REVIEW: ‘Eighth Grade’ is a top tier coming-of-age film

Even though the only social media platforms I had in grade school was MSN Messenger and MySpace, I was still able to relate to much of what was going on in this feature. I think that will be the same for many people who watch this picture.

As one might guess, the movie is about the eighth grade. More specifically, it’s about Kayla (Elsie Fisher), a young girl going through the final days of her eighth grade year. She has her own Youtube channel where she gives out advice and often acts confident in front of the camera. However, in reality Kayla is much more of a shy and awkward person who appears to be an introvert.

As the days go by, Kayla experiences what most middle-schoolers go through, from school drills to dealing with other students. Through those experiences, the audience gets to know quite a bit about what the character is living through, both emotionally and mentally.

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REVIEW: Weak second half, poor chemistry drag down ‘Spy Who Dumped Me’

“The Spy Who Dumped Me” is a movie that seemed fine, for a while. Then it kept going, and kept going.

Before getting into what didn’t work, though, a recap of the story. “The Spy Who Dumped Me” starts off with the main character Audrey (Mila Kunis) celebrating her birthday with her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon). However, the celebration is soured by the fact that Morgan’s boyfriend Drew just ended their relationship.

Because of her phone conversations with Drew, though, Audrey soon finds out that her ex-boyfriend is actually a spy working on a significantly important mission. As a result of her discovery, Audrey and Morgan are forced to go on the run, as they’ve become tied into the espionage world.

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REVIEW: ‘Teen Titans’ on the big screen is plenty of fun

It’s no secret that Hollywood today is mostly dominated by films adapted from comic books featuring superheroes. And while most of the films in the genre have been above average lately, it remains a category of movies ripe for comedy.

Enter “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies,” which spends nearly its entire hour and 30 minute runtime taking aim at superhero films, mostly under the DC Comics banner. For the most part, it ends up being a success.

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REVIEW: Latest ‘Mission Impossible’ delivers where it counts: the action

I’m very happy to report that there’s some Grade A Tom Cruise running in this movie.

Cruise is once again running through city streets because his character Ethan Hunt must once again save the world. In his latest (impossible) mission, Hunt and his crew are tasked with recovering three containers with nuclear materials that, in the right hands, can create weapons of mass destruction.

This time, though, Hunt has some baggage. Because the CIA has issues with his methods, they send one of their own agents, August Walker (Henry Cavill). Hunt begrudgingly begins working with Walker, but the mission becomes more complicated when aspects of his past start showing up, too.

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REVIEW: Washington and some good action isn’t enough to save ‘Equalizer 2’

I’ll admit, I was disappointed that Denzel Washington’s character never said “you’re about to get equalized.”

In all fairness, Washington’s character, Robert McCall, isn’t a superhero, but he sure fights like one.

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REVIEW: ‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ has its moments, but lags behind rest of series

The third “Hotel Transylvania” film, like the second in the franchise, provides some fun moments and creates laughs. Yet, it still doesn’t reach the level of the first.

The third movie in the series picks up with Dracula (Adam Sandler) not only being overworked, but also finding himself quite lonely lately. Despite feeling that he wants to remain loyal to his late wife, Drac decides that it might be time to look for another person to start a relationship.

Just as he’s having this thought process, Drac’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) decides to take her dad on a summer vacation to get away from the stress of running the hotel. So, Dracula and his friends, as well as Mavis and her husband Johnny (Andy Samberg) all go on a mega cruise made specifically for monsters. The only problem is cruise is actually managed by the great granddaughter of Van Helsing, who continues to have a grudge against Dracula.

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REVIEW: ‘Skyscraper’ is a generic action picture with little to offer

A man with law enforcement experience has to save his family member(s) in a skyscraper from a group of highly trained individuals looking to steal something from the building.

Yep, you’re thinking of the right movie, “Skyscraper” from 2018.

OK, yes, this film is quite similar to the classic action film “Die Hard.” Unfortunately, though, this film lacks quite a bit of the charm as that 1988 picture.

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REVIEW: Intense action, good lead characters make ‘First Purge’ a fun B-Movie

It’s funny how “The First Purge” turned out to be better than the first “Purge.”

Way back in 2013, I wasn’t expecting this little, low budget horror franchise to have a fourth installment, but here we are. Unlike the previous two, this entry is a prequel, showcasing how the first Purge event took place. The film picks up in the not so distant future where a new political party has taken power amid high unemployment and a crumbling infrastructure.

As a result, some scientists working for the government decided the best option is for an “experiment” where all crime could be legal and any individuals who are upset about the system or just their daily lives could take out their anger. As a trial run, the experiment only takes place in the area of Staten Island. There, a group of characters we’re introduced to must try to survive this new government operation, which we as the audience know from other “Purge” movies is really to eliminate poor Americans.

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REVIEW: ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ powered by super couple

Superhero couples are relatively rare in Hollywood, with the one featured in “The Incredibles” series being likely the most prominent. Fortunately, Marvel Studios has added to that catalog.

This sequel to the 2015 “Ant-Man” again follows the life of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). The movie picks up with the character on house arrest, a punishment he received following the fight between members of the Avengers at an airport.

Despite this factor, though, the father-daughter duo of Hank (Michael Douglas) and Hope (Evangeline Lilly) once again recruit Scott for a mission. Despite having reservations about working with Scott again because of his recklessness, Hank explains that he needs Lang’s help to save his long lost wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer). The mission doesn’t feature Scott on his own this time, though, as Hope gets her own advanced suit and joins the mission, going by the Wasp alias.

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REVIEW: ‘Sicario’ sequel is a (mostly) satisfying follow-up

I don’t know if anyone was really asking for a “Sicario” sequel, but I sure as hell won’t complain.

Denis Villeneuve, who directed the first picture, didn’t helm “Day of the Soldado.” Instead, Stefano Sollima enters the director role and did solid work in crafting a crime thriller. The movie picks up sometime after the events of the previous one, with tensions along the U.S.-Mexico border reaching a boiling point.

The reason for such intensity is because some cartels have allegedly started smuggling terrorists over the border. Following a terrorist attack in the heartland of America, federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) is recruited because of his experience on the border and is sent to throw the cartel system into chaos, and subsequently ruin their drug empires. To help, Graver once again teams up with the mercenary Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro).

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