REVIEW: Meta-filled ‘Matrix’ sequel stumbles despite good ideas

Birth, life and death was the course of the original “Matrix” trilogy, so a “Resurrection” nearly 20 years later is a logical step.

Familiar faces return in the latest “Matrix” feature, including the series hero Neo (Keanu Reeves), although now he appears to be living a normal life as Thomas Anderson in a regular office job. The audience soon learns, through a few new characters, that Neo is actually back in a version of the Matrix.

It turns out some events happened in the real world since the end of the third film, “Matrix Revolutions,” which resulted in the Matrix system continuing on in a new capacity. The film follows how the new characters interact with Neo and begin showing him his past, which results in him wanting a different future.

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REVIEW: Technically sound ‘Tragedy of Macbeth’ too inaccessible at times

I felt like I was drinking a 40 oz in the auditorium, because this film has a whole lot of Olde English.

Based on William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth,” “Tragedy” was written and directed by Joel Coen, with Denzel Washington playing the titular character. The film is a fairly straightforward retelling of the story, with Washington’s Lord Macbeth having a vision of ascending to the throne of Scotland.

That prophecy becomes fulfilled, and as the story goes, Macbeth’s reign turns out to be a difficult one. Soon after he takes the crown, he becomes paranoid and begins taking actions that only lead to more trouble.

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REVIEW: ‘Mass’ is an emotionally charged film with a great ensemble

While “Mass” is simply a film with four people in a room having a conversation, it has more tension than most of the other movies released in 2021.

“Mass” is about a meeting between two sets of parents whose children were involved in a school shooting. Jay (Jason Isaacs) and Gail (Martha Plimpton) are parents who lost their son in the incident.

Linda (Ann Dowd) and Richard (Reed Birney), meanwhile, are the parents of the shooter, who also died during the event. Over the course of the film, the two discuss what led to the school shooting and how it has impacted them.

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REVIEW: Cage shines in truffle trouble drama ‘Pig’

Nicholas Cage has had ups and downs in his career over the last decade, with some real lows in there (“Season of the Witch”), but he shows in this movie that he still has the acting prowess that won him an Oscar in the 90s.

Cage stars as Rob in “Pig,” a man who lives a secluded life in the Pacific northwest. He spends his days hunting for truffles with his foraging pig, and sells his finds to a single buyer, Amir (Alex Wolff), for simple supplies.

His day-to-day routine is shattered, though, when his pig is stolen in the middle of the night. With a reluctant Amir providing assistance, Rob sets out to get his pig back by any means necessary. However, his journey takes him back to a world he left behind, digging up his past in the process.

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REVIEW: ‘C’mon C’mon’ is moving, heartfelt cinema

Can we pretend Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar was for this movie instead of “Joker?”

Phoenix stars in “C’mon, C’mon,” the new film from writer/director Mike Mills. In the film, Phoenix plays Johnny, a podcaster whose show centers on opinions of the youth. Johnny is often traveling across the country because of his job to interview students about their outlook on the world.

His career is interrupted, though, when his sister Viv (Gaby Hoffmann) asks for help. Viv is needing to take care of her husband, who’s going through a difficult time with mental health. As a result, she needs Johnny to help look after her son, Jesse (Woody Norman).

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REVIEW: The past looms large in quality Netflix entry ‘Lost Daughter’

Longtime actress Maggie Gyllenhaal has made her feature directorial debut with this new Netflix film, and it’s a solid starting point.

Leda, portrayed by Olivia Colman, is the star of the “The Lost Daughter.” A writer and a professor, Leda is on a vacation in Greece during the film for some time to herself.

As she’s settling in, she meets another family who’s on vacation. As Leda begins to interact with the family more, mostly with the matriarch who has a young daughter, it causes her to look back on her own past, and the decisions she made as a parent.

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REVIEW: Paul Thomas Anderson serves up one of year’s best with ‘Licorice Pizza’

Sometimes a good movie will introduce a new talent on screen.

It’s an even bigger treat when two new performers are introduced and give stellar performances.

That’s the case with “Licorice Pizza,” where first time performers Cooper Hoffman and Alana Haim star. Hoffman plays Gary, a teen actor with a ton of ambition. Despite being 15, Gary has a knack for hustling with small business schemes.

The film picks up in 1973, with Gary meeting Haim’s character Alana, a 25-year-old photography assistant. The two form an initial bond and from there, start working together on Gary’s business ideas. The film follows their relationship through the ups and downs of their lives during the summer months.

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REVIEW: Biopic ‘Being the Ricardos’ drops the Ball

It’s easy to love “I Love Lucy.” But that’s not the case with “Being the Ricardos.”

The film stars Nicole Kidman, who portrays Lucille Ball, the actress well known for the series “I Love Lucy.” The movie picks up during a week of filming the “I Love Lucy” show, where the production has been impacted by some recent news.

Rumors are swirling around Hollywood about Ball possibly being associated with communism during the height of the Red Scare. The film follows how this affects production, and Ball’s marriage to her husband, Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem).

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Ten Worst Movies of 2021

It felt really great to get back to the movie theaters in 2021, after having been away for most of 2020 because of the pandemic.

Like always, though, there were a good deal of bad movies in 2021, too. They weren’t confined to the theaters, either.

Here were my lowest rated movies from the last year.

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REVIEW: Don’t look at the screen when ‘Don’t Look Up’ is on

So, this movie sure got people talking.

“Don’t Look Up” is the latest feature from director/writer Adam McKay, and centers on a scenario where there’s a comet headed toward Earth. The scientists who discover the comet, Randall (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Kate (Jennifer Lawrence) immediately inform the federal government after their discovery, with the hope that action is taken.

Unfortunately, they’re not exactly met with a warm welcome at the White House. The president, played by Meryl Streep, is much more concerned with optics and doesn’t particularly trust scientific evidence. As a result, Randall and Kate have to try to work with an ineffective head of state, while also trying to get air-time in a world where’s there’s apparently just one television show.

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