REVIEW: ‘Anna’ doesn’t reinvent spy genre wheel, but still entertains

There’s been a few movies over the last several years with women super spies, such as “Salt,” “Haywire,” “Atomic Blonde” and “Red Sparrow.” The latest flick in the sub-genre, “Anna,” doesn’t push the story boundaries too far from those, but overall, it may be the best one, or at least the most fun.

The picture, directed by Luc Besson, stars Sasha Luss in the titular role. Anna is a young woman who had some experience in Russian military training and as a result, is eventually recruited into the KGB.

As an agent, Anna becomes a fierce assassin, able to get even some of the most dangerous jobs done. Her latest work is especially, difficult, though, as it includes other adversarial international agencies.

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REVIEW: ‘Shaft’ doesn’t break ground, but it still kicks some ass

This movie has three Shafts in a movie series that now has five “Shafts.” Yeah, there’s definitely history there.

So this film re-introduces the John Shaft from the 20 movie, played by Samuel L. Jackson. The audience soon learns that he and his girlfriend Maya (Regina Hall ) have had a child, JJ (Jessie T. Usher). Because of the danger associated with his job, though, Maya takes JJ away from New York City to live in a safe environment.

The story picks up in the present day, with JJ now a grown man and an FBI data analyst. While not a field agent, the death of a friend drags him out of the office and into NYC’s crime underground. To get some help, JJ enlists the help of his estranged father. Together they have to balance reconnecting and solving the latest case.

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REVIEW: Fourth ‘MIB’ fails to recharge franchise

The “B” might stand for Bland this time around, since that’s what this movie really is.

While “Men in Black International” takes place in the same universe as the first three pictures, this one serves as a sort of ‘soft’ reboot. New characters, different aliens and an unfamiliar threat.

This time around, the movie follows Molly/Agent M (Tessa Thompson), a young woman who saw the Men In Black as a child and has always wanted to be part of the group. When she finally stumbles across the organization, she’s able to join and her first assignment is to go to London for an investigation.

There, she crosses paths with hot shot Agent H (Chris Hemsworth), who gained fame for being involved with stopping a massive alien invasion. The two start to work together on a case that at first seems simple, but soon unravels a plot that may be compromising MIB itself.

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REVIEW: ‘Dark Phoenix’ shows a franchise burnout for the ‘X-Men’

Back in 2006, I, like many others, were largely disappointed with “X-Men: The Last Stand,” the supposed finale of the series to that point. Amazingly, “Dark Phoenix” has upstaged “Last Stand,” proving to be a finale even worse.

“Phoenix” takes place a few years after the events of “X-Men: Apocalypse.” Following the defeat of Apocalypse, the X-Men have become a sort of emergency response team and because of their helpful actions, mutants are better respected.

However, trouble begins forming after the team’s latest mission, where Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) is hit by some sort of energy during an attempt to save a space shuttle crew. It turns out the energy is a legendary power that makes Jean’s powers more unstable and brings out an aggressive side of her personality. Additionally, an alien force led by the character Vuk (Jessica Chastain) is after the power.

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REVIEW: ‘Godzilla’ may be a king, but not of cinema

The latest “Godzilla” is chock-full of monsters, yet even the gargantuan creatures don’t necessarily hold this feature up.

The movie begins five years after the 2014 “Godzilla,” where the secretive agency Monarch is keeping track of the giant creature and others across the globe. One of the Monarch researchers is Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga), a woman who lost her son in the 2014 Godzilla battle of San Francisco.

Monarch’s research is taken advantage of by radical environmental terrorists, though, led by a man named Jonah (Charles Dance). As a result of their actions, the powerful monster Ghidorah is released, and several others respond by awakening and causing havoc. To stop them, Godzilla has to get back into action.

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REVIEW: ‘John Wick 3’ thrills with top tier action

Mr. Wick is back and as the Latin phrase in this movie’s title implies, he’s going to war.

“John Wick: Chapter 3” picks off right after the events of the second film, so seeing that one is probably a good idea before checking this out. Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a man now on the run. After breaking the rules of the criminal underworld in part two, every assassin in New York City, and basically the world, are after him for a multi-million dollar bounty.

As a result, Wick searches for a way to reverse his predicament and atone for his transgressions. His journey brings him to Sofia (Halle Barry), a person from his past who decides to help him find someway to make amends. The quest remains a difficult one, though, as the group running crime at a worldwide scale want Wick, and anyone who’s helped him, eliminated.

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REVIEW: Imperfect ‘Endgame’ still enthralls

Like a big rack of ribs or a plate piled with Buffalo wings, “Avengers: Endgame” is pretty messy, but still real good and satisfying.

Just to make things a little easier, here’s a roster list of the main characters in the film: Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark AKA Iron Man. Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America. Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, AKA Hulk. Chris Hemsworth as Thor Odinson, King of Asgard. Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow. Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye. Don Cheadle as James Rhodes, AKA War Machine. Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, AKA Ant-Man. Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel. Karen Gillan as Nebula. Josh Brolin as the Titan Thanos.

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REVIEW: ‘Hellboy’ isn’t saved by R-rated spectacle

I never saw the first two “Hellboy” films by Oscar winning Director Guillermo del Toro as perfect masterpieces, but they are light years ahead of this.

A reboot rather than a sequel to the last “Hellboy” in 2008, this picture follows the titular character who works for a special agency defending humanity from paranormal threats. Hellboy, who was summoned to Earth during World War II, is an agent for the organization and his latest case takes him to England.

There, he learns of a sorceress (Milla Jovovich) who had threatened the world generations ago and plans to do so again. While Hellboy is initially ready to fight her, though, he has second thoughts because of how humans have outright attacked paranormal creatures throughout their history.

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REVIEW: ‘Shazam’ powered by dual lead performances

Just say the word. Review!

The latest comic book adaptation from the DC library is “Shazam!” a superhero comedy directed by David Sandberg and starring Asher Angel as Billy Batson. An orphan and frequent runaway, the film opens with Batson on a mission to find his mother. When his most recent search results in no findings, Batson is taken to another foster family.

After school one day, Batson ends up transported from Philadelphia to another realm where he meets the Wizard Shazam, who’s looking to give his powers to a new champion. Batson is selected and soon receives all of the wizard’s powers, transforming him into his prime form as the new Shazam (Zachary Levi). With his new abilities, it seems to be all fun and games, but the history of the wizard brings about an antagonist who wants the powers, played by Mark Strong.

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