down on that first dude, then this might be up your alley. Buy On Amazon!

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“The Final Cut” Review

Set in a world with memory recording implants, Alan Hakman is a cutter, someone with the power of final edit over people’s recorded histories. His latest assignment is one that puts him in danger. Sometimes combining two things that I love (Robin Williams and science fiction) doesn’t work out in a way that’s enjoyable and “The Finial Cut” has no joy, no story of redemption, and no happy ending. As a concept the idea of a “Speaker for the Dead” that has direct access to the deceased’s life through their own eyes is a compelling one, but the direction that...

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“The Secret Garden” Review

A young, recently-orphaned girl is sent to England after living in India all of her life. Once there, she begins to explore her new, seemingly-isolated surroundings, and its secrets. The first version of the film, this one is from 1993 and is set well before cars and electricity, but still has a captivating story of loss and how people deal with it. Also, how gardening can treat depression and aggression. Buy On Amazon!

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“A Little Princess” Review

Sara is sent to a strict boarding school after her father enlists in WWI. When he is presumed dead, the headmistress, knowing she will not receive any more money, forces the girl to become a servant. After seeing Barbie my wife and I were in a discussion about films from her childhood and “A Little Princess” came up. I didn’t remember much about it, but I realized about halfway through the film that I’d seen it years and years ago. It’s a great story with some real tragedy and drama. Buy On Amazon!

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“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” Review

The film follows the Turtle brothers as they work to earn the love of New York City while facing down an army of mutants. Adding to the list of movies that are going to do well despite having a non-standard animation style, TMNT: Mutant Mayhem is yet another reboot of the teenage superheroes, this time having the boys be young teens, around 15, instead of older teens, 18 or 19. There’s a few references to previous outings, but none of them are over the top nor really all that noticeable. This movie is it’s own thing and it’s going places...

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“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” Review

A plumber named Mario travels through an underground labyrinth with his brother, Luigi, trying to save a captured princess. Now streaming on Peakcock, it’s a fun and fast movie that I enjoyed watching while half awake due to some medication I’m on. I still think the dog stuff at the beginning is a bit too much, but having polled a few people about it, seems like I’m in the minority there. Buy On Amazon!

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“Being Mary Tyler Moore” Review

Explores the vanguard career of Mary, who, as an actor, performer, and advocate, revolutionized the portrayal of women in media, redefined their roles in show business, and inspired generations to dream big and make it on their own. A gushing look back on the career and life of Mary Tyler Moore with interviews, personal videos, and behind the scenes clips. It’s enjoyable and a good reminder of the effects that a single person can have on society, for better or worse. Buy On Amazon!

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“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” Review

Ethan Hunt and his IMF team must track down a dangerous weapon before it falls into the wrong hands. I didn’t enjoy watching this movie at all, but I’m not sure if it’s because I wasn’t able to see it in Dolby Digital, or because there were 5 people in the same row as me that were either on their phones the whole time or were just straight up talking to each other about random nonsense. There was also one lady with a 50 piece charm bracelet that got up twice during the film that sounded like she had bells...

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“Robots” Review

A duo learn humanity when forced to team up and pursue robot doubles of themselves. Feels like a low budget film, but with some big budget results, it’s a feel good story via the redemption of two pretty terrible people that are doing their best to take advantage of society’s expectations via robotic exploitation. The special effects and camera work are where my perception of the budget comes through, but all of that was saved by a solid story, great acting, and cohesive ending. Buy On Amazon!

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“We Have a Ghost” Review

Finding a ghost named Ernest haunting their new home turns Kevin’s family into overnight social media sensations. But when Kevin and Ernest investigate the mystery of Ernest’s past, they become a target of the CIA. A much more satisfying movie than I thought it was going to be and definitely much more family friendly than it could have been, this is a pretty solid ghost gone right story.

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Chupa

While visiting family in Mexico, teenage Alex gains an unlikely companion when he discovers a young chupacabra hiding in his grandpa’s shed. To save the mythical creature, Alex and his cousins must embark on the adventure of a lifetime. As much of a homage to the 80’s films that inspired it, this is a fun story of a kid trying to find himself by finding his family, then inadvertently finding a goat killing monster hiding in his grandfather’s massive stable on a property that’s got to be valued in the millions. They all act like they’re super poor though, so...

