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Movie Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Star Wars: The Last Jedi starring Daisy Ridley

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Director: Rian Johnson
Screenwriter: Rian Johnson
Cast: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG-13| 152 Minutes
Release Date: December 15, 2017

There truly is a Star Wars for every generation. Each and every one of them is unique in there own way and a fantastical commentary on the changing times. So as we enter a future where diversity, inclusivity, and feminism are becoming widely accepted, we are going to see a new Star Wars that speaks to that. So as J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens is that spark in feminism for Rey and Leia, and diversity in Finn and Poe, Rian Johnson‘s Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the fire that burns ever so brightly and shines a light on those themes ignited by its predecessor.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a Star Wars film through and through, and it is something else entirely at the same time. To say that this sequel will change the way you look at Star Wars really is just selling the film short. What it does is push its boundaries and test its limits by doing things no other Star Wars film has done in the past, both on a story front and on a visual level. The result is a near-flawless film that moves with fluidity and strikes with visual excitement. My full review below.

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Movie Review: The Shape Of Water
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones in the film THE SHAPE OF WATER. Photo by Kerry Hayes. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

The Shape of Water
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Screenwriter: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, Octavia Spencer
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Rated R | 123 Minutes
Release Date: December 15, 2017

A native of Guadalajara, Mexico, Guillermo del Toro was fascinated as a child by fairy tales, ghost stories, and monster movies that ignited his imagination and compelled him to tell his own stories. When he started writing and directing films, those influences laid the foundation for del Toro’s uniquely expressive approach to genre filmmaking – a return to the dark romanticism of Universal horror films like 1931’s Frankenstein and Dracula.

Best known for his three Spanish-language films that upend conventional genre storytelling, Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone, and Pan’s Labyrinth, del Toro weaves vivid phantasmagorias that capture the beauty and the horror of the human experience. His supernatural epics are equally as inventive, from Blade II and the Hellboy series, to Pacific Rim and his gothic romance, Crimson Peak. His new film, The Shape of Water, is the culmination of del Toro’s career thus far – the summation of everything the filmmaker has learned, refined and perfected.

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Movie Review: The Disaster Artist
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Movie Review: The Disaster Artist, starring James Franco as Tommy Wiseau

The Disaster Artist
Director: James Franco
Screenwriter: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Cast: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Ari Graynor, Josh Hutcherson, Jacki Weaver
Distributor: A24 | Warner Bros.
Rated R | 105 Minutes
Release Date: December 8, 2017

“Everybody betrayed me! I’m fed up with this world!”

In 2003, an aspiring actor and filmmaker became a cultural phenomenon with one of the worst movies ever made — The Room, a torrid melodrama about a love triangle between a banker, his deceptive fiancée, and his conflicted best friend. The film was written, directed, and produced by Tommy Wiseau, an enigmatic outsider with dyed-black hair and an impenetrable foreign accent who also stars as the lead, Johnny.

Hollywood’s curiosity in the independent film was piqued when Wiseau erected a billboard to promote his six million dollar passion project, promising a drama on the level of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire. Now, the unbelievable true story behind The Room — often referred to as “The Citizen Kane of Bad Movies” — is chronicled in a movie-about-a-movie directed by James Franco, who also stars as Wiseau.

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Movie Review: Pixar’s ‘Coco’
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Pixar Coco

Coco
Director: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina
Screenwriter: Adrian Molina, Matthew Aldrich
Cast: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Renée Victor, Ana Ofelia Murguia, Alanna Ubach, Jaime Camil, Sofía Espinosa, Edward James Olmos
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG | 109
Release Date: November 22, 2017

From the moment the music starts, Pixar is telling its audiences that they are in for something new, something inspiring, and culturally beautiful. That doesn’t even really begin to describe what a wonderful film Coco is, but by the time the end credits are finished, it will be hard not to notice how many tears have already been shed. Pixar’s latest animated film is a profoundly beautiful celebration of culture, family, and music, which is very important at a time when politics have painted the subjects as criminals. Here we see characters of Mexican heritage, and even though the film is animated and the setting is fictional, everything about it feels entirely human. Check out the full review of Coco here below.

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Movie Review: Justice League
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Justice League Banner

Justice League
Director: Zack Snyder
Screenwriter: Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J. K. Simmons, Ciarán Hinds
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Rated PG-13 | 120
Release Date: November 22, 2017

It’s easy to go into watching Justice League with very low expectations considering how the entire DCEU is filled with bad to god-awful films, with the exception of Wonder Woman. That film was a huge step forward in the right direction for the superhero universe, as it used themes of hope and optimism to do some course correction.

But with Justice League looking like it did in the trailers, one would think that the film would be a step back. However, that isn’t the case. While it is flawed, Justice League has a lighter tone, is funnier, and isn’t as bleak as some of its predecessors. That being said, it is a DCEU film. But at least it is a DCEU film that takes another step in the right direction. Check out my full review below.

