Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Marvel’s Black Panther Rules (Literally and Figuratively)!

Marvel’s Black Panther – T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman_ – Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios.

Marvel’s Black Panther follows the basic plot structure of the studio’s other movies (hero arises; hero faces obstacles and loses; hero finds a way to overcome said obstacles) – but there are only so many stories (back in high school literature class the number seven was mentioned), so the differences have to come, largely, from point of view.

Black Panther’s point of view is unique – a superhero who is the latest in his country’s line of hereditary monarchs – and African.
Marvel may have taken its time to bring the Black Panther to the screen, but it took the time to get it right.

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This Is (And Isn’t) Your Grandma’s Peter Rabbit!

Peter Rabbit – Peter Rabbit (James Corden) – Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures/Sony Animation..

When I came out of an advance screening for Peter Rabbit I would have gladly paid to see it again right away.

The hybrid film (live-action/CGI) features a mostly CGI cast of animals interacting with human beings in the real world and it’s done so well that you buy in immediately.

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12 Strong: The Green Berets for This Generation!

12 Strong – (L-R) Colenel Mulholland (William Fichtner), Warrant Officer Hal spencer (Michael Shannon), Captain Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth) and Lt. Col. Bowers (Rob Riggle) – Photo by David James/Courtesy of Warner Bros.

12 Strong (based on the book Horse Soldiers, a vastly superior title) is The Green Berets for today (that is not a compliment) – with Chris Hemsworth starring as John Wayne.

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Paddington 2: A Charm Offensive To Bring Smiles to All Ages!

Paddington 2 – Paddington Brown (voiced by Ben Whishaw) – Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

If the quality could be maintained, it would be lovely to open each new movie year with a Paddington movie

Paddington 2 brings the same sharpness of detail, sense of whimsy, and whiff of danger that made Paddington a global hit.

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The Shape of Water – Guillermo del Toro’s Romantic Fable Soars!

The shape of Water – Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) and the Amphibious Man (Doug Jones) – Photo by Kerry Hayes/Courtesy of Fox Searchlight.

There are noticeable elements from Beauty and the Beast, Creature from the Black Lagoon and even Splash to be found in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water – but filtered through del Toro’s unique imagination the film is far more than the sum of its parts.

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle: High Energy Fun!

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – (l to r) Franklin “Moose” Finbar  (Kevin Hart),  Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson),  Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan) and  Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black) – Photo by Frank Masi/Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle may be the most authentic video gaming movie I’ve ever seen. Match that with a Breakfast Club/Indiana Jones vibe and the result is two hours of pure, high energy fun.

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The Greatest Showman Is Slick, Sleek and Superficial!

The Greatest Showman – P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) – Photo by Nico Tavernise/Courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

The Greatest Showman is a movie musical about P.T. Barnum – the founder of America’s first circus. Movie musicals are not known for their historical accuracy, but – considering that there are many biographies of the man which paint him as anywhere from an honest entrepreneur to a cynical con man making a fortune by exploiting the pain of his collection of freaks and oddities – this film is far too superficial. Except for a few exceptional songs…

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi – The Greatest Jedi Mind Trick Ever!!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Rey (Daisy Ridley) – Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi fills the same basic space in the latest trilogy of chapters that The Empire Strikes Back filled in the original trilogy. In some ways it follows the template of that film, but not all.

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Another Gem in Martin McDonagh’s Collection!

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) – Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight.

After seven months of no results from the police, Mildred Hayes posts three billboards outside the town of Ebbing, Missouri in an attempt to prod local law enforcement to do something/anything more.

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Coco – A Thanksgiving Treat for the Whole Family!

With Disney•Pixar’s Coco, the studio has reclaimed its best of the best status. Coco is an instant classic – and the studio’s most mature and intelligent film yet.

When aspiring musician Miguel ends up in the Land of the Dead in Disney•Pixar’s Coco, his family takes him to the Department of Family Reunions where a busy clerk informs him that he’s cursed. To return to the Land of the Living, Miguel will need a magical marigold petal and the blessing of a family member—but, according to the clerk, the family member can include any condition she likes—even forbidding music forever.

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