REVIEW: ‘The Father’ is a well-made, distressing drama

The ailments that come with aging and the impacts that they can have on a person’s loved ones is shown in harrowing, heartbreaking detail in this film.

“The Father” is a drama revolving around the character Anthony (Anthony Hopkins). At the start of the film, Anthony is visited by his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman), who is concerned about how her father should be cared for.

It’s shown early on that Anthony appears to be going through dementia, and as the movie progresses, his condition worsens. As a result, Anne begins considering other options for Anthony’s care. Unfortunately, Anne’s discussion of care options brings more confusion to Anthony.

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REVIEW: Generic story causes ‘Chaos Walking’ to crash

Yes, it’s a generic young adult science fiction film, but this time, wait for it, it has actors from Marvel and “Star Wars!”

Yeah, that doesn’t help all too much.

“Chaos Walking” is a film taking place on a new planet with an environment and atmosphere a lot like Earth’s. The only major difference is that men, for no specified reason, can have their thoughts on display. Their thoughts and inner monologues can be heard by people close by and some of the memories they have can even be seen. The film revolves around a young man named Todd (Tom Holland), who works on a farm in a small settlement town.

The colony was one of the first groupings of people to land on the new planet. However, because of a conflict with a native species, all of the women in the town died. The area doesn’t stay woman-less for long, though, as a scout named Viola (Daisey Ridley) from a larger ship with the next group of colonies crash lands on the planet.

Upon her discovery, the mayor of the small community (Mads Mikkelsen) sees an opportunity to call Viola’s ship and take it for himself. Feeling a need to protect her, Todd embarks on a journey with Viola, to get her away from the nefarious character and contact the ship first.

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REVIEW: ‘Boogie’ is a bust

I’m a big fan of basketball and really excited for March Madness.

That didn’t help me like this movie any better.

“Boogie” tells the story of Alfred “Boogie” Chin (Taylor Takahashi), a senior who just started at a new high school to play basketball in the hopes that he will get recruited to a Division I school with a full scholarship. As he starts out at the new school, he finds himself a new friend in Richie (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) and  a romantic interest in  Eleanor (Taylour Paige).

While he’s great on the court, though, Alfred is also rather cocky and isn’t exactly a team player. This doesn’t make his parents all too happy, and it only leads to more tension since his mom and dad don’t see specifically eye-to-eye on the direction of his basketball career.Despite the issues, though, Alfred is determined to push forward to his dream of the NBA.

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REVIEW: ‘Tom and Jerry’ is a total loss

“Tom and Jerry” were never my favorite series of classic animated shorts. With this movie, though, I had hope that maybe a modern take on the characters could result in a fun family flick mixing live action with animation.

I was so, so wrong.

As the title suggests, this follows the well known cat and mouse duo of Tom and Jerry. The film starts off with the two now living in New York City. In the Big Apple, Jerry is considering where he’d like to live, while Tom has a dream of being a piano player and has been working on his craft in Central Park. The two eventually run into each other, though, and a bit of chaos ensues.

Eventually, through a series of events, Jerry finds himself at a fancy hotel and decides to settle down. At the same time a young woman who’s looking for work and is known for hustling, ends up getting hired at the hotel just as it’s ready to hold a celebrity wedding. The woman, Kayla (Chloe Grace Moretz), starts the job and is soon tasked with getting rid of Jerry, as the hotel’s reputation can’t handle a mouse being there. To help the situation, she enlists Tom to help.

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REVIEW: Despite strong lead performance, ‘U.S. v Holiday’ doesn’t hold up

There are many politicians, musicians and others who deserve good biopic movies. There are also a lot of not so good biopics out there about interesting people.

Unfortunately, Billie Holiday meets the former and this film fits the latter.

“The United States vs Billie Holiday” follows the titular singer (Andra Day) mostly during her career in the 1940s, with a heavy focus on her song “Strange Fruit.” The song references lynching and came not long after an anti-lynching bill was rejected by the United States Senate.

Early on in the film, the FBI is shown as being paranoid of the song to the point where they fear the music will encourage the Civil Rights movement more. Driven by this, the agency targets Holiday, mainly by going after her on drug charges, as Holiday was using substances during her career.