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Bird Box: Barcelona

After an entity of mysterious origin annihilates the world’s population causing those who observe it to take their lives, Sebastián and his daughter begin their own great adventure of survival in Barcelona. A sequel to the movie that had no relation at all to the previous movie is a bold choice for Netflix and “Bird Box Barcelona” has a distinct feeling of a movie that was made only so Netflix could check off a language requirement or two to sooth local government’s nerves about the big American company coming in and steamrolling local culture. Is it a good film? It’s...

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Bird Box

Five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a mother and her two children make a desperate bid to reach safety. Of course I had to watch the movie again after I read the book and having just read the original story I was primed to see the narrative and structural changes that were made to the story, all of which worked in service of the medium that they were in, with Tom changing from just a close friend to a lover and Malorie having a gun and using a blanket at times to be...

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Barbie

Barbie suffers a crisis that leads her to question her world and her existence. Have you seen the first LEGO movie from 2014 yet? Or how about it’s sequel in 2019? If you’ve seen either of those, this will be a slightly less subtle version of those stories about a toy leaving it’s realm to find itself but being betrayed by a loved one while a nefarious Will Ferrell lurks about doing nefarious things that end up not being all that nefarious but are still somewhat concerning. I don’t necessarily have the vocabulary to positively say this is a polemic...

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Oppenheimer

The story of American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the development of the atomic bomb. Not having seen him in any of the trailers, it took me a solid 5 minutes to realize how large of a part Robert Downey Jr was going to have in the story, and I think we’re all a little better that they didn’t lean on him in the marketing. “Oppenheimer” the film is a mostly true story of how the Manhattan project was conceived and run with a large part of the scientific and practical testing happening under J. Robert Oppenheimer’s...

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The New Mutants

Five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves. The final Fox mutant movie, they actually mention the X-men by name, but this team is based off a series from the 80’s that ended in 1991 and featured two different teams, the second of which introduced Cable, the character from the second Deadpool movie. The movie features the first team, who were in the vast majority of the issues from the 100+ issue series and was by far my favorite of the two. The...

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X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix, causing the X-Men to decide if her life is worth more than all of humanity. I’m of the personal opinion that this is a great film with very minor issues, but unfortunately it came out right when the Disney / Fox acquisition was happening and it was neglected from a marketing standpoint and didn’t do as well as I feel it would have it Fox was still advertising it fully. It’s not a bad film for the x-men to go out on and I...

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X-Men: Apocalypse

In the 1980s the X-Men must defeat an ancient all-powerful mutant, En Sabah Nur, who intends to thrive through bringing destruction to the world. There’s some really great elements of this film, but some that were unfortunately too close to previous efforts and were, I think, unfairly judged because they were so similar. They also absolutely drowned Oscar Isaac in his make up and his power set was pretty vague. I did enjoy the Magneto stuff that really gave Fassbender some room to thrive, and thrive he did. The hint of the Phoenix during the end battle was also well...

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X-Men: Days of Future Past

The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants. It wasn’t too strange that they pulled a multiverse / time travel story to combine the two X-men casts and they really stuck the landing with some fixes to the continuity that really did the job for me. It’s a shame that they franchise has fallen fallow in the last few years, but hopefully by 2030 we’ll finally get to see what Disney has to offer with their mutant teams. Buy On Amazon!

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X-Men: First Class

In the 1960s, superpowered humans Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr work together to find others like them, but Erik’s vengeful pursuit of an ambitious mutant who ruined his life causes a schism to divide them. I feels like ages ago, but I bought the 4k collection of the First Class movies and I’m finally getting around to watching them, and I had forgotten how good these films were, especially this first one. If I remember correctly, this came out right as Jennifer Lawrence was making it big and because her star was on the rise, Mystique was given a much...

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Odesza: The Last Goodbye Cinematic Experience

A documentary about the friends who made a name for themselves with electronic music live concerts. I went to see this with my wife at a CMX movie theater that’s clear on the other side of town, one that we normally don’t go to, and it was a bit of a frustrating experience. The first part of that frustration was that I bought the tickets online through Atom Tickets, who emailed me a QR code, which I thought was going to be like AMC’s scan to enter system, but no, CMX wanted us to go to customer service first to...

