REVIEW: ‘Armageddon Time’ is moving, but storytelling has troubles

Despite what the title implies, this is not a Roland Emmerich disaster movie.

Instead, it’s a coming of age drama focused on the life and times of middle schooler Paul Graff (Banks Repeta) over the course of the 1980 Presidential Election. Paul, whose story was inspired by director James Gray’s own childhood, attends public school in New York City, which his parents aren’t entirely sold on.

His brother already attends a private school and, with financial support from his grandparents, Paul’s mom (Anne Hathaway) and dad (Jeremy Strong) think he should do the same. This is eventually set in motion when Paul and his black friend Johnny (Jaylin Webb) get in trouble at school.

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REVIEW: Paul Thomas Anderson serves up one of year’s best with ‘Licorice Pizza’

Sometimes a good movie will introduce a new talent on screen.

It’s an even bigger treat when two new performers are introduced and give stellar performances.

That’s the case with “Licorice Pizza,” where first time performers Cooper Hoffman and Alana Haim star. Hoffman plays Gary, a teen actor with a ton of ambition. Despite being 15, Gary has a knack for hustling with small business schemes.

The film picks up in 1973, with Gary meeting Haim’s character Alana, a 25-year-old photography assistant. The two form an initial bond and from there, start working together on Gary’s business ideas. The film follows their relationship through the ups and downs of their lives during the summer months.

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REVIEW: ‘Belfast’ is a relatable, enjoyable black and white feature

The beginnings of the Northern Ireland Conflict are shown at a humble, micro-level, through the eyes of a young boy in this new film from Kenneth Brannagh.

The film is somewhat autobiographical, as Brannagh, who wrote and directed, grew up in Belfast, before his family relocated as the situation was heating up. The movie is told from the perspective of Buddy (Jude Hill), who lives with his family, which includes brother Will (Lewis McAskie), mother (Caitriona Balfe) and father (Jamie Dornan).

While his mother is always present, his father is mostly home just on the weekends, as he works as a contractor in England. The work situation comes into play heavily during the movie, as Buddy’s father sees moving the whole family to England as a good option with tensions heating in Northern Ireland.

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REVIEW: ‘CODA’ delivers with humor and plenty of heart

Sometimes a movie comes along and reinvigerates a person’s appreciation for a genre.

That’s what “CODA” has done for coming of age/teen drama films.

The title of the movie is an acryonym, meaning Child of Deaf Adults. The main character is Ruby (Emilia Jones), a teenager whose parents Frank (Troy Kotsur) Jackie (Marlee Matlin), as well as her brother Leo (Daniel Durant) are all deaf. On top of attending school, Ruby helps in the family fishing business, working on the boat and acting as a sign language interpretor for sales.

During her time at home, Ruby is a music lover and she expresses this on the boat with her singing. This inspires her to take up choir in her senior year of high school, where the film picks up. The movie then follows how she has to balance her job and her singing lessons, as well as her family’s reaction to her doing something they can’t enjoy or enage with.

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REVIEW: ‘Good Boys,’ good comedy

Those transitional years between the elementary level and high school level can be a rough time for kids, and that’s especially true for the three characters featured in “Good Boys.”

The movie stars Jacob Tremblay as Max, Keith Williams as Lucas and Brady Noon as Thor. The three best friends are on the more nerdy side of things in their school and as a result aren’t shown to be with the “in crowd.” However, opportunity arises when Max and his friends are invited to a party where there may be, gasp, kissing.

The trio is hyped to go, but days before the party, an incident involving a broken drone and drugs causes them to skip school and go on a quest of sorts to set everything right without their parents finding out.

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REVIEW: ‘Eighth Grade’ is a top tier coming-of-age film

Even though the only social media platforms I had in grade school was MSN Messenger and MySpace, I was still able to relate to much of what was going on in this feature. I think that will be the same for many people who watch this picture.

As one might guess, the movie is about the eighth grade. More specifically, it’s about Kayla (Elsie Fisher), a young girl going through the final days of her eighth grade year. She has her own Youtube channel where she gives out advice and often acts confident in front of the camera. However, in reality Kayla is much more of a shy and awkward person who appears to be an introvert.

As the days go by, Kayla experiences what most middle-schoolers go through, from school drills to dealing with other students. Through those experiences, the audience gets to know quite a bit about what the character is living through, both emotionally and mentally.

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REVIEW: ‘Call Me By Your Name’ Is A Fantastic, Authentic Look At Youth And Love

“Call Me By Your Name” is the art of film at its highest level.

This movie, set in Italy during the early 80s, follows the 17-year-old character Elio (Timothee Chalamet). Soon after the movie starts, Elio meets Oliver (Armie Hammer), a college student who’s come to work as an assistant for Ellio’s father, who works as an archaeology professor.

What follows is a beautiful story about youth, love and figuring out who you are.

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REVIEW: ‘Lady Bird’ Is A Great Coming Of Age Story And One Of 2017’s Best

Greta Gerwig made her solo directing debut with “Lady Bird,” and what a debut it is.

Christine McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) is the main character in the film. However, she refers to herself as Lady Bird and requests that everyone she knows call her by that name, too. The picture’s story follows Lady Bird through her senior year at a private Catholic high school and largely centers on the relationship between her and her mother Marion (Laurie Metcalf).

As her last year in high school unfolds, Lady Bird and Marion clash numerous times, both over their family’s finances and Lady Bird’s plans for college.

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REVIEW: One Of 2016’s Best, ‘Moonlight’ Fires On All Cylinders

“Moonlight” is both one of the year’s best films and also one of the greatest coming of age stories put on screen.

The picture follows the story of a character named Chiron as he navigates his way through life in Miami. The flick is split up into three sections of Chiron’s life, his youth where he’s played by Alex Hibbert, his teenage years, portrayed by Ashton Sanders and his adult period, acted by Trevante Rhodes.

As the film develops, it puts on display Chiron coming to terms with his sexuality, his struggles living in a poverty-stricken area of Miami and his strained relationship with his mother.

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Boyhood review

Richard Linklater
Ellar Coltrane
Patricia Arquette
Elijah Smith
Lorelei Linklater
Rated: R

The way this film was made was revolutionary, but I doubt many other filmmakers will jump on the bandwagon.

Richard Linklater, who has previously directed the films “Before Sunrise,” “Before Sunset,” “Before Midnight” and the hilarious comedy, “Bernie,” took on a tremendous task with “Boyhood.” Instead of setting up a certain period of time to complete filming over a year or two, Linklater decided to shoot the movie over a 12-year period.

The 12-year story shown in the movie is perfectly summed up by its title. “Boyhood” follows the adolescence of a boy named Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, as he goes through life from ages 5-18.

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