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Movie Review: Us
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Jordan Peele Us Lupita Nyong'o

Us
Director: Jordan Peele
Writer: Jordan Peele
Cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Rated R | Minutes: 116
Release Date: March 20, 2019

The phrase “we are our own worst enemy” is a theme that plays a huge part in Jordan Peele‘s Us. The filmmaker’s sophomore effort walks that fine line between horror and social satire. It examines the human condition and uses scares as a vehicle to take a look at the monsters that lurk beneath our skin and what would happen if it were ever to crawl out of it. The end result is another genre-bending film with something to say. While allegories and metaphors have been a part of the fabric of horror films, Peele knows how to deliver that message with terrifying precision. Check out my full review of Us here below.

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Movie Review: Captain Marvel
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel
Director: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Writers: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Jac Schaeffer
Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Jude Law
Studio: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG-13 | 124 Minutes
Release Date: March 8, 2019

Marvel Studios has come an incredibly long way since they released Iron Man back in 2008. Since then, they’ve firmly established their dominance at the box office and built a very secure fanbase while also expanding their Marvel Cinematic Universe. But even though there are strong female characters within this shared universe, none have actually led a standalone film. That is until now. Now, we have Captain Marvel, a supercharged film that takes flight from the moment it starts and never looks back.

It’s a truly visually stunning effort that has a lot of fun with some 90’s nostalgic vibes and nods to previous Marvel Studio efforts. But it’s something so much more at the same time. This film will be something that inspires and empowers females and young girls to fly higher, further, and faster than they ever did before. Check out my full review of the film here below.

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Movie Review: How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Director: Dean DeBlois
Writers: Dean DeBlois
Cast: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrara, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, Justin Rupple, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson, Kit Harington, F. Murray Abraham
Studio: Universal Pictures
Rated PG | 104 Minutes
Release Date: February 22, 2019

Director Dean DeBlois‘s How To Train Your Dragon films have taken audiences to visually stunning worlds where the skies are filled with dragons and a young Viking named Hiccup, who aspires to follow in his father’s footsteps to become a dragon killer, befriends Toothless, a black night fury. On this journey of self-discovery, Hiccup goes from a clumsy lanky misfit to courageous leader of his tribe. For the past ten years, we’ve seen Hiccup become the hero and leader he was always destined to be. And on this journey, he’s come across choices that would help develop who he is.

But it all comes to an end in this epic, and bittersweet, conclusion. Following what the previous two films have established, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a visually stunning animated feature that ends the franchise on its own terms. Check out the full review here below.

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Film Review: Last One Screaming
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Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
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Last One Screaming movie poster

Last One Screaming
Written and Directed by Matt Devino
Starring Camilla Greenberg, Olivia Mackenzie Smith, Derek Weston, Nick Biron
Runtime: 10 minutes
Assorted Kinds
Released date: February 18, 2019 (YouTube)

Horror short films have become a passion of mine as I began attending more film festivals. Matt Devino’s Last One Screaming played back in December at the New York City Horror Film Festival, continuing a successful festival run. The film takes only ten minutes to leave its mark on a horror fan, playing with genre tropes and conventions and treating the fan with respect. It begins its run on YouTube today.

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Film Review: Uber Ex
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Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
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Uber Ex short film

Uber Ex
Directed by Matt Braunsdorf
Written by Jonathan Marballi
Starring Jonathan Marballi, Paige Lindsay Betts, Jeremy Michaels
Runtime: 16 minutes 30 seconds
Jonny Marbles Films
Release date: February 14, 2019 (Amazon Video Direct & Vimeo)

I first spoke with director Matt Braunsdorf a few years back when his short horror film John the Carpenter played at the New York City Horror Film Festival. I enjoyed the heck out of it and reviewed it for this site. Proving that he can excel in multiple genres, Braunsdorf’s latest short film is far from the monster-in-the-woods thriller of JtC, and rather a romance right in time for Valentine’s Day. Uber Ex is 16 minutes and makes for a good cuddle session with your significant other. It’s realistic, but ultimately charming, with three solid performances and an excellent score.

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Movie Review: Happy Death Day 2U
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Happy Death Day 2U

Happy Death Day 2U
Director: Christopher Landon
Writers: Christopher Landon
Cast: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Phi Vu, Suraj Sharma, Ruby Modine
Studio: Universal Pictures
Rated PG-13 | 100 Minutes
Release Date: February 13, 2019

Christopher Landon‘s first Happy Death Day was a darkly fun and hilarious slasher spin on the Groundhog Day concept. In it, a vain and selfish Tree (Jessica Rothe) found herself reliving her murder on her birthday over and over again. Though there wasn’t much more to it than that, it was still smart enough to borrow, blend, and subvert elements from other slasher and time loop films to make for a very entertaining guilty pleasure watch. Along with Rothe’s energetic performance, audiences stayed glued to the screen to watch how she would get out of her time loop and figure out who her killer was.

