REVIEW: ‘Women Talking’ is a harrowing tale of bravery

“Women Talking” may not seem like a survival movie at first glance, but it definitely is one, and a good one at that.

The film centers on women of a Mennonite community in an isolated, rural area. Early on, the audience learns that several of the women in the community have been drugged and sexually assaulted on multiple occasions.

Set in 2010, the film picks up with the men of the colony having left to handle the legal matters related to those who committed assaults and have been taken into custody. Meanwhile, the women of the community begin a debate on whether to stay and fight against those who committed rape and try to make change, or leave the colony altogether.

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REVIEW: Mendes’ ‘Empire of Light’ is a colossal mess of ideas

Director Sam Mendes has made films that offered audiences some magic at the movie theater. His film actually about a movie theater, though, leaves a lot to be desired.

His movie “Empire of Light” stars Olivia Colman as Hilary, a woman working at a historic theater in southern England. Hilary has worked there for some time and has made acquaintances with her fellow staff members, but usually spends her down time alone.

That is until the theater hires Stephen (Michael Ward), a young black man who is trying to go to college, but hasn’t been admitted yet, and in the meantime is working for some money. Hilary and Stephen began spending time together, and eventually form a relationship, but it becomes tested because of personal issues and racial tensions in the country.

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REVIEW: ‘Bones and All’ is a compelling movie about monsters among us

Hannibal Lecter, eat your heart, or I guess someone else’s heart out.

“Bones and All” is a love story, that just happens to include cannibalism. Taylor Russell stars as Maren in the film, a young woman who is an “eater,” a human being who has an insatiable hunger for human flesh. The film picks up with her being left by her father (Andre Holland) who tells her she must live on her own, after he spent years trying to hide what she is.

Maren decides to go on the road and find out about her mother now that her father has left, and along the way meets others like herself, including someone her own age. That person is Lee (Timothee Chalamet), a young man who decides to go along with Maren on her journey, and the two build a connection.

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REVIEW: A rather limited ‘Menu’

Some movies have so much packed in that they may have worked better as a mini-series. Others have a concept that’s stretched too far, and would be better served as a short film.

“The Menu” is an example of the latter.

The movie centers on a couple going to an island that’s home to an exclusive restaurant. The establishment is run by the laser-focused Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes), a man who demands perfection in his kitchen.

The couple is Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) and Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy), and they are just a few of the wealthy guests who go to the island expecting the fanciest of fancy meals. However, Slowik has much more intense things on the menu for his affluent customers than just food.

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REVIEW: ‘Strange World’ is Disney’s weakest effort in recent memory

I’m not going to lie. When this film reached the halfway point and a character said he saw something cute that could be a merchandising opportunity, I considered walking out.

“Strange World” centers on a community surrounded by seemingly impassable mountains. That doesn’t deter fearless explorer Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid), though, who gets lost in the mountains trying to find a way out. His son Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal) never shared his father’s quest for exploration, and instead became a farmer of a valuable natural resource.

However, when that resource becomes threatened, he joins an expedition underneath the mountains to a strange subterranean area with his own son Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White). As it turns out, it’s where Jaeger has been the whole time.

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REVIEW: ‘Wakanda Forever’ mostly flops as a follow-up

After his tragic passing at 43, Chadwick Boseman’s absence looms large, both in the world of film and specifically in this sequel to “Black Panther.”

“Wakanda Forever” picks up after King T’Challa dies from an unknown illness, leaving the nation without its leader and main protector. With T’Challa now gone, his mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett), assumes the throne while his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) feels tremendous guilt that she wasn’t able to find a way to cure him in time.

Both women have to continue serving their nation as new threats arise, though, as other countries are now looking for  Wakanda’s precious resource, vibranium. Because of this happening, a new, powerful threat emerges from the sea. To protect their home, Ramonda and Shuri have to work with existing and new allies.

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REVIEW: ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ intrigues while producing laughs

This is one feckin’ good movie.

During the Irish Civil War in the early 1920s, another conflict was taking place on a small island between two former friends. Local farmer Pádraic (Colin Farrell) and folk musician Colm (Brendan Gleeson) had been longtime drinking buddies, but one day, abruptly, Colm says no more.

Seeing his friendship with Pádraic leading to nothing but dull conversation and wanting to commit more to his music, Colm wants to end the relationship completely. However, not wanting to let go, Pádraic continues trying to rekindle things by talking to Colm, much to the latter’s annoyance. Eventually, their conflict starts negatively affecting each other and those around them.

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REVIEW: Magic of movies in ‘Fabelmans’ overshadowed by melodrama

The early life of renowned filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes to life in this semi auto-biographical coming of age picture.

The film tells the story of a Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle), a teen who has been fascinated by the magic of movies since his first childhood theater experience. As he gets older, that fascination becomes a passion, and he begins making his own movies.

Sammy’s filmmaking is encouraged by his mother Mitzi (Michelle Williams), but his dad Burt (Paul Dano) sees it as more of a hobby. The relationships he has with his parents continue to be a focal point throughout the picture, and things get even more complicated for Sammy as he learns about something going on behind the scenes.

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REVIEW: While flawed, ‘Till’ is a creditable effort

A horrific moment in America’s history followed by awful injustice is featured in the emotionally charged “Till.”

Danielle Deadwyler portrays Mamie Till-Mobley, whose son Emmett (Jalyn Hall) was killed during a visit to Mississippi in 1955. The movie dramatizes the events that took place in Mississippi where, in a racism-fueled action, Emmett was abducted and murdered in the middle of the night.

It then documents how Mamie showed Emmett’s body to the press, revealing the brutality of the attack and the subsequent trial against the individuals responsible. It also details the overall impact the moment had on the Civil Rights Movement.

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REVIEW: ‘She Said’ tells an important story in good fashion

The Newspaper of Record is a publication not without its faults, but the rigorous work at the New York Times that launched the Me Too Movement was absolutely commendable.

That effort is dramatized in “She Said,” which follows Times journalists Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan), as well as other staff members digging into sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Their work followed the inauguration of President Donald Trump, with the Times planning to investigate more assault allegations beyond the world of politics.

After getting a lead about allegations in Hollywood, Kantor and Twohey begin working the story and soon find out there’s much more abuse than what was first expected. The movie then follows their efforts to gather legal documents and talk to the many victims.

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