REVIEW: ‘New Era’ at Downton offers enjoyment, despite shortcomings

I didn’t always know what was going on in the 2019 “Downton Abbey” film since I didn’t watch the series. That was true again here.

However, like its predecessor, it’s still fairly enjoyable.

“New Era” has two main stories unfolding. One revolves around a new film being shot at the Downton estate, where Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Violet (Maggie Smith) are keeping watch of things. While the family is hesitant about the film industry using the building, they allow it as it will provide funding to do needed roof repairs.

Meanwhile, the characters Robert (Hugh Bonneville), Cora (Elizabeth McGovern), Edith (Laura Carmichael), Herbert (Harry Hadden-Patton), Tom (Allen Leech) and Lucy (Tuppence Middleton) travel to southern France to explore a villa Violet inherited. The inheritance was included in the will of a man who Violet met decades ago in her youth.

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REVIEW: ‘Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’ is a Nic Cage triumph

Nicolas Cage is uncaged in this film, since he gets to really be himself. Seriously.

Cage plays a fictionalized version of himself in “Massive Talent.” Like the real version, the Cage in the movie hasn’t starred in a major blockbuster in a few years and it’s been tough on the actor.

He gets an opportunity to make some easy cash thanks to a mega fan named Javi, though, which could help get him on sturdier ground. However, it turns out Javi, who hired Cage to attend his birthday party, is actually a person the CIA has been targeting as an arms dealer. The CIA then asks Cage to provide surveillance on the individual.

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REVIEW: ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ is excellent

After this movie, you’ll never look at googly eyes the same way again.

This film stars Michelle Yeoh as a woman, Evelyn, who owns and operates a laundromat with her husband, Waymond (Jonathan Ke Quan). Their marriage has become strained, though, and she doesn’t have the best relationship with her daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu), either. On top of her family matters, Evelyn also has to deal with an audit into the laundromat by the IRS.

At a meeting with an IRS employee, Evelyn is contacted by different version of her husband from another universe who informs her that she may be the only being in the multi-verse who can prevent a calamity. To do so, Evelyn will have to tap into abilities from other versions of herself from alternate universes.

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REVIEW: Middling romcom is all to be found in ‘The Lost City’

This might be the most intense adventure a character played by Sandra Bullock has been on since “Speed 2: Cruise Control.”

In “The Lost City,” Bullock portrays Loretta Sage, an author who’s made a career out of writing steamy romance/adventure novels. She was once passionate about history and exploring, but she lost her drive when her husband passed away.

Loretta isn’t excited about her latest book tour, either, as she’s tired of dealing with Alan (Channing Tatum), a book cover model who takes a lot of the attention. Loretta ends up having to rediscover her passion for history, and find some courage, though, as she’s kidnapped by a billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe), who’s searching for a treasure referenced in one of her books.

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REVIEW: Road movie ‘Dog’ succeeds with emotion and humor

Channing Tatum plays Jackson Briggs in this new dramatic comedy. Not to be confused with the Jackson “Jax” Briggs from the “Mortal Kombat” series.

Briggs is an Army Ranger who, since being discharged, has found it difficult to adapt to life back home. He’s tried to get work in military-related roles, but is often denied because of his post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis and other injuries.

At a memorial gathering for one of his friends and fellow soldiers, though, Briggs is able to ask his commanding officer to put in a recommendation for him to help get a job. The officer agrees, but in return, asks Briggs to take the late soldier’s military service dog to the funeral, being held in Arizona. Knowing it’s a long drive from the Washington state to Arizona, but wanting the work, Briggs reluctantly agrees.

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REVIEW: ‘Worst Person in the World’ is a well-made Norwegian feature

“The Worst Person in the World” is far from the worst movie in the world.

This film, from Norway, stars Renate Reinsve as Julie, a young woman who’s having trouble deciding what to do in life. The movie starts with Julie studying to become a doctor, before switching majors to psychology. Early on in the movie, she does this again, deciding to pursue a career in photography.

Her romantic life is fairly similar. Early in the picture, she meets and begins a relationship with Aksel, a successful comic artist. As their relationship is humming along, though, she meets another man, Eivind (Herbert Nordrum). Like her academic career, Julie feels herself being pulled in more than one direction romantically.

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REVIEW: ‘Marry Me’ has enough rom-com magic to win viewers over

My ears definitely perked up when I heard this film was actually based on a graphic novel, which I now want to read.

Jennifer Lopez is Kat in “Marry Me,” a pop music super star who’s preparing for a concert like no other. She plans to get married on stage in front of a huge crowd to her fiance, Bastian, who’s also a singer.

However, before the show, she learns that Bastian cheated on her. Upset and wanting a quick fix, she decides to pick a stranger in the crowd to marry instead. That stranger is Charlie (Owen Wilson), a school teacher and single father. The two at first see it as an in the moment, reversible mistake, but soon grow closer.

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REVIEW: Don’t look at the screen when ‘Don’t Look Up’ is on

So, this movie sure got people talking.

“Don’t Look Up” is the latest feature from director/writer Adam McKay, and centers on a scenario where there’s a comet headed toward Earth. The scientists who discover the comet, Randall (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Kate (Jennifer Lawrence) immediately inform the federal government after their discovery, with the hope that action is taken.

Unfortunately, they’re not exactly met with a warm welcome at the White House. The president, played by Meryl Streep, is much more concerned with optics and doesn’t particularly trust scientific evidence. As a result, Randall and Kate have to try to work with an ineffective head of state, while also trying to get air-time in a world where’s there’s apparently just one television show.

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REVIEW: ‘Mitchells Vs The Machines’ never rises above mediocre

This movie and the new “Matrix” in a few weeks is only reinforcing my concern about a robot uprising.

As the title implies, this movie is about a family, named the Mitchells, taking on evil bots. While the whole family is included, though, the main focus is on Katie (Abbi Jacobson), a teen who’s preparing to go to college in California to study film. Her academic path has put her at odds with her dad Rick (Danny McBride), though, who’s never been interested in technology and enjoys the outdoors much more.

Knowing that he has one last chance to connect with his daughter before she leaves for school, Rick decides to take Katie, as well as his son Aaron (Michael Rianda) and wife Linda (Maya Rudolph) on a college move-in road trip. Unfortunately, their journey is interrupted by the robots who’re in the midst of a global takeover because of an A.I. gone bad.

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REVIEW: Despite star power, Netflix’s ‘Red Notice’ is a dud

Film is an interesting medium. Movies can be both an amazing piece of art and a product to make profit.

Sometimes, though, a movie feels too much like it’s just a product, and that’s how “Red Notice” comes across.

In this new Netflix movie, Dwayne Johnson stars as John Hartley, an FBI agent who’s working with Interpol to arrest one of the best art thieves in the world, Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds). Nolan’s latest target to steal is a rare Egyptian artifact, as only three of its kind exist in the world.

After a chase, both Nolan and John get set up by another art thief, who goes by The Bishop (Gal Gadot). Both are sent to prison, as John has been framed as an accomplice, and now must work together to take down Bishop and, potentially, get the Egyptian artifact in the process.

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