REVIEW: Jumanji: The Next Level [2019]

Wherever they may be. The first cinematic adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg‘s Jumanji brought the board game’s wild jungle environment to its players’ quiet suburbia for a crazy survival adventure. Jake Kasdan and company could have easily done the exact same thing again with their reboot/sequel hybrid Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle due to over twenty years having past since its predecessor’s release, but they chose to breathe new life into the property instead. And it worked beautifully to earn critical, creative, and financial success. They revamped board and dice…

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REVIEW: The Old Man and the Gun [2018]

I know what I’m doing. Finding an occupation you love is rare when familial and financial responsibilities often dictate a path towards compromise. It’s therefore hard to let one go. Just ask Forrest Tucker, a career criminal in and out of prison since age fifteen whose life consisted of planning his next bank robbery or jailbreak depending on his mailing address at the time. The guy broke out of San Quentin at the age of 70 and then went right back at it for the sheer joy of the act…

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REVIEW: Sorry to Bother You [2018]

More like apples and the Holocaust. If you’re still unsure about whether capitalism brought the United States to its current position with extreme political divisiveness and the fallacy of what’s left of the “American Dream,” rapper-turned-writer/director Boots Riley is here to break it down via a debut as satirically sound as it is insanely, absurdly surreal. The film is Sorry to Bother You and it was born from the artist’s own time as a telemarketer wherein success forced him to change who he was to earn higher sales. By putting…

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REVIEW: Proud Mary [2018]

“No one leaves” The first trailer for Proud Mary hit the internet in July of 2017. After that came a few badass 70s-style James Bond-like posters with star Taraji P. Henson in shadows, gun drawn. It was hard not to get excited for what appeared to be a stylized assassin flick in the vein of John Wick with a bona fide bankable black woman in the lead, Tina Turner’s emotional adaptation of John Fogarty’s anthem rocking in the background. But then the release date hit with a January bow. Critics…

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REVIEW: Beloved [1998]

“Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.” Love creates and destroys. Mix in post-traumatic stress disorder and you’ll never know which until it’s too late. Evil can permeate your soul and color your psychology in ways that merge right and wrong into a singular goal seeking survival. To endure horror is to alter everything you were, your innocence lost no matter how hard you try to reclaim it. The thought of experiencing the nightmare again—or having it find you within a place you believed safe—is enough…

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REVIEW: The Royal Tenenbaums [2001]

“How interesting. How bizarre!” Nothing Wes Anderson does will ever match the brilliance of his third film, The Royal Tenenbaums. A lot of this has to do with when I first saw it back in the winter of 2002, but I say it objectively too. I was still in college, still in the midst of my cinematic education after an adolescence full of mainstream Hollywood, and just starting to realize the potential of my local independent theaters’ reach. I don’t remember why I even went to see it considering I…

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REVIEW: Honeydripper [2007]

“Like a soul being carried away from this life” Would you rather be beholden to a God who asks you to forsake all sinners and those holding you back from salvation or one who forgives and sees the good in humanity, striving hard to make up for mistakes of the past? And what constitutes a sin large enough to need repentance or bad enough to be left for the devil once the reckoning begins? Is vagrancy enough? How about a sheriff rounding up young black men to sell their sentencing…

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REVIEW: Predators [2010]

“Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man” Sometimes you have to be dropped on an alien planet with a bunch of amoral killers to finally discover what it means to be human. The sentiment may be cheesy, but for some reason it works in the reboot/sequel hybrid Predators. I haven’t seen the first two installments, knowing only that Predator is supposedly a classic of the genre and Predator 2 good for a laugh at Danny Glover. After watching both Alien vs. Predator flicks, however, I wouldn’t say…

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REVIEW: Death at a Funeral [2010]

“Always thought he had a little sugar in his tank” It does not take long to show just how exact a remake Neil LaBute’s Death at a Funeral is compared to Frank Oz’s original. Right from the opening credits, an animated journey of the hearse bringing the deceased to his home for final goodbyes, altered mainly by being more literal than its abstract cousin, everything is just as it was. Once the cartoon fades away to leave reality beneath, however, we get to see just where the differences lie. I…

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REVIEW: 2012 [2009]

“We are taking the Bentley” Go figure, Roland Emmerich actually didn’t bore me to death with his latest disaster porn flick, ominously titled 2012. Oh he tried, padding this beast to over two and a half hours, that’s for sure, but for some reason—I can’t believe I’m saying this—it wasn’t horrible. Please don’t expect any critical acclaim or awards coming in, no, I didn’t say it was good, however, if you saw the trailer and thought it would be a successful choice to sit back and stuff your face with…

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REVIEW: Be Kind Rewind [2008]

“To all the films with heart, and soul” Thankfully, Michel Gondry has once again taken his warped mind and melded together a piece of work that is personal and touching, without ever going too far into sentimentality. For all of you who saw the trailer and think that either it will take a one-note joke and beat it to the ground or be out-loud funny at all turns, don’t bother watching because it is neither. I only wish I could have told the four 16-year old girls in front of…

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