REVIEW: ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ is a powerful, magnetic drama

The use of confidential informants, as this film shows in great detail, can be a problematic law enforcement measure.

In this case, the movie is about informant Bill O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield), a young man who is arrested for pretending to be an FBI agent to steal a car. Rather than be charged right away, though, O’Neal is given an opportunity by bureau agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons). Not long before Mitchell gave O’Neal the opportunity, J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen) announced that Black Panther Illinois Leader Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) needed to be monitored.

That’s the job offered by Mitchell, and to avoid prison time, O’Neal reluctantly accepts. O’Neal makes his way into the Black Panthers organization and over time, establishes himself as a full-fledged member. As a result, O’Neal begins getting closer to Hampton and is able to report his findings to the FBI. However, with tensions seeming to rise all around him, O’Neal finds himself being pulled in two directions.

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REVIEW: ‘The Little Things’ has little to offer the detective genre

Denzel Washington is once again doing detective work in California but this time, it’s not a training day.

Washington plays Joe Deacon, who casually goes by Deke. A former detective, Deke now works as a sheriff deputy with a normal beat. He mostly stays in his own lane, but at the movie’s start, he’s brought in to give some experienced advice on a new murder case.

The case is being primarily helmed by Jim Baxter (Rami Malek), a young detective who’s already making a name for himself as a talented inspector. While the two are at first not thrilled about working together, they eventually decide they can figure this puzzle out better by working side-by-side. The film explores them doing so and also begins revealing why Deke made a career change.

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REVIEW: ‘I’m Your Woman’ is watchable, but weakened by story issues

“I’m Your Woman” is a fairly entertaining crime drama, but the story does get clunky at times.

Rachel Brosnahan plays the lead character Jean in the film. She is married to Eddie (Bill Heck) a man who by all appearances is associated with organized crime. At the movie’s onset, Eddie comes home with a baby, stating that it’s his and Jean’s son.

Jean begins caring for the baby, but her typical days of motherhood are shattered when she is told that Eddie has gone missing by one of his friends, Cal (Arinze Kene). Now she must survive with her child as the criminal underground applies pressure on her.

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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: ’21 Bridges’ isn’t sensational, but it is streamable

The characters didn’t go to all 21 bridges. 1 out of 5.

Just kidding, kind of.

This film is a sophomore feature effort by director Brian Kirk, who in the past helmed 2006’s “Middletown.” His latest film stars Chadwick Boseman as Andre Davis, a detective with roughly a decade of experience with the New York City Police Department. While he’s a good detective, though, he’s also gained a negative reputation of being too quick on the trigger.

His expertise is called upon, though, when a drug incident turns into a blood bath, with several police officers dead and the two responsible going on the run. To capture the two and bring them to justice, Andre and another investigator, Frankie Burns (Sienna Miller) launch a city-wide manhunt and shut down all 21 bridges out of New York.

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REVIEW: ‘Good Liar,’ not so good movie

The most glaring thing about “The Good Liar” is that it’s not nearly as clever as it thinks it is.

“The Good Liar” stars Ian McKellen as Roy Courtnay, an elderly longtime con artist who happens to meet a wealthy widow named Betty (Helen Mirren). Seeing an opportunity to make cash on another job, Roy initiates a new operation to start a relationship with Betty and be with her until he can get her to share her bank accounts and he can make the robbery happen.

Roy has to really commit to the role, though, as the job in convincing Betty isn’t entirely easy. Plus, Betty’s grandson, Stephen (Russell Tovey), doesn’t trust Roy from the very start. The result is a con job that’s more difficult than initially expected.

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REVIEW: ‘Hustlers’ is a flashy, fun crime story

Hustlin’ aint easy, but the main characters in this flick sure seemed good at it.

“Hustlers” follows the character Destiny (Constance Wu), a woman trying to make a living in New York City by working at a gentlemen’s club. On top of making a living for herself, she’s also working to support her grandmother. While she’s making some money with the job, she doesn’t hit her stride until she meets Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), who acts as a sort of mentor.

Things appear to be going well with more money coming in. However, the film is set around 2008 and as many may remember, Wall Street tanked and pulled the rest of the world economy down with it. In the ensuing years, with more financial strains, Destiny decides to join Ramona in a scheme of getting wealthy wall street clients drunk and then over-charging their credit cards.

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REVIEW: ‘The Kitchen’ doesn’t serve audiences anything good

There are some movies that on paper, look like they might be pretty good. “The Kitchen” certainly was one, with a pretty good cast and a writer looking to make a debut in a classic genre. But when the movie is put to screen, one sees that the positive appearance was just a mirage.

“The Kitchen” is set in the late 70s, taking place in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen area. The picture follows three women who are married to members of an Irish crime syndicate, including Kathy (Melissa McCarthy), Ruby (Tiffany Haddish) and Claire (Elisabeth Moss). The flick picks up in the midst of a robbery by their husbands, which was being watched by the FBI.

As a result, the three men are sent to prison and their wives are left to fend for themselves. Having not enough to survive and getting little help from the Irish mob, they decided to go into “business” for themselves, and end up becoming powerful figures in their burrow.

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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: Inconsistent tone causes ‘Mule’ to crash

“The Mule” was a rather perplexing experience. Mainly because the tone was all over the place for so much of the picture.

Earl Stone, played by Clint Eastwood, is the main character of “The Mule.” He’s an older gentleman who had a successful career as a gardener. However, with the rise of the internet his business fell to pieces and his commitment to his job meant he was alienated from his family.

Wanting to still support his family, though, despite being pushed away for his absences, Earl looks for ways to find money and through a chance encounter, becomes a mule for a Mexican drug cartel. Because he’s a simple, nice old man who just likes listening to old tunes and follows the law, Earl actually becomes the perfect drug smuggler. However, the cartel operation as a whole comes under investigation by a federal agent named Colin Bates (Bradley Cooper).

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