REVIEW: Even though it takes some hits, ‘Creed III’ ends up above average

In the lede for my “Creed II” review, I asked for the main character Adonis to fight John Cena in “Creed III,” ala Rocky Vs. Thunderlips in “Rocky III.”

It didn’t happen, but the film is still alright.

Michael B. Jordan not only reprises his role as Adonis Creed for the third time in the series, but also directs. Having defended his title several times and getting higher in age, Adonis retires early in “Creed III,” after what he said was his last fight.

Following his retirement, Creed operates a boxing academy where one day he comes across a former friend, Damian Anderson (Jonathan Majors). Just released from prison, Anderson was a promising fighter before his sentence and is looking to get back in the sport. Anderson doesn’t just want to box, though, he wants the title and the life Adonis was able to live while he was in a cell.

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REVIEW: Poor execution buries ‘Cocaine Bear’s’ potential

I think a more entertaining movie about a forest animal high on cocaine would be one focused on a moose, but this was inspired by a true story so it is what it is.

As the title suggests, there’s cocaine in the movie, lots of it. More specifically, it’s cocaine that’s dumped from a smuggling plane over a forest in Georgia, where it’s then ingested by a black bear.

Knowing the cocaine needs to be recovered, a mob boss sends his fixer Daveed (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) and his son Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich) to pick up the drugs. Meanwhile, Sari (Keri Russell) is a mother whose daughter skipped school to go to the forest with a friend. Sari goes in the forest to look for her daughter and, like Eddie and Daveed, come across the dangerous cocaine Bear.

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REVIEW: Finely crafted ‘Aftersun’ never hooks one in

Sometimes a movie comes along that seems to do all the right things and still never hits the right notes. That’s the unfortunate case with “Aftersun.”

Director Charlotte Wells makes her feature film debut with “Aftersun,” which largely follows a young girl named Sophie (Frankie Corio) who’s on vacation with her father Calum (Paul Mescal). The film showcases how Calum was a good, tentative father, but also seemed distant at times.

The audience eventually learns that the vacation is a collection of Sophie’s memories, and that she has been going over old home movies to reflect on what’s happened in her life since the holiday.

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REVIEW: ‘Missing’ manages to keep audiences glued to the (fictional) screen

It can be hard to catch lightning in a bottle twice. Yet “Missing,” while not as strong as its predecessor “Searching,” manages to be another fun screen-based mystery.

The movie is connected to the previous installment by only a small reference at the start. In this picture, the focus is on June (Storm Reid), a young woman who lives with her mother Grace (Nia Long). The movie picks up with Grace about to leave on a vacation with her new boyfriend Kevin (Ken Leung) while June stays home.

Left alone while her mom is away, June does some partying before Grace is set to get back. However, on the date Grace’s plane is to arrive, she’s nowhere to be found and there’s not much information as to why. Sensing something is wrong, June begins researching what happened to her mother on her computer, and begins unraveling dangerous secrets.

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REVIEW: ‘Knock at the Cabin’ creates some suspense amid issues

Cabins are often relaxing places to stay at, unless it’s a cabin in a movie. In that case, it’s almost always an extremely dangerous place to be.

“Knock at the Cabin,” directed by M. Night Shyamalan, is another movie that shows a lovely vacation to a secluded, rustic location turning into a nightmare scenario. The movie follows the married couple Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge), as well as their daughter Wen (Kristen Cui).

During a stay at their rented cabin, the family is approached by a group of four individuals, led by Leonard (Dave Bautista). At first, it seems like a home invasion, but the family soon learn that the four are there to warn them about an impending apocalypse. According to the four, disaster is around the corner, and the only way to stop it is one of the family members being sacrificed.

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REVIEW: Pedestrian ‘To Leslie’ has great performance to lean on

Debates over Oscar campaigning aside, there’s no doubt Andrea Riseborough gave an award-caliber performance.

She stars as Leslie in the film, which picks up six years after the character won nearly $200,000 through the lottery. In the present day, Leslie’s bank account has run dry, with her having gone through the money she won.

She finds herself at the movie’s start not only homeless, but also an alcoholic. After briefly staying at her son’s apartment, she finds herself at a motel where the owners decide to take a chance and give her a job. There, she has a chance to restart her life, but it’s not made easy because of her addiction and past mistakes.

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REVIEW: Brilliant work by Bill Nighy makes ‘Living’ worth watching

Bill Nighy can sure make someone laugh, as seen in films such as “Love Actually” and “Hot Fuzz.” As this film shows, he can also make someone cry.

Nighy stars as Rodney Williams in “Living,” an older man who heads the public works department in London. Williams has fallen into a fairly standard routine, riding the same train to his office and often looking over the same project requests day-by-day.

Early on in the film, Williams visits his doctor and learns of a terminal illness that, at most, gives him six months to live. Looking to make the most out of his life with the time he has left on this Earth, he seeks advice from some younger people and decides to make an impact in at least one way at his place of work.

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REVIEW: Melancholy drama ‘Causeway’ features strong leads

After a decade of mostly appearing in action blockbusters and major releases, Jennifer Lawrence returns to the smaller film space with the intimate drama “Causeway.”

The film, directed by Lila Neugebauer, who’s making her feature film debut, follows Lynsey (Jennifer Lawrence), a member of the  U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers. The film picks up with Lynsey recovering after suffering a head injury caused by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

Needing time to recover, she returns to her hometown, New Orleans, and stays with her mother Gloria (Linda Emond), even though the two have a strained relationship. While she’s there, she meets an auto-mechanic, James (Brian Tyree Henry), who is dealing with trauma of their own. Both individuals, who are a bit lost in life, are able to form a friendship from there.

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REVIEW: Poorly portrayed mental illness sinks ‘The Son’

Florian Zeller’s 2020 film “The Father” was a stellar exploration of a person going through a difficult health crisis and the impact it has on their family.

His follow-up, “The Son,” has a similar premise, but it’s not nearly as good.

Hugh Jackman stars as Peter in the film, a businessman who’s considering entering the world of politics as a consultant. Around the same time, his wife Beth (Vanessa Kirby) has given birth to their new son.

The movie picks up with Peter getting contacted by his ex-wife Kate (Laura Dern), who explains that their teenage son Nicholas (Zen McGrath) has been skipping school and seems troubled lately. Hoping to give Nick a better environment and a new school to try, Peter takes his son in, but even then, the teen has struggles.

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REVIEW: ‘Plane’ has plenty of suspense and action on board

Since 2017’s bomb “Geostorm,” Gerard Butler has rebounded with solid action pictures such as “Angel Has Fallen” in 2019 and “Greenland” in 2020. He’s added another enjoyable one to the list with “Plane.”

Butler plays Brodie Torrance, the pilot of the titular plane, who’s tasked with flying over the Pacific Ocean on New Year’s Eve. Two factors make it more than just a routine flight, though. One is some nasty weather and the other is a convicted criminal (Mike Colter) who’s on board to be extradited.

As the plane goes through bad weather, a lightning bolt hits the aircraft, knocking out its electronics and forcing Brodie to make a rough landing on a remote island. It turns out the island is controlled by a militant group and they take many people from the plane hostage. The only two left to rescue them are Brodie and the criminal, Louis, both of whom have military training.

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