Oscar Docs: A Look at the nominees

The Academy Awards sometimes gets a bad rap for being a night where Hollywood “pats itself on the back.”

While that does happen, though, the Oscars do play another important role. It shines a spotlight on films that can sometimes go under the radar. This is especially true for documentaries, which are often not found at major movie theaters that people go to on a Friday night.

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REVIEW: ‘The Unholy’ squanders potential with horror cliches

Here’s a horror movie that actually would have been better off had it not been a horror. At least not such a straightforward one.

“The Unholy” stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Gerry. A disgraced journalist with a history of fabricating stories, Gerry now works as a of paranormal reporter. He travels around to write about UFO sightings and haunting to make some cash. His latest story brings him to a small Massachusetts town, but unfortunately, the supposed subject ends up being dud.

However, as luck would have it, Gerry discovers an interesting artifact near a rural church. Following his discovery, a young girl named Alice (Cricket Brown), who’s been deaf all her life, can suddenly hear and talk perfectly. According to her, she can communicate with the Virgin Mary and begins performing miracle healings. Her miracles begin drawing a lot of positive attention, but while this is happening, Gerry starts to notice sinister signs.

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REVIEW: ‘French Exit’ is a dramedy failure

Academy Award nominees Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges are featured prominently in “French Exit,” yet their presence isn’t enough to rescue this misfire.

In “French Exit,” Pfeiffer plays Frances, a widow  and New York socialite who has spent most of the money left behind after the death of her husband. Hedges, meanwhile, plays Malcolm, Frances’ son who is intending to marry his girlfriend, Susan (Imogen Poots).

With her resources dwindling, Frances decides to move to an apartment in France with her son and navigate what she should do next with her life. While the plan throws a wrench in Malcolm’s wedding dreams, he decides to go along with his mother’s move. Upon reaching France, the duo begin meeting several new characters who become involved in their lives.

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REVIEW: ‘Coming 2 America’ offers an enjoyable reunion

Sequels always have a lot to live up to and usually don’t succeed in surpassing the original picture. However, sometimes it can just be a joy revisiting some old characters.

Both are true for “Coming 2 America.”

The film takes place 30 years after the events of the last movie. Following the death of his father, Akeem Joffer is crowned King of Zamunda and he has three daughters. The oldest, Meeka (KiKi Layne) is well trained in combat and diplomacy, yet she is ineligible for the throne, as only a male heir can inherit the role. This is soon pointed out in the first act by General Izzi, the leader of Zamunda’s neighboring nation of Nexdoria. In a meeting between the two nations, Izzi says Akeem’s lack of a male heir is a sign that the future of the throne is in trouble.

However, Akeem soon learns that he actually did have a son, Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) with a woman in New York named Mary (Leslie Jones). Akeem, joined by his best friend and advisor Semmi (Arsenio Hall) travel to New York and bring Lavelle and his mother back to Zamunda. There, Akeem begins teaching how Lavelle should act, as he is now the crown prince and heir to the Zamundan throne.

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REVIEW: There’s not much for the audience to win in ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

More than a decade has passed since “Cloverfield” was released in 2008. Since then we’ve had another new monster tale in “Pacific Rim” and some returning stars such as when Godzilla returned in 2014.

Finally, this year, two of the most famous movie monsters went toe-to-toe. It’s a shame that all these years later, this film featuring the fight is on the lower end of recent movies in the genre.

As the title of this film clearly implies, the giant lizard with atomic breath Godzilla takes on the mega ape Kong. The movie takes place in the Monsterverse, where Kong has lived secluded on Skull Island, while Godzilla has become more well known, having defeated Ghidorah in 2019’s “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.”

In this film, Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard) is recruited by a company to bring Kong to the Hollow Earth, which exists beneath the Earth’s surface. Nathan is informed that doing so could lead titans such as Kong and Godzilla to live in the Hollow Earth area and prevent more destruction on the surface.