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REVIEW: While flawed ‘The Mauritanian’ manages to hold a viewer’s interest

In 2019, “The Report showed audiences awful actions done by the United States government during the War on Terror.

In a similar fashion, “The Mauritanian” does the same thing, although this time with a more specific focus.

“The Mauritanian” refers to Mahamedou (Tahar Rahim), a man who was held at Guantanamo Bay for well over a decade without ever having an official charge brought against him by the United States. The intelligence services of the government claim he was a key recruiter for the terrorists that attacked on 9/11, but Mohamedou denied having anything to do with the plot.

Despite his denial, though, he’s arrested and taken into U.S. custody at the Cuba facility. There, he’s put in a legal situation where he will be prosecuted by military attorney Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch), who lost a friend in the 9/11 attacks. Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster), meanwhile, decides to become Mohamedou’s legal defender after learning about the situation, with the help of her assistant Teri (Shilene Woodley).

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REVIEW: ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ is an enjoyable, mythical ride

Swords, princesses and dragons aren’t exactly new to Disney animated films. But how they’re portrayed here in “Raya and the Last Dragon” is somewhat refreshing.

The movie follows the story of Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran), a young woman exploring a rather desolate land that is made up of five tribes. In the past, the land was much more tranquil and lively, but an event between the five tribes led to an important stone being shattered, which led to the release of evil beings which can turn people to stone.

Only a legendary dragon named Sisu can destroy the evil by putting magic back into the stone once it’s back together. Early in the film, Raya does succeed in finding Sisu (voiced by Nora “Awkwafina” Lum). However, a larger task is getting all of the stone pieces, each held by leaders of the different tribes, and none of them trust each other. Raya and Sisu set off on adventure to accomplish this task, though.

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REVIEW: ‘I Care a Lot’ crumbles due to poor writing

Sometimes there are pieces of media that just try way too hard to be edgy. “I Care a Lot” definitely joins that club.

Rosamund Pike stars as Marla Grayson in “I Care a Lot,” a woman who’s made a career as a legal guardian for the elderly. As part of her job, Grayson will get a notice from a doctor she works with stating that an elderly person can no longer live on her own, which she brings to a court.

In turn, the court will then grant legal guardianship to Grayson, allowing her to determine the care for the elderly person, which results in her putting them in an assisted living facility. It also means she has access to the elderly individual’s finances. The latest individual she decides to get legal guardianship over, Jennifer Peterson (Diane Wiest), though, just happens to have a significant connection to Russian mob boss Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage).

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REVIEW: ‘Nomadland’ is a superb film about the human condition

Director Chloe Zhao is on a roll, following up her phenomenal picture “The Rider” with one of 2020’s best films.

“Nomadland” tells the story of Fern , a woman who’s retrofitted a commercial-sized van to live out of. Fern, played by Frances McDormand, made her decision after two-life changing events occurred. One of them was the death of her husband, and the other was the closing of the main company in a small Nevada town which economically devastated the city. With nothing left, Fern decided to go out on the road.

The movie picks up with Fern working at an Amazon facility, earning paychecks during the busy holiday season. When the season comes to an end, the film follows her journey across the the Great Plains and western-mountain states. During her time living on the road, Fern meets several people who share their perspectives on life and what their plans are for the future.

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REVIEW: Character issues make ‘Over the Moon’ a misfire

The year 2020 hasn’t been my favorite for animation and unfortunately, “Over the Moon” hasn’t helped that case.

The picture, released on Netflix, tells the story of Fei Fei (Cathy Ang), a young girl who became fascinated by the Moon because of stories told by her late mother. At the film’s outset, following the death of her mother, Fei Fei is working with her father at their small pastry company.

Life seems to be carrying on for the family, but the pain of loss still lingers for Fei Fei. That pain is reinforced when her father begins spending time with a woman, Ms. Zhong (Sandra Oh), as the Moon Festival approaches. Eventually, she learns that her father plans to marry Ms Zhong, and as a result, she will likely be getting an annoying step brother in the deal.

Hoping to fix the situation, she builds a craft capable of reaching the moon to speak with an ancient being who resides there. The plan goes a little haywire, though, when it turns out her step-brother-to-be, Chin (Robert Chiu), tagged along for the ride.

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