Movie Review – ‘Cars 3’ Desperately Tries Not to be Cars 2

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If you haven’t been brought up to speed over the last eleven years of Cars history, I’ll help you out. The Cars movie only exists to sell toys. And if you’re parent, it’s likely you know this pretty well by now. Pixar makes bank selling Lightning McQueen and Mater toys. However, as a film franchise, it’s one of the worst Pixar properties in their long and successful film history. Of all their movies, Cars 2 is the only critically panned Pixar film to date.

Usually, when a sequel gets panned, a studio ends it and moves on. But since Cars is a merchandising cash cow, it was only inevitable they’d release the third installment and make it a trilogy. As a side note, it’s a little sad their worst property has a trilogy before The Incredibles. But I digress.

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Movie Review – ‘The Mummy’ is a Hollow Soul Wrapped in a Fun Adventure

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Many who hear the title The Mummy likely think of the 1999 Brendan Fraser movie, its two sequels, and that spinoff with The Rock. This is not that movie. We all know Hollywood loves trends. Endless sequels, remakes, reboots, and breaking up movies into parts, have all been the bread and butter of the industry. The Mummy directed by Alex Kurtzman and starring Tom Cruise hops onto one of those bandwagons (remake) with one additional one. It’s part of the “Dark Universe.”

With the outstanding success by Marvel Studios, cinematic universes are now tickling every Hollywood executives fancy and Universal Studios is no exception. The Mummy is the first of many monster movies to exist within the same cinematic universe. It’s important to note this before getting started. Understanding what a movie sets out to do is a big part of figuring out whether or not it’s any good.
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Movie Review – ‘Captain Underpants’ Overflows with Potty Humor, Delighting Kids and Ignoring Adults

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When I was in third grade, I really wanted to see the movie Blank Check. My parents, on the other hand, weren’t so thrilled. Eventually, I convinced them to rent it for me and I loved it. As expected, they didn’t. Honestly, in my childhood mind, I didn’t understand why. But then I re-watched it this year and it all made total sense. Blank Check is geared entirely to kids in every way imaginable with no logical reasoning built into the story whatsoever. And who remembers Blank Check? No one.

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Movie Review – Despite a Familiar Plot, ‘Alien: Covenant’ is a Worthy Installment

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Alien
has always been one of those hallmark, eye-opening sci-fi movies, not just for its frights but also how it stretched the genre. It’s been decades since the first movie hit theaters and now we’ve had multiple installments. Of those movies, I would argue only three are good: Alien, Aliens, and Prometheus. All the others are either bad or just plain awful.

Alien: Covenant essentially improves on the flaws of Prometheus, uses a tried and true formula that works, and ratchets up the gross and violent scare factor, making it all-in-all a pretty solid film with a horrible Achilles heel; It depends too greatly on past plots and formulas, making it feel like a rehash of all the things we’ve seen in the past. They’re just done better this time.

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Movie Review – ‘Gold’ Fools Everyone with Sloppy Storytelling

If you take a 1000-piece puzzle, put it in front of a small child and watch said child put it together for two hours, that’s what it’s like to watch the movie Gold.

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Movie Review — Row the Boat, Please: ‘Manchester By the Sea’ is Good, But Too Slow to be Great

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Though it ain’t Jimmy Stewart finding life’s true meaning is in the small pleasures, it’s not that far off.

Manchester By the Sea is a grim tale — we see Casey Affleck as Lee grinding it out as a maintenance man for a Boston slumlord, not much going right for him. His daily life consists of getting hammered after a day of drudging work before collapsing in his one room, cell-like apartment. Casey is obviously damaged, and though we don’t yet know what caused it, we are shown glimpses of his gristly past in a series of flashbacks throughout the film.

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Movie Review — Why Not See ‘Why Him?’ This Holiday Season?

why him movie review

It’s no wonder why James Franco has the wrinkles of a smile burned into his star-studded face; he’s played more stoners, scoundrels, and screwballs with an insatiable grimace than anyone can count by this point, and he’s hilarious at doing so. His role as Laird Mayhew in the typical “father v. fiancée” formulaic comedy is the most recent installment to this repertoire of character-types – in fact, it is perhaps his latest and greatest addition.

The strength of his performance comes not only from his surprisingly well-developed character; it also stems from how the other cast members interpret their characters and play off one another, including Bryan Cranston as Franco’s sworn-father-figure-enemy. Tightly wound Ned Fleming (Cranston) is compelled by daughter Stephanie (charmingly portrayed by Zoey Deutch) to give her eccentric boyfriend a chance, to that he reluctantly agrees. Although this commonly adapted and re-adapted formula risks suffering from some overused lines and gags – Why Him? isn’t of exception – the charming chemistry between its cast elevates the could-be tired comedy to a new level, where it preserves the integrity of even some of the more plainly-crude-and-stupid humor in the film.

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Movie Review — Make Way, Make Way! ‘Moana’ is Calling You!

moana movie review

It is no secret that a multi-media conglomerate such as Disney can turn out successful films one after the other. However, there is something to be said for the development and progress the production company has made in its endless bounds towards a more inclusive and culturally rich repertoire.

Moana, the latest installment in the Disney princess movie franchise (although that in itself is up for debate, as the film’s title character will object) is a credible marker in the strides Disney had made – from the gorgeous production design to the catchy tunes that will most likely be playing on repeat, the film reminds us of the wonderful capacity for storytelling and narrative design the production company possesses.

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Movie Review — Seeing ‘Shut In’? Maybe Just Stay In… Instead

A film that sets up anticipation for thrills, but keeps its audience in a dull suspense for two-thirds of its performance, Shut In is certainly ambitious, but it falls prey to lack of commitment.

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Movie Review – Despite Blemishes, ‘The Accountant’ is a Diamond in the Rough

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For directors, filmmaking is like a puzzle they piece together, but sometimes pieces either are missing or they don’t fit exactly the way they need. Director Gavin O’Connor has all the right pieces for The Accountant, from a lead actor in Ben Affleck, solid supporting actors in J.K. Simmons, Anna Kendrick, and Jon Bernthal, and a fantastic cinematographer. The most important and vital piece that refuses to fit is the script, and while it sometimes works, it just doesn’t want to go in all the way, failing to make The Accountant a masterwork.

Written by Bill Dubuque and directed by O’Connor, The Accountant is about Christian Wolff (Affleck), an introverted, autistic man gifted with the ability to do advanced math, but struggles to socialize. When he’s tasked with uncooking the books for a new client, he discovers a thread that unravels, putting people in danger and rising the body count. In the meantime, the Treasury Department lead by Ray King (J.K. Simmons) does everything they can to track Wolff down.

Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat.

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