To pull off the mission, Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), who studies Kong, is brought in to help. They begin moving Kong toward the entrance to the Hollow Earth in Antarctica. However, Kong’s presence outside of Skull Island draws Godzilla’s attention and the two end up meeting with a desire to determine which titan is king.

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REVIEW: ‘The Courier’ is an interesting, but not game changing spy thriller

The spy game is always a dangerous one to to play. It’s Benedict Cumberbatch’s turn to learn that lesson in this new historical drama.

Cumberbatch plays Greville Wynne in “The Courier,” a film that takes place during one of the most tense periods of the Cold War. Wynne is British salesman who often travels for work. Along with visiting neighboring countries, Wynne also travels to some Eastern Bloc nations.

Because of his ability to do business in the Soviet area, Wynne is recruited by the CIA and MI6 to go to Russia and meet with an informant. He’s told by the agencies that he is only to visit the informant, Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze), and return documents to MI6, appearing as just a regular salesman conducting business However, with the Cuban Missile situation nearing, surveillance of what Wynne is doing begins to increase.

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REVIEW: ‘Nobody’ is a total blast

Bob Odenkirk may not have the look of an action hero, especially at the start of this movie. But he sure does prove that he fits the role over this film.

Odenkirk plays Hutch in “Nobody,” a family man with a wife and two kids who works a typical 8-5 job. As the film opens, the audience finds Hutch in a dull routine of taking the bus to work, getting through a shift, coming home and having to deal with a marriage that’s faltering.

We find out early on, though, that before having a straightforward, middle class life, Hutch had ties to the government. It becomes apparent after a home invasion that Hutch didn’t just work for the government, he was actually an elite operative. Wanting to unleash some anger after the home break in, Hutch decides to go out one night and conduct some vigilante justice. However, in doing so, he just happens to piss off a Russian mob leader. Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Nobody’ is a total blast”

Top 10 Best Movies of 2020

The coronavirus pandemic delayed many things, including the release of several movies. Subsequently, my Top 10 list was also pushed way back to March.

This list does include a couple movies that were released in the last few weeks. However, like award organizations, I’m making an exception because of the pandemic. Plus, it’s not my fault that it took forever for “The Father” to come out.

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REVIEW: ‘The Father’ is a well-made, distressing drama

The ailments that come with aging and the impacts that they can have on a person’s loved ones is shown in harrowing, heartbreaking detail in this film.

“The Father” is a drama revolving around the character Anthony (Anthony Hopkins). At the start of the film, Anthony is visited by his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman), who is concerned about how her father should be cared for.

It’s shown early on that Anthony appears to be going through dementia, and as the movie progresses, his condition worsens. As a result, Anne begins considering other options for Anthony’s care. Unfortunately, Anne’s discussion of care options brings more confusion to Anthony.

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REVIEW: Generic story causes ‘Chaos Walking’ to crash

Yes, it’s a generic young adult science fiction film, but this time, wait for it, it has actors from Marvel and “Star Wars!”

Yeah, that doesn’t help all too much.

“Chaos Walking” is a film taking place on a new planet with an environment and atmosphere a lot like Earth’s. The only major difference is that men, for no specified reason, can have their thoughts on display. Their thoughts and inner monologues can be heard by people close by and some of the memories they have can even be seen. The film revolves around a young man named Todd (Tom Holland), who works on a farm in a small settlement town.

The colony was one of the first groupings of people to land on the new planet. However, because of a conflict with a native species, all of the women in the town died. The area doesn’t stay woman-less for long, though, as a scout named Viola (Daisey Ridley) from a larger ship with the next group of colonies crash lands on the planet.

Upon her discovery, the mayor of the small community (Mads Mikkelsen) sees an opportunity to call Viola’s ship and take it for himself. Feeling a need to protect her, Todd embarks on a journey with Viola, to get her away from the nefarious character and contact the ship first.

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