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Dune: Part One

Dune: Part One: Directed by Denis Villeneuve. With Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa. A noble family becomes embroiled in a war for control over the galaxy’s most valuable asset while its heir becomes troubled by visions of a dark future. The internet had it for just $8, so why not, it’ll also get me ready for the second half of the story that’s due to be released later this year. It’s a perfectly fine movie, but the story is incomplete. Buy On Amazon!

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Independence Day

Independence Day: Directed by Roland Emmerich. With Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell. The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind’s best weapon is the will to survive. Is it really July Fourth if you don’t watch the movie that celebrates the reason for the season? Buy On Amazon!

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The Flash

The Flash: Directed by Andy Muschietti. With Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, Sasha Calle, Michael Shannon. Barry Allen uses his super speed to change the past, but his attempt to save his family creates a world without super heroes, forcing him to race for his life in order to save the future. Went to see this a second time with my wife and my previous feelings still stand, but man some of the CGI the film is just rough. Buy On Amazon!

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Tron

Tron: Directed by Steven Lisberger. With Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan. A computer hacker is abducted into the digital world and forced to participate in gladiatorial games where his only chance of escape is with the help of a heroic security program. I found this brand new at Best Buy for just $4, so I figured it was time to add the blu-ray to my collection. I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve owned it, and other than a commemorative laserdisc I have up on a shelf, it doesn’t look like I’ve owned a watchable...

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All-Star Superman

All-Star Superman: Directed by Sam Liu. With James Denton, Christina Hendricks, Anthony LaPaglia, Edward Asner. After being poisoned by sun radiation, a dying Superman decides to fulfill his lifelong dreams while Lex Luthor has his own agenda. Based on a pretty interesting comic book series, this movie doesn’t capture the same energy that the comic series did. It’s a good enough effort though, so if you don’t have the energy to read the comics, this is a perfectly fine substitute. Buy On Amazon!

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Armageddon

Armageddon: Directed by Michael Bay. With Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler. After discovering that an asteroid the size of Texas will impact Earth in less than a month, NASA recruits a misfit team of deep-core drillers to save the planet. We watched this on the Fourth of July because when we watched Deep Impact my wife was insistent that this was the better of the two comet impact disaster films, which I disagree on several points. The one point that I conceded was that the orchestral soundtrack, as well as the pop music included, was superior...

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Deep Impact

Deep Impact: Directed by Mimi Leder. With Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni, Elijah Wood, Vanessa Redgrave. A comet is discovered to be on a collision course with Earth. As doomsday nears, the human race prepares for the worst. This is a good film to capture the technology and way people were living right before the turn of the millenium, with the news of a giant comet heading towards earth not being known because there were internet problems at the observatory and the pop3 email box wouldn’t load, so the scientist plopped the data onto a 3.5 inch floppy and was driving...

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The Last Starfighter

The Last Starfighter: Directed by Nick Castle. With Kay E. Kuter, Dan Mason, Lance Guest, Dan O’Herlihy. High schooler Alex Rogan conquers the Starfighter video game, only to find out it was just a test, and is transported to another planet. He has been recruited to join a team of the best starfighters to defend their world from the attack. Recently released by Arrow Video in 4k / HDR and originally released in 1984 this film still holds up by ever measure that I could apply to it. The music is still unique and interesting, the plot is captivating, and...

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Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny: Directed by James Mangold. With Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas, Karen Allen. Archaeologist Indiana Jones races against time to retrieve a legendary artifact that can change the course of history. A great Indiana Jones movie without any of the things that made me so sad about The Crystal Skull. We still have some really unfortunate CGI, but the story, acting, and music are all spot on. Buy On Amazon!

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Directed by Steven Spielberg. With Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Shia LaBeouf. In 1957, Indiana Jones becomes entangled in a Soviet plot to uncover the secret behind mysterious artifacts known as the Crystal Skulls. Every time I watch this film I find more and more to enjoy, but the things I didn’t like are still just as bad (the fridge, the vine swinging, ugh). The ultimate concept of the crystal skull actually works in context of the franchise, but the overly wrought CGI (those gophers, ugh) and nonsensical stuff still...

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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: Directed by Steven Spielberg. With Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Denholm Elliott, Alison Doody. In 1938, after his father goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, Indiana Jones finds himself up against the Nazis again to stop them from obtaining its powers. Third of the series and it’s a great film. Buy On Amazon!

