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Movie Review: A Dog’s Journey
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A Dog's Journey

A Dog’s Journey
Director: Gail Mancuso
Writer: W. Bruce Cameron, Audrey Wells, Wallace Wolodarsky, Cathryn Michon, Maya Forbes
Cast: Josh Gad, Dennis Quaid, Marg Helgenberger, Betty Gilpin, Kathryn Prescott, Henry Lau
Distributor: Universal Studios
Rated PG | Minutes: 108
Release Date: May 17, 2019

Going into a film like A Dog’s Journey, you can expect to be a little bit overcome with emotion and sentimentality. It’s going to be the kind of thing that plays well with dog owners as it speaks to the nature of how much they care for their beloved companions. A love letter to dog owners at best, its strength lies in presenting that care and love on screen. With the help of obvious manipulation and engineered emotional triggers, this sequel to 2017’s A Dog’s Purpose uses these canines to hit all the sweet spots that will have anyone, even the cynics, shed some tears.

Just don’t expect to share that some love or concern for some of its one-dimensional characters. Check out my full review below.

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Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame
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Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper, Josh Brolin
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
Rated PG-13 | Minutes: 181
Release Date: April 26, 2019

It wouldn’t be the least bit cliche to say that all good things must come to an end. For Marvel Studios, all roads that have been paved by the last 21 movies in the last 11 years have led up to Avengers: Endgame. What directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo have done is truly indescribable. It’s a true gift to the fans who have been a part of this journey since 2008. To put it simply, it is the epic conclusion to an 11-year story arc.

Filled with a wide range of emotions from joy, sorrow, laughter, and excitement, Avengers: Endgame will surely go down as one of the greatest superhero movies of all time. Check out my full review below.

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Movie Review: The Curse Of La Llorona
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The Curse Of La Llorona

The Curse of La Llorona
Director: Michael Chaves
Writer: Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis
Cast: Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Patricia Velásquez, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Roman Christou, Sean Patrick Thomas
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Rated R| Minutes: 93
Release Date: April 18, 2019

Representation matters in film in any genre. It doesn’t matter if it’s a romantic comedy, a superhero tentpole, or a horror, moviegoers have shown that they are hungry for these different kinds of stories, with different perspectives and different cultural touchstones. And as The Conjuring Universe continues to expand, it will mine all sorts of different kinds of creepy folklore and urban legends in order to keep the scares coming.

Such is the case with The Curse of La Llorona, which is based on a Mexican urban legend about the ghost of a woman who drowned her children and now cries while looking for them in the river, often causing misfortune to those who are near or hear her. Utilizing old school camera techniques and deliberately slow pacing, there are plenty of jump scares and nerve-wracking moments. But there is hardly anything else for the audience to care about. My full review below.

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Movie Review: Teen Spirit
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Teen Spirit

Teen Spirit
Director: Max Minghella
Writer: Max Minghella
Cast: Elle Fanning, Rebecca Hall, Zlatko Burić
Distributor: Bleecker Street
Rated PG-13 | 92 Minutes
Release Date: April 12, 2019

It’s a story that we have all seen before. An unfounded talent, usually from a small town, goes mostly unnoticed, who goes on a meteoric rise to fame once they are discovered. These stories aren’t confined to fictional TV shows or movies. Sometimes they are real life to some. And to others, we get to see it play out on reality TV. Such is the premise for Teen Spirit, starring Elle Fanning as a shy young small-town girl who has dreams of stardom, and accomplishes that dream in the most unorthodox of ways.

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Movie Review: Pet Sematary (2019)
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Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
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Pet Sematary Header Image

Pet Sematary
Based on the novel by Stephen King
Screen Story written by Mark Greenberg
Screenplay by Jeff Buhler
Directed by Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer
Starring Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jeté Laurence
Di Bonaventura Pictures | Paramount Pictures
101 minutes | Rated R
Release date: April 5, 2019

Nostalgia is a powerful drug. I saw Mary Lambert’s 1989 big-screen interpretation of Stephen King’s novel Pet Sematary as a child and it was one of the first films to truly horrify me. I will forever be haunted by the ghastly performance of Andrew Hubatsek as the spinal meningitis-stricten Zelda. And the achilles tendon scene made me wear high-top sneakers throughout middle school. Having recently rewatched it as an adult, it’s a very flawed film. The 2019 remake/reimagining directed by Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes) is a much better overall film, although one that will likely not leave the lasting impression of the original.

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Movie Review: Shazam!
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SHAZAM! Header Image

Shazam!
Director: David F. Sandberg
Writer: Henry Gayden
Cast: Asher Angel, Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Faithe Herman, Cooper Andrews, Marta Milans
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Rated PG-13 | Minutes: 132
Release Date: April 5, 2019

The DCEU isn’t the dark and brooding cinematic superhero universe that you first knew when it was launched way back in 2013. Since then it has gone through a series of improvements that have helped build it to become a much better superhero cinematic universe. And now director David F. Sandberg‘s Shazam! starring Asher Angel and Zachary Levi as Billy Batson and the title character, will continue the momentum that was first started by Wonder Woman and then continued with Aquaman.

See, Wonder Woman has this incredible message about female empowerment, while Aquaman surges by centering on a person accepting the life of coming from two different worlds. Each of these films had their own distinct voice while also being superhero films. As for Shazam!, audiences will see a coming of age superhero film that is not only a great origins story but speaks about the importance of foster families. My full review below.

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Movie Review: Dumbo (2019)
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DUMBO

Dumbo (2019)
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Cast: Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Nico Parker, Finley Hobbins, Alan Arkin
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG | Minutes: 112
Release Date: March 29, 2019

Walt Disney Animation Studio’s Dumbo (1941) is considered to be one of the greatest hand-drawn films ever to be released by the animation studio. And like most of the studio’s timeless animated features, it got the live-action adaptation treatment.

Tim Burton, who has worked under the Disney banner numerous times before, gets behind the lens once more to direct this new telling of the titular baby elephant who has all of his unique and whimsical signature touches but also still stays true to the tender, sweet, and warm spirit of the animated original. Though some of its bigger stars don’t add any depth to this reimagining, Dumbo himself and the debuts of Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins bring plenty of charm to the film that reminds us about why we love Disney’s favorite baby elephant and what makes outsiders so endearing. My full review blow.

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Movie Review: Us
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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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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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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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