Posts in 2 STARS
MOVIE REVIEW: The Red Sea Diving Resort

Ari likes define the risky propositions in this movie as having one of these two outcome feelings. Sadly, the movie itself wobbles between the same. Entertainment comes easy in this Netflix-backed programmer and yet with consequently little attention paid to the predominantly off-screen annihilation of an ethnic group. Reality like that makes the glee hard to take. We live in an era where we can do better than solely bravura. Good filmmakers and creative powers can aim for challenging movies that address vital history and still entertain.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Toy Story 4

For each movie or chapter at hand, one has to consider if there is a worthwhile story to tell, one that can justify this new effort being a true necessity.  The key word there is worthwhile.  To more specifically judge a sequel in that regard, one has to look where it came from and where it is going.  Toy Story 4 indeed attempts to advance characters and chooses trajectories, but then look backward and forward and ask about value and placement.  Despite the immense talent shining from the recording studio and the animation workshop, the traits and choices of Toy Story 4 lack being worthwhile.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Men in Black: International

One thing you cannot deny either Tessa Thompson or Chris Hemsworth is personal chemistry. Their magnetism and appeal are automatic, especially when combined together. We’ve seen Thor: Ragnarok and their work in other places. However, that’s not always enough. The material has to have chemistry too to allow the starry elements to combust. This tangential revival doesn’t have it. Tessa and Chris might glow like radium, but Men in Black: International is an inert gas, fleeting and faint.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Godzilla: King of the Monsters

After Gareth Edwards rebooted the legendary Japanese sea monster for a modern audience with a stern seriousness and hefty scope that destroyed all previous campiness connected to the character, this Michael Dougherty-helmed follow-up burns up all of that renewed credibility right away within the first half-hour on through to the exhausting end. Where’s the blame? That would be the humans because the behemoths really come out to play. Bad quippy comedy, nonsensical plot trappings, and unimportant character inclusions are the true weaknesses that defeat these monsters.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Aladdin

Disney and Sherlock Holmes series director Guy Ritchie aimed admirably with an “ambitious and non-traditional” take employing minority casting against whitewashing and colorism. Those skin-deep improvements are progressive, but who are we kidding? The color that mattered most was blue. All the desired diversity in the world paled to who could possibly follow the late Robin Williams? The Genie is the ticket to more than just wishes when it comes to this reboot’s success.

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OVERDUE REVIEW: Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Poppins Returns is the cinematic equivalent of a very pleasant British greeting. The film is completely courteous and undoubtedly well-meaning. It presents itself with manicured poise and a dress-to-impress sense of style. It aims to please and presents the proper success. The movie makes kind contact and bows nicely before you. Mary Poppins Returns is the nicest hat-tip possible, but then is gone as soon as it arrived. It’s merely a grand gesture and not more than that.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Wonder Park

The new animated family flick Wonder Park offers an imagined world of roller coasters and amusement built with as much love as they are creative engineering. The principles of STEM support the cinematic chain lift hills before the drops take audiences through inversions and turns of family feels. Like the railed, ridden inventions it depicts, Wonder Park has clever ideas and solid foundations, but too many trim brakes, suspensions, bumps, dead spots, and other hits of filmed friction slow the glee and weaken the poignant pillars attempted.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Glass

Injections of high interest and good graces were attempted by attaching the hope of the present to an old hit of the past. The big Unbreakable reveal that elevated the otherwise uneven Split is wasted in miscalculations to the point where Glass can be weaken a portion of that first film’s favor. The monotony replacing ambition pushes viewers to be ready for washed-out despondency.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody lives and dies through the vitality of its lead performer. Emmy winner Rami Malek gives a smashing performance that should skyrocket him into the Oscar conversation. He and the film thrive when the volume is turned up and the microphones are on. It withers when it stifles that provocative heat. What should and, frankly, deserved to be a line-blurring and envelope-pushing affair of affairs is, to borrow a pair of friends’ terms, “straight-washed” into something “puritanical” instead of free, open, and, most of all, potent. Allowing something this hot to go lukewarm is a cinematic crime.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Venom

For the purpose to sell tickets, this proper villain is touted to be an response to the world having enough superheroes. The resulting film debunks its marketing by reducing Venom into a do-gooder and carnival attraction opposite of that claim. Never once does your heart pump a little quicker from tension. Never once do any hairs stand up in fright in the presence of what should be a complete badass. Those deficiencies shouldn’t happen with Venom.

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MOVIE REVIEW: A Simple Favor

Putting the women in charge instead of the men in this modern landscape, Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor had the dreamy cast and pulpy source material locked in to invigorate the subgenre. Instead, the Bridesmaids and Ghostbusters comedy specialist and Nerve screenwriter Jessica Sharzar couldn’t help themselves. Satire is their aphrodisiac and they brought it to the wrong bedroom. Kinky and quirky can be fun, but that mix is tenuous at best. Watching A Simple Favor devolve from intrigue into incompetence is like pouring chocolate sauce over a sizzling steak.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Predator

As riotously entertaining as this ensemble bounds and gurgles with glorious and exasperated profanity, they feel lifted from a different movie. On paper, this infusion of infectious comedy counts as a something devilishly new squeezed onto the Predator franchise from the joyless failures of its past. In execution, the actors are having a blast, right down to the F-bomb dropping Tremblay, but the absurdity takes away from nearly all possible mystery and suspense.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Damsel

Kicking up scratchy dust in the western genre, the Zellner Brothers rousingly debunk and demystify that stereotype to create a dark comedy of their own pitch and prickliness. With humor as dry as the topography, Damsel is the kind of film that sneaks up on you like a snake in the weeds. The brothers and fellow stars Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska dance all over this landscape, but the steps keep dawdling when the music runs out.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World to matched all of the definitions of “spectacle,” from the positive connotations of “unusual, notable, or entertaining especially an eye-catching or dramatic public display” on down to the more questionable “an object of curiosity or contempt.” The jungle playground reboot lacked most of the awe and wonder of the Spielberg classic in favor of blockbuster-sized theme park thrills. Its sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, continues the feral frolic only to go a little too far and throw smarts out the window next.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Guardians

There is a different and commendable bravery found in the young and old to carry on the community dream of hearth and home. For the “War to End All Wars” at the beginning of the 20th century, those civilians predominantly included women who were mothers, wives, fiances, and sisters.  Xavier Beauvois’s often lovely foreign film The Guardians from Music Box Films follows the hardscrabble trials and tribulations of one French homestead of ladies during the lean years of World War I

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MOVIE REVIEW: Island Zero

The bloody swirls of cold ocean water where a cute little terrier wearing a fou-fou life vest for his yachtsman owner used to be represents the first pre-credits victim of Island Zero.  That pooch is the first of a cavalcade of casualties to come.  This indie flick of cheesy gore pierced by a stab at serious science works hard to make the most of is resources to craft an involved little creature feature and paranoid thriller.  The shrewdly cleaver Island Zero arrives nationwide on VOD on May 15th from Freestyle Releasing.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Rampage

The dignified art form of cinema may not need a dumb and dazzling film like Rampage, but what escapist audiences do seek out and need are larger-than-life stars.  There will always be an ass-kicking place for brawny men like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on the silver screen.  The former WWE superstar has become the center square of any year’s blockbuster Bingo card. The fully-formed persona that is Dwayne Johnson is always a welcome treat

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