Now everyone is back for Happy Death Day 2U. While the sequel’s humor may not work quite as well as it did in the first, and it does stray away from the slasher mystery bit, it does take Tree’s character arc in a new direction by taking a surprisingly emotional turn and using a more geeked out concept by adding in some Back to the Future Part II to keep the deja vu concept going.

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Movie Review: Karyn Kusama’s ‘Destroyer’
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Movie Review: Karyn Kusama’s ‘Destroyer’ starring Nicole Kidman

Destroyer
Director: Karyn Kusama
Screenwriter: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Sebastian Stan, Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany, Bradley Whitford, Jade Pettyjohn, Scoot McNairy
Distributor: Annapurna Pictures
Rated R | 123 Minutes
Release Date: February 1, 2019

Directed by Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body, The Invitation), Destroyer is a gritty crime thriller starring Nicole Kidman (Big Little Lies, The Hours) as a hardened detective on an obsessive and destructive mission to find a murderer and make peace with her tortured past.

Veteran LAPD detective Erin Bell’s (Kidman) grueling journey begins when she arrives on the scene of a John Doe murder and informs the responding officers that she knows the victim’s identity. The victim is a member of a criminal gang she once joined as a young undercover FBI agent; an assignment which ended disastrously and has taken a heavy toll on her life.

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Movie Review: Mary Poppins Returns
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Poppins Returns
Director: Rob Marshall
Writers: David Magee
Cast: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep
Studio: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG | 129 Minutes
Release Date: December 19, 2018

The idea of continuing the story of Mary Poppins may seem absurd at first. After all, it has been 54 years since the original film, starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, was released. And now, Disney has released a sequel,
Mary Poppins Returns. Of course, there are new younger stars to appear to take over some of the previous roles left behind by the cast of the first film. But that doesn’t mean much has changed. Emily Blunt carries on the spirit of the eponymous character, played originally by Andrews, and makes it her own. Additionally, Lin-Manuel Miranda is a pure joy to watch as his eyes light up with child-like wonder when Poppins returns.

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Movie Review: Aquaman
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Aquaman

Aquaman
Director: James Wan
Writers: David Leslie, Johnson-McGoldrick, Will Beall
Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman
Studio: Warner Bros.
Rated PG-13 | 143 Minutes
Release Date: December 21, 2018

Aquaman may be one of the most iconic superheroes in the DC lineup, but the character himself has a reputation for being one of the silliest superheroes. Furthermore, his introduction in Zach Snyder’s Justice League did not do him any favors. That being said, Jason Momoa‘s portrayal was a radical change for the one-dimensional pasty white hero. Instead, we got something that truly represented the character’s struggle of living in two worlds while acknowledging his overall cheesiness.

This helped lay the foundation for his own standalone film. Directed by James Wan, Aquaman sees the return of Momoa playing the aquatic eponymous hero in a globe-trotting superhero epic. By embracing many of the title character’s foibles and cheesiness, the film turns out to be one of the best DCEU entries to date. And while that is an easy bar to cross over, its world-building and willingness to have fun expands the cinematic universe and opens the door for the DCEU to explore bold and new possibilities. Check out my review of Aquaman here below.

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DVD Review: Elf Buddy’s Sing & Cheer Along Edition
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Olympus Athens   |  @   |  
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Elf Buddy’s Sing & Cheer Along Edition review

Elf
Buddy’s Sing & Cheer Along Edition
DVD
Directed by Jon Favreau
Written by David Berenbaum
Starring Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Edward Asner, Daniel Tay, Faizon Love, Peter Dinklage, Leon Redbone
Warner Brothers
Not Rated | 97 minutes
Release Date: November 27, 2018

Elf is the story of Buddy (Will Ferrell), an orphan who as a baby, crawled into Santa’s bag and accidentally went to the North Pole. One of the elves (Bob Newhart) decides to raise him as his own. 30 years later, Buddy is the biggest elf in the toyshop and not very good at making toys. He accidentally overhears that not only is he not an elf, but he is a human and his father is in New York City. Not only that, he is on the “naughty list.” Hoping to find him anyway for a special reunion, Buddy begins his journey to New York for Christmas.

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