Seven non-scary films to enjoy during fall

Autumn has officially started and horror movie season is approaching with Halloween on the horizon.

With that said, not all films watched during the fall months have to be scary. There are plenty out there from other genres that are great to watch in September, October and November, and I’ve included some of my favorites here.

Just as a note, one of my favorite parts of fall is the sport of football being played. However, I didn’t want to get this list too bogged down and have it become a sports movie column. I did write a piece about good college football films, though, which you can read here.

With that said, here’s the list.
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REVIEW: Maniacal third act makes ‘Malignant’ worth watching

“Malignant” may not be the scariest movie of the year, or of the past few years, but what it leads up to certainly makes it a memorable horror experience.

The flick follows the story of Madison (Annabelle Walis), a woman with an unclear past who lives in Seattle with her Husband. It’s clear from the get-go that their marriage is strained and the film opens with them having a fight.

That night, Madison’s husband is murdered and she has a vision of it happening. From that day on, more murders begin taking place and each time Madison has horrible visions of it taking place. As this happens, Madison begins to dig more into her past to see what the connection is.

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REVIEW: ‘Shang Chi’ is sufficient, but not sensational

In 2008, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie featured the Ten Rings as an antagonistic organization.

More than a decade later, we finally get a look at the group’s true leader, and his family.

Tony Leung stars as Xu Wenwu in “Shang-Chi,” a man who has lived for centuries thanks to his 10 magical rings he wields. For most of his life, Wenwu had been focused on conquest, leading an army known as the Ten Rings. However, this changes when he meets Ying Li, a woman from a mystical land.

Wenwu ends his warrior ways as he gets married to Ying Li and they have two children, one being Shang Chi (Simu Liu). However, following the loss of a family member, Wenwu once again takes his old mantle while also training Shang Chi to be a skilled warrior. But when the time comes for Shang Chi to go out on Ten Rings a mission, he opts instead to leave his family and the Ten Rings organization and start a new life in the United States.

At the movie’s start, though, Shang Chi’s old life comes calling.

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2021 Summer Movie Awards

After a summer blockbuster season at home, audiences were able to return to something closer to normal in 2021 with a mix of digital and theatrical releases.

Great movies were available both at home and the cinema in the last several months and with the season now over, it’s time to look back and give credit to the best of them.

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REVIEW: Poor ending negates potential of ‘Night House’

There are some movies where the execution of an ending can be so integral that it can make or break the feature.

That’s the case with “The Night House,” and not in a good way.

Rebecca Hall plays Beth in this thriller, a high school teacher who recently lost her husband to suicide. Beth is trying to move on from the tragedy, but she continues to reside at the home her husband, Owen (Evan Jonigkeit), built on the lake, which leaves her with constant reminders.

Those reminders begin to manifest as visions for Beth, who begins to see frightening things related to her late husband in the midnight hours. Because of what she sees in the night, she begins looking into whether her husband had a secret life or not.

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REVIEW: Compelling and creepy ‘Candyman’ is a success

Sometimes, modern horror sequels to older properties can be massive disappointments, such as 2013’s “Texas Chainsaw.”

Fortunately, that’s not the case with the new “Candyman,” penned by Jordan Peele.

This film serves as a sequel to the original “Candyman” from 1992. This time around, the protagonist is Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), an artist living in Chicago with his girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris). Finding himself in artist block territory lately, McCoy decides to visit a northern Chicago housing project for inspiration.

While there, he meets a local named William (Colman Domingo), who tells McCoy the legend of the Candyman spirit. The legend ends up being a spark for McCoy who begins making art based on Candyman. However, his spark of creativity ends up reigniting the old Candyman spirit itself.

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REVIEW: ‘The Protégé’ provides thrills despite plot issues

More action movies with Maggie Q please.

Anna (Q) is the protagonist in “The Protégé,” an elite assassin who works alongside her friend and mentor Moody (Samuel L. Jackson). The two are exceptionally efficient in their work and the film picks up with them successfully completing another mission.

As the film gets underway, Anna begins researching a new job, but soon after finds Moody murdered. With revenge in mind, Anna travels back to her homeland of Vietnam, where there may be some clues as to who killed her mentor. During her journey, she comes across Rembrandt (Michael Keaton), an assassin who works for another involved party.

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REVIEW: ‘Free Guy’ entertains but has fleeting impact

Movies about video games or films where the reality has elements of video games can be hit or miss. Sometimes you can get a “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World.” Other times you get a “Serenity” or “Pixels.”

Fortunately, “Free Guy” leans a bit more toward the former.

“Free Guy” takes place in two realms of existence, one digital and one real. In the latter, Jodie Comer plays Millie, a young woman who’s living on hard times after the video game developer Antwan (Taika Waititi) stole her idea. That idea for a game was created by her and her best friend Keys (Joe Keery), who now works for Antwan.

Meanwhile, Guy (Ryan Reynolds), is a non-playable character in the video game owned by Antwan. While Guy is mainly programmed to be a normal bank employee in a violent video game, one day he begins to evolve and becomes self aware of the world around him. With that new knowledge, he begins playing the game himself, getting the attention of Millie. Millie soon learns that Guy’s programming is the key to exposing Antwan.

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REVIEW: Hudson’s stunning performance not enough to fully salvage generic ‘Respect’

Aretha Franklin was a powerful force in music and Civil Rights, and this movie certainly touches on both of those aspects.

One just wishes the quality of the film had been above that of a standard biopic.

“Respect” mainly follows Franklin’s (Jennifer Hudson) childhood and roughly the first 10 to 15 years of her career. The film opens with Franklin losing her mother and the impact the death leaves on her.

From there, it follows how music helped Franklin open up again after her mother’s death. Then, the picture focuses on how Franklin went from a lead singer at her father’s (Forest Whitaker) church to a struggling singer, and then finally breaking through to success.

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REVIEW: ‘Suicide Squad’ succeeds under Gunn’s direction

Considering there was another movie released just a few years earlier, I figured they would have come up with another title to set this “Suicide Squad” apart than just adding a “The.”

But it works for Ohio State, so, maybe it’s fine here.

The Suicide Squad” follows a new group of convicts turned mercenaries working for government official Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) for a chance of reducing their sentence. This group includes a pair of top tier elite assassins in Peacemaker (John Cena) and Bloodsport (Idris Elba), as well as a human shark hybrid (voice by Sylvester Stallone), a woman who has a device to control rats (Daniela Melchior) and a man who can shoot colorful energy bolts (David Dastmalchian).

Along for the ride with this Suicide Squad team is their government chaperone Col. Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and the infamous Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). This time around, the crew is tasked with taking down the dictator of a remote island who has fallen into control of a dangerous scientific research facility.

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