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Movie Review: Wonder
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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wonder review header

Wonder
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Screenwriter: Stephen Chbosky
Cast: Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay, Izabela Vidovic, Mandy Patinkin, Daveed Diggs, Noah Jupe, Danielle Rose Russell
Distributor: Lionsgate
Rated PG | 113
Release Date: November 17, 2017

Based on the children’s novel of the same name, Wonder inspires with its virtuous themes that tell its audience to do the right thing. On the surface, Stephen Chbosky‘s film looks like one of those schmaltzy films so formulaic that you probably already know that it is going to hit all the right emotional notes at all the right times.

But sometimes predictability is not so bad, and underneath that surface, there is something honest and heartfelt about it. There is a refreshing message that reminds us when given the choice to be right or be kind, we should be kind. Check out my full review of Wonder below.

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Movie Review: Suburbicon
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Suburbicon starring Matt Damon

Suburbicon
Director: George Clooney
Screenwriter: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, George Clooney, Grant Heslov
Cast: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, Noah Jupe, Leith M. Burke, Karimah Westbrook
Distributor: Paramount Studios
Rated R | 105
Release Date: October 27, 2017

On the surface, Suburbicon is supposed to be this social satire set in the heart of late 1950s suburbia, where the little quiet idyllic neighborhood is the epitome of the American Dream. Even in the film’s opening, we see a sales pitch that tries to convince the audience that Surburicon is the place to live with its family-friendliness, perfect homes, and genuinely idyllic atmosphere. At this point, the film turns itself into a satiric commentary on race relations. From there it morphs into a murder-mystery comedy. And neither of these plots has anything to do with each other. So rather than working together cohesively, the two plots are at war with each other, making the film feel like it was shot separately and then stitched back up together for whatever this monstrosity is.

Check out the full review for Suburbicon here below.

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Movie Review: Creep 2
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Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
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Creep 2 Mark Duplass

Creep 2
Directed by Patrick Brice
Written by Patrick Brice & Mark Duplass
Starring Desiree Akhavan, Mark Duplass, Karan Soni
Distributor: Orchard Entertainment
Release date: October 24, 2017 Video On Demand

In 2014, Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass co-wrote and starred in a low-budget indie horror film called Creep. It lived up to its name it spades as both Duplass was a creep and the film was creepy as hell. Brice and Duplass crafted a near-perfect example of minimalist filmmaking. It featured two actors, essentially one large set, and a “script” full of improv. The plot: a videographer answers a Craigslist ad to film the last day of a dying man’s life, leading to a one-camera feel light on editing and cuts, and putting the audience right there amongst the uncomfortableness. And Mark Duplass upped the “creep” factor to 11, creating what just might become a new horror icon. Now, Brice and Duplass return with Creep 2.

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Movie Review: Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Thor: Ragnarok header

Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok
Director: Taika Waititi
Screenwriter: Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG-13 | 130 Minutes
Release Date: November 5, 2017

Though the Marvel’s Thor franchise has long been considered one of the weakest franchises in the MCU, it is by far the funniest. It never took itself too seriously, as it should considering this is a superhero film dealing with an Asgardian god trying to navigate through human customs and cultures. And perhaps its strength is also its greatest weakness. But its success spawned not only multiple sequels, but Thor’s inclusion in other films like the Avengers and Doctor Strange. So while we know what to expect from a Thor film, it finally took two of them to fully realize what it should have fully embraced.

Taika Waititi‘s Thor: Ragnarok is a fantastic Thor flick from start to finish. Full of humor and action, it is true sequel to the first film by recognizing that it is a Thor film, while being tons of fun, whimsical, humorous, and then some. In a lot of ways, the film is a reinvention of the franchise, using its heavy metal look to give the character a surprising (and in some cases) a much-needed facelift. It can be a bit flawed thanks in part to the threads that are forced to connect itself to the MCU. But since that will always be an element in play for all these films, it doesn’t take away from the fun of it. My full review below.

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Movie Review: The Snowman
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Michael Fassbender The Snowman trailer

The Snowman
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Screenwriter: Hossein Amini, Peter Straughan
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Val Kilmer, Toby Jones, David Dencik, James D’Arcy, J.K. Simmons
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Rated R | 119 Minutes
Release Date: October 20, 2017

A good mystery thriller has us on the edge of our seats and has us convinced we know who the criminal is at some point in the movie only to realize it wasn’t who we thought it was. It builds upon itself with great characters giving more than terrific performances. And it has a story that keeps us engaged for the entire duration.

But Tomas Alfredson‘s adaptation of Jo Nesbø‘s The Snowman is anything but the aforementioned qualities. It is sporadic, horribly paced, and lacks any sort of structure. Instead, we are given a fairly predictable film that feels like it was just piled on top of each other trying to pass itself off as a decent movie. My full review below.

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