MEDIA APPEARANCE: David Ehrlich's IndieWire Critics Survey on June 25, 2019

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: With 2019 almost half-over, what is the best movie performance of the year so far?

With June soon swooning to July, critics will start making their halfway and “so far” lists of films and performances. David Ehrlich put performances on the table to measure for this week’s survey and an outstanding list was built. I love the selection of Lupita Nyong’o from Us. She would be my 1A choice, but I was wowed this weekend by Ann Lupo in a little movie call In Reality which just won the top award of the debut Rom Com Fest in Los Angeles. Give this week’s survey a look.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Guest on the "Kicking the Seat" podcast talking "Toy Story 4"

It with Ian Simmons of the Kicking the Seat podcast where I no longer feel like an island after watching and review Toy Story 4. He and I sat next to each other at the screening and both shared a great deal of chagrin afterwards. We put that together for his latest podcast episode against the positive interventions of David Fowlie of Keeping It Reel and Emmanuel Noisette of E-Man’s Movie Reviews. In addition to talking out the highs and lows of the movie, I was invited to share my experience this past week of being one of the extremely few “Rotten” Rotten Tomatoes reviews for Toy Story 4. Great conversations here for my 20th appearance on Ian’s fine sh Give it a listen!

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EVENT: Scenes from the "Toy Story 4" Ultimate RV event at Navy Pier

This past Friday in Chicago, the “Toy Story 4” Ultimate RV event came to Polk Plaza area of Navy Pier. Sponsored by GoRVing.com, the movie-themed event had an alluring array of free activities. Contestants young and old could spin wheels, take selfies with “Forky,” toss snakes into boots, or throw rings around rockets to win various prizes, Toy Story swag, and even Fandango vouchers for free movie tickets. Every Movie Has a Lesson (and my eager family) was able to get an early peek at the festivities and wanted to share some sights and sounds from the sunny display on a perfect June morning, just in time for the movie’s box office debut.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: David Ehrlich's IndieWire Critics Survey on June 18, 2019

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: Best animation studio. Ghibli or Pixar. Pick one and only one and why.

Full disclosure: I’ve never seen a Studio Ghibli film, but I know their reputation and impact. I know what they stand for and how much they have inspired other creators, including the fine folks at Pixar. With Pixar settling too often for sequels lately (and this was before Toy Story 4), I feel like a small measure of their quality and importance has faded or shrunk a little. I voted on principle in the blind to what I felt was more important.

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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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EVENT: "Toy Story 4" Ultimate RV comes to Chicago's Navy Pier this Friday

Sponsored by GoRVing, the “Toy Story 4” RV is rolling into Chicago’s Navy Pier and bringing the ultimate summer road trip event on Friday, June 21 from 10am to 2pm. With the release of Pixar’s newest family film, start your summer off right with Woody and the gang with a carnival including the “To Infinity and Beyond” rocket ring toss, “There’s a Snake in My Boot” bean bag toss, a prize wheel with “Toy Story 4” plush prizes and tickets to see the film in theaters. Guests can also jump in the “Forky photo booth” to take a picture featuring the gang’s newest friend to join the fun.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Guest on the "Kicking the Seat" podcast talking "Men in Black: International"

Three-fourths of the “comic counsel” crew of Ian' Simmons’ Kicking the Seat podcast came together to talk after F. Gary Gray’s Men in Black: International. Emmanuel Noisette of E-Man’s Movie Reviews, Ian, and myself vented on how this summer is not making lemonade with the lemons that have been rolling through this summer. Our surprise and exasperation really shows from the retread tone and mostly vacant fun of this franchise reboot. Listen to our podcast session and commit it to memory!

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NEWS UPDATE: "Every Movie Has a Lesson" has joined 25YL

In my social media circles of participation, I discovered members of the website 25YL, which is short for “25 Years Later.” They specialize in theory and analysis across personal experiences and creative influences spanning all sorts of media forms and genres. I answered an open call for writers and my press credential standing here in Chicago helps me see films early and give the site timely content. Look for my mainstream and Netflix Original film reviews appearing often as a staff writer.

