REVIEW: Despite spectacle, ‘Mulan’ mostly stumbles

Trying to do two things at once can sometimes be pulled off, but it can also lead to a mess. This “Mulan” film is definitely a situation of the latter.

The film stars Yifei Liu as Mulan, a young woman who doesn’t exactly fit in at her community in rural China. Around the time that she’s getting forced to meet with a matchmaker, another area of China is being invaded by Rouran warriors, led by their commander Bori Khan (Jason Scott Lee) and magical witch, Xianniang (Li Gong).

In response, the Emperor (Jet Li) orders one man from each Chinese family to join the army to defend the nation. Mulan’s father is enlisted, but he has a permanent leg injury and already fought in a previous war. Knowing he would be in danger, Mulan decides to join the war in his place, disguising herself as a man in the process.

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REVIEW: Excessive techno-babble makes ‘Tenet’ tiresome

Having nearly three fourths of the dialogue in your movie be scientific terms and concepts doesn’t make your movie smart.

“Tenet” follows a character simply known as The Protagonist (John David Washington). A spy who appears to work for the American intelligence apparatus, Washington’s character is assigned a mission where he has to investigate weapons that defy time.

For example, the spy is shown bullets that are inverted, which means they move backwards in time. On his mission, the Protagonist is assisted by a helpful contact named Neil (Robert Pattinson). As the mission continues, the Protagonist discovers the main person associated with the weapons is Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh). To get close to the arms dealer, the agent begins speaking with Sator’s wife Kat (Elizabeth Debicki).

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REVIEW: ‘Unhinged’ is never unentertaining

I don’t think Russell Crowe hasn’t taken out everything in his path like this since “Gladiator.”

Crowe, whose character is just known as The Man, is introduced as violent right from the start, as the opening scene shows him committing a double murder and then arson. We then switch to the main character, Rachel (Caren Pistorius), who’s having a rough morning.

She’s late for work, her divorce is taking the difficult route through the legal system and she has to make sure her son Kyle (Gabriel Bateman) gets to school on time. Along the way, she lays on the horn pretty hard at a truck, driven by Crowe’s character. He doesn’t take kindly to it, and decides to go on a murderous, destructive rampage with Rachel as his target.

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REVIEW: ‘New Mutants’ misses the mark

After nearly two years of delays “The New Mutants” has finally arrived. Unfortunately, it’s hard to say that it’s worth the wait.

The movie begins with a teenager, Danielle (Blu Hunt),  waking up in a hospital-like facility after what seemed to be a monstrous tornado destroyed her town. Danielle soon learns from the single physician at the facility, Dr. Reyes (Alice Braga), that she is a mutant and she’s at an establishment meant to keep other young mutants from the general public and teach them to control their power.

The other mutants include Rahne (Maisie Williams), Illyana (Anya Taylor-Joy), Sam (Charlie Heaton) and Roberto (Henry Zaga). As Danielle starts to settle in, the other mutants began having hallucinations while also getting closer to the truth of what the facility actually is.

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REVIEW: New Netflix film never reaches full ‘Power’

Super powers can be a fun thing in movies, but they need to have rules and, more importantly, they must make sense.

“Project Power, unfortunately, doesn’t have a good control on this aspect, or other film elements for that matter.

The film is set in New Orleans and takes place as a new drug is spreading through the city. Rather than giving people a high, though, this new drug causes people to have five minute bursts of super powers.

As the film goes on, the drug is shown to give different people unique powers, such as super strength or camouflage. The film follows a trio of characters mixed into the situation, a cop who’s using the drug himself to fight back named Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a former soldier ,Art (Jamie Foxx), who’s trying to limit its spread and a student, Robin (Dominique Fishback), who’s started dealing the substance.

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REVIEW: After slow start, ‘The Outpost’ rallies for strong finish

A major battle during the War in Afghanistan where United States soldiers were completely out numbered is featured in this 2020 war movie.

The picture is set 11 years ago, in the fall of 2009, and follows United States soldiers who are stationed at Combat Outpost Keating. Life for the soldiers is never easy, as the outpost was labeled indefensible.

Centered in a valley and with an enemy threat constantly looming, it is difficult to keep the outpost safe and secure. This becomes most apparent in early October, when more than 300 Taliban insurgents attacked the location in what’s called the Battle of Kamdesh.

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REVIEW: ‘The Old Guard’ flops despite strong premise

“The Old Guard” is a pretty accurate title because this film doesn’t offer many new tricks.

The movie stars Charlize Theron as Andy, an immortal woman who’s lived for centuries as a warrior. She is the leader of a group of immortal fighters who’ve come together as a group of mercenaries. The film picks up with the team getting hired by Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor),  a man who’s heard of their skills in combat.

However, the group soon learns that they were set up by Copley, who wants to conduct research on the immortals as part of a pharmaceutical scheme. Meanwhile, Nile (KiKi Layne), a U.S. soldier in the Middle East, learns that she too is immortal and ends up joining the mercenaries in their work to evade Copley’s associates.

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REVIEW: ‘7500’ offers thrills in close quarters

All of “7500” takes place within the small confines of a cockpit. Considering this film was made for just $5 million, doing so probably kept costs down. It also brought the tension up.

The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tobias, a co-pilot for a German airliner just leaving the airport. Joining Tobias in the cockpit is the Captain Michael (Carlo Kitzlinger), who’s the older, more experienced of the two. Meanwhile, working as a flight attendant is Tobias’ girlfriend Gökce (Aylin Tezel).

Tobias is a little stressed, as he and Gökce are house-hunting, but otherwise it seems like a routine flight. That is until the airplane is subject to a hijacking attempt. Tobias manages to keep the hijackers out of the cockpit and announce Code 7500 to air traffic controllers to let them know of the situation, but the terrorists begin taking hostages, making the situation tense.

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REVIEW: ‘Da 5 Bloods’ falters due to storytelling

Maybe Spike Lee should have used a five-part mini-series to tell the story of “Da 5 Bloods.”

This film, released recently on Netflix, is about four veterans who return to Vietnam decades after they fought in the war. The men who go to the country include Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis) and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr.).

They journeyed to the country for two primary reasons. One is to return to the place where their friend and fellow soldier Norman (Chadwick Boseman) died to collect his remains and bring them back to the States. The other reason is to collect gold they found and buried there when they were soldiers. Joining them on this journey is Paul’s estranged son David (Jonathan Majors).

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REVIEW: ‘Artemis Fowl’ is atrocious

I’ve been doing this for nearly 12 years, and every so often there’s a movie so bad it tempts me to walk out of the theater or hit the stop button. “Artemis Fowl” has joined that club.

Ferdia Shaw plays the titular character Artemis Fowl (Jr.). He’s a certified child genius who still has to go to school for some reason, and lives at a mansion with his father, Artemis Fowl Sr., and his butler, Domovoi (Nonso Anozie).

One day, his father goes missing, and is blamed for stealing several priceless artifacts. Artemis soon learns that his father has also been kidnapped by a mysterious figure. The antagonist tells Fowl he has to get an artifact to get his dad back. As it turns out, a civilization of fantasy creatures including fairies also want the same artifact. As a result, Artemis needs to deal with both entities to save his father.

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