REVIEW: ‘Last Christmas’ lags far behind better flicks in the genre

If I wanted to watch a Hallmark holiday movie, I’d just turn on the channel rather than go to the theater. But that’s what “Last Christmas” asks audiences to do.

This latest holiday romance flick, featuring a big helping of George Michael music, stars Emilia Clarke as the protagonist Kate. At the movie’s beginning, Kate isn’t in a very good place, her career as a singer isn’t going anywhere, she’s stuck as a cashier at a job she’s not very fond of, she parties too much and doesn’t have her own place, meaning she’s either staying with her parents or couch-surfing.

This whole situation comes several months after a severe illness and as a result, Kate has become rough around the edges and overall very cynical. Her sour look at the world begins to soften, though, when she meets and gets to know Tom (Henry Golding). Eventually, Tom’s positiveness begins to push Kate in a better direction as their relationship grows.

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REVIEW: New ‘Charlie’s Angels’ is well below average

After more than a decade away from the big screen, the Angels have returned. Sadly, their latest adventure isn’t too memorable.

“Charlie’s Angels” introduces audiences to new spies, including Sabina (Kristen Stewart) and Jane (Ella Balinska). The duo are given a mission regarding a new energy generating device that can also be used for nefarious purposes.

To help secure the device and keep it off the black market, Sabina and Jane are tasked with guarding and eventually working with Elena, a woman who discovered the device’s dangerous abilities and was turned away when she tried to warn superiors. Along the way, the trio are also helped by their Bosley superior, portrayed by Elizabeth Banks.

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REVIEW: ‘Good Liar,’ not so good movie

The most glaring thing about “The Good Liar” is that it’s not nearly as clever as it thinks it is.

“The Good Liar” stars Ian McKellen as Roy Courtnay, an elderly longtime con artist who happens to meet a wealthy widow named Betty (Helen Mirren). Seeing an opportunity to make cash on another job, Roy initiates a new operation to start a relationship with Betty and be with her until he can get her to share her bank accounts and he can make the robbery happen.

Roy has to really commit to the role, though, as the job in convincing Betty isn’t entirely easy. Plus, Betty’s grandson, Stephen (Russell Tovey), doesn’t trust Roy from the very start. The result is a con job that’s more difficult than initially expected.

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REVIEW: ‘Ford v Ferrari’ has fine tuned performances, but is also formulaic

Ingenuity can be daring sometimes and often requires pushing boundaries. That’s what the main characters in “Ford v Ferrari” must do in this movie, and fortunately the film documenting their work is above average.

Matt Damon stars as Carrol Shelby here, a former race car driver who puts his expertise into designing cars. In an effort to boost sales and to prove Ford can compete with international vehicles, the company drafts him to create a car faster than a Ferrari.

In order to test the car and help point out the flaws, Shelby enlists the help of Ken Miles (Christian Bale), an elite driver who can race with the best of them. The process is made difficult, though, because of corporate interference.

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REVIEW: ‘Midway’ is stuck in mediocrity

If you want to talk about turning point battles in American history, Midway is easily one of the most important. The results allowed the United States to bounce back at a critical time in the Pacific Theater, considering what happened months earlier in Hawaii.

The portrayal of the battle here, though, leaves a bit to be desired.

The film is the second major portrayal of the battle. In fact, it shares the same name, too, as the year 1976 also saw a movie titled “Midway.” Like that picture, the 2019 version, directed and produced by Roland Emmerich, begins before the battle.

Pearl Harbor is attacked and in the ensuing months, officials in Washington and the Pacific are trying to organize a response as sailors and airmen are anxious to fight back. The film follows key figures in the lead up to Midway as they try to outwit the Japanese military, such as Admiral Chester Nimitz, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Lt. Edwin Layton who worked intelligence.

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REVIEW: ‘Doctor Sleep’ won’t put one to sleep, but is forgettable like a dream

Stephen King’s universe really needs an equivalent to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.

“Doctor Sleep” begins roughly a few months after the events of “The Shining.” Dan Torrance is still being somewhat haunted by the Overlook Hotel, but eventually manages to get things under control in that regard thanks to his Shining power. Unfortunately, though, his life takes bad turns and he later ends up becoming homeless and addicted to alcohol.

Dan (Ewan McGregor) does come across another man, Billy (Cliff Curtis) in the northeast, though, who helps him get back on his feet by bringing him into rehab and assisting him in getting an apartment. However, while he seems to be settling in and even using his power for some good, trouble rears its head with a new threat. That threat is a group of people who not only stay alive, but keep their youth, by killing individuals with Shining powers and breathing in their life force.

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REVIEW: ‘The Lighthouse’ is a captivating film creation

While “The Lighthouse” is simply centered on two men and a maritime structure, it also happens to be one of the best films of the year.

Director Robert Eggers returns with “Lighthouse,” his follow up to his feature debut, 2015’s “The Witch,” which earned a lot of acclaim. This time around, his latest movie follows Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) and Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson), two lighthouse workers who’re tasked with operating an Atlantic coast facility for about a month.

The experienced worker, Thomas, takes the night shifts and operates the tower to guide ships, while Ephraim is given mostly maintenance work. The labor is tough but appears fairly routinely. However, strange occurrences start taking place and Ephraim begins questioning what’s real and what’s not.

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REVIEW: ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ excels where it counts: the action

So this is a “Terminator” film where a person or machine from the future has to fight off a far more deadly machine also from the future in order to protect someone.

Sound familiar?

This time around, the movie is more focused on a new character, rather than Connor family like previous installments. Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) is the main protagonist in “Dark Fate” and is being hunted by a terminator. Because of the action taken by Sarah Connor in “Terminator 2,” though, the terminator hunting Dani is from an AI program in the future called Legion, rather than Skynet.

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REVIEW: ‘Countdown’ is generic, hollow horror

What can’t movie demons possess at this point? In “Truth or Dare” one could possess a thought-process game among friends, and now one possesses an app.

The latest horror movie to hit the PG-13 market features a number of people discovering an app that can tell when a person is going to die, counting down everything from the years to the seconds. The app is a simple running clock, and many laugh it off as a joke.

However, that is until a few look at the phone and see they only have a few days or hours left. Sure enough, those people end up dying. After some deaths from the app early on, the character Quinn enters the mix. Played by Elizabeth Lail, Quinn is the main character and apparently is set to die in the next several days. Deciding to take action, she and another character, Matt (Jordan Calloway), try to figure out how to change fate.

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REVIEW: ‘Maleficent 2’ is more mediocre than marvelous

That mouse just can’t quit with this live action train, huh. Can’t really blame Disney when the first “Sleeping Beauty” story adaptation made nearly $70 million in its opening weekend and grossed $758 million worldwide.

In this follow-up to the 2014 hit, Angelina Jolie returns to the role of Maleficent, a powerful fairy who now looks after her goddaughter and acts as the main defender of the Moors Kingdom. Queen of that kingdom is Maleficent’s goddaughter Aurora (Elle Fanning), who now rules a united kingdom including both humans and mystical creatures.

Along with leading a nation, Aurora has fallen in love with Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson), who’s from another kingdom. The two are looking to get married, and with some convincing, Maleficent becomes at least open to the idea. However, Phillip’s parents, especially his mother Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer), are less than welcoming, viewing the mystical residents of Aurora’s kingdom, including Maleficent as a threat. Her prejudice eventually causes a strain between Aurora and Maleficent.

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