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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: Directed by Steven Spielberg. With Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Ke Huy Quan, Amrish Puri. In 1935, Indiana Jones is tasked by Indian villagers with reclaiming a rock stolen from them by a secret cult beneath the catacombs of an ancient palace. Is this one better than the second one? In some ways, I’d say yes, but in others, no. It’s a much more entertaining adventures, but there are so many unfortunate tropes that are just cringe inducing. Buy On Amazon!

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Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark: Directed by Steven Spielberg. With Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey. In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can obtain its awesome powers. Watching all three (maybe four) of the Indiana Jones films before going to see the most recent film tomorrow night. Will it be good? Not as good as this first one! Buy On Amazon!

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Marquis de Sade’s Justine

Marquis de Sade’s Justine: Directed by Jesús Franco. With Klaus Kinski, Romina Power, Maria Rohm, Rosemary Dexter. Penniless and separated from her sister, a beautiful, chaste orphan must endure an endless parade of villains, perverts and degenerates who covet her virtue and life. First, you need to know who Marquis de Sade is to get a vague context of what this movie is about. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marquis_de_Sade Ok, did you read all 50,000 words of that? No? Well the tl;dr is that he was a “French nobleman, revolutionary politician, philosopher and writer famous for his literary depictions of a libertine sexuality as...

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Elemental

Elemental: Directed by Peter Sohn. With Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie, Ronnie Del Carmen, Shila Ommi. Follows Ember and Wade, in a city where fire-, water-, land- and air-residents live together. Another wonderful release from Pixar with all the same loveable tropes that we’ve gotten to know in the nearly 30 years that they’ve been doing movies, you won’t be surprised to hear that some intractable forces find a reason to work together, there’s a significant misunderstanding, but then an emotional resolution that makes you feel warm and fuzzy as you leave the theater. What’s new is an over the top...

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Slumberland

Slumberland: Directed by Francis Lawrence. With Jason Momoa, Marlow Barkley, Chris O’Dowd, Kyle Chandler. A young girl discovers a secret map to the dreamworld of Slumberland, and with the help of an eccentric outlaw, she traverses dreams and flees nightmares, with the hope that she will be able to see her late father again. This is a goofy, fun, yet emotionally taxing story of a family that’s lost a lot of what gave it joy and the journey they go on to regain that spark. If you haven’t seen the new Fast & Furious film, I’m highly suggest watching this...

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Women Talking

Women Talking: Directed by Sarah Polley. With Rooney Mara, Judith Ivey, Emily Mitchell, Kate Hallett. Do nothing, stay and fight, or leave. In 2010, the women of an isolated religious community grapple with reconciling a brutal reality with their faith. There are indeed women talking in this film, and they talk very well. This is essentially a looking glass version of 12 angry men, but instead of murder they’re discussing serial rapists that are a part of their community and not being punished for their horrifying crimes. It’s a simple premise but one difficult to do well, I’ve seen plenty...

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Rescue

Rescue: Directed by Jason Lohman, Ted Tanaka. With Michael Ochotorena, Jason Lohman, Justice Lee, Sophia Ferguson. After the accidental death of Jake’s oldest daughter and wife, Jake’s only daughter Leah, has been abducted by human traffickers. Jake’s experience in martial arts, sets out with little clues in hand, and a kali stick in the other. It’s low budget in a way that I appreciate, it’s obvious the Director had some experience with martial art stick fighting, had a passion for movies, and wanted to give a go at combining the two things. He saved a ton of money by having...

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Polite Society

Polite Society: Directed by Nida Manzoor. With Priya Kansara, Ritu Arya, Renu Brindle, Rekha John-Cheriyan. Ria Khan believes she must save her older sister Lena from her impending marriage. After enlisting her friends’ help, she attempts to pull off the most ambitious of all wedding heists in the name of independence and sisterhood. A fun enough movie that really could have used a bit of polish and editing. The end result is a fun movie with a super weird story going on about a mother’s love for her son, what’s she’ll do to always be there for him, and the...

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The Batman

The Batman: Directed by Matt Reeves. With Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell. When a sadistic serial killer begins murdering key political figures in Gotham, Batman is forced to investigate the city’s hidden corruption and question his family’s involvement. I still feel that the first half of this movie is a complete snooze fest and the soundtrack, specifically the hero track, is overly repetitive and annoying as all get out. Also, everything about the Riddler made me loose interest in the move every time they were talking about his stupid rhymes, jokes, or holiday cards. In fact, I...

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