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INFOGRAPHIC: Mapped: The Real Life Settings Of Your Fave Fictional Characters

The setting for a good story is as crucial as the characters that inhabit it. Wherever that fictional place may be; be it small town America or the dark and brooding alleys of Gotham City, the key factor is always believability. With that in mind, it's no surprise that some of the most famous movie, TV and comic book locations were inspired by real life locations. The fine folks at Vibrant Doors have scoured the internet (and our comic book collection), following the clues and fan theories to pinpoint the real life locations of some of fiction's greatest places. Enjoy!

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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: Starfish

The opening credits of Starfish may drop the “based on a true story” prompt, but every moment of this twisty science fiction slow boiler feels like the filmed account of a racing mind. Rather than dwelling on footholds to societal norms, isolation reigns here, with all of the flutters, visions, shifts, daydreams, and nightmares possible. Dangling the mysteries of the fallout from an off-screen cataclysmic event, the mental maelstrom of Starfish is eerie, imaginative, and highly impactful.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Plus One

Here in June, our 2019 calendar has reached the peak of the annual wedding season. Some love it. Some hate it. Some are even participating. No matter where you sit, it’s a roller coaster for all ages. The traditions of nuptials and romantic comedies are keenly and boisterously observed and challenged by Plus One, the feature film debut of the writing and directing team of Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer that premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Every moment to cringe and every moment to cherish swirl together with very appealing zest. Plus One plays locally in the Chicagoland area exclusively at the AMC Barrington 24 location starting on June 14th.

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INFOGRAPHIC: The films of Bill Murray

Folks, let me introduce you again to John Rooney. He is an illustrator from Ireland. Last year, John complete a project in which he watched every single Nicolas Cage film for 89 days and did a caricature sketch for each role. The results of range and variety are striking and I was happy to promote his work with a post here on Every Movie Has a Lesson. He is back again with a new piece on Bill Murray, right in time for The Dead Don’t Die. His phenomenal work is worth sharing below and a his art is available for sale on Etsy!

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: David Ehrlich's IndieWire Critics Survey on June 10, 2019

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: What is the best movie ever about TV?

This week’s pick for me was an instant no-brainer. Sidney Lumet’s masterpiece satire has evolved from being a sarcastic time capsule to a modern-day cautionary tale we’re nearly living. I do have to love these other picks included this week and I most especially need to clear out that blind spot for Broadcast News. Summer break can’t get her soon enough.

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: How Does It Start

In the provocative short film How Does it Start, a young teen girl in 1983 named Rain, played by Lola Wayne Villa, has been introduced to topic of sex without such positive elder counsel. The wheels have turned. The curiosities have sparked. The peers have stoked the fire. The triggers have all gone off and this girl wants the mystery of what has been made out to be so taboo and important to growing up as a real woman.

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REWIND REVIEW: Captain Marvel

Arriving on home media this week from Disney is their glowing smash hit Captain Marvel starring Academy Award winner Brie Larson and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.  The film itself is a forthright winner for introducing this powerful and important new character and the disc release gives us a little peek as to how it all came to be.  Keep an eye out on store shelves Tuesday, June 11th to pick up your copy in 4K, Blu-ray, or both. Here’s a quick advance look at what the home edition has to offer, just as long as you can wait through a quick period-accurate Windows 95 loading screening (nice touch).

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Guest on the "Kicking the Seat" podcast talking "Dark Phoenix"

The “comic counsel” dais of Ian' Simmons’ Kicking the Seat podcast was burnt to the ground and resurrected from the ashes at the ShowPlace ICON X theater after watching the culminating send-off that was supposed to be Dark Phoenix, the final Fox X-Men film. David Fowlie of Keeping it Reel, Emmanuel Noisette of E-Man’s Movie Reviews, myself, and four hot new microphones makes this post-film discussion sizzle. Come and enjoy our back-and-forth. Critic and proud!

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MOVIE REVIEW: Dark Phoenix

Whereas Days of Future Past was a face-lifting and jump-starting franchise savior, Dark Phoenix following X-Men: Apocalypse has become the moment of collapse. And it’s not solely because Fox was bought by Disney. Simon Kinberg and company have run out of juice to tell an interesting story sufficiently after multiple chances. When you watch this new movie and actually miss the gaudy theatrics of X-Men: The Last Stand because it at least tried, that’s a very surprising and telling thing.

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