REVIEW: Poor ending negates potential of ‘Night House’

There are some movies where the execution of an ending can be so integral that it can make or break the feature.

That’s the case with “The Night House,” and not in a good way.

Rebecca Hall plays Beth in this thriller, a high school teacher who recently lost her husband to suicide. Beth is trying to move on from the tragedy, but she continues to reside at the home her husband, Owen (Evan Jonigkeit), built on the lake, which leaves her with constant reminders.

Those reminders begin to manifest as visions for Beth, who begins to see frightening things related to her late husband in the midnight hours. Because of what she sees in the night, she begins looking into whether her husband had a secret life or not.

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REVIEW: Compelling and creepy ‘Candyman’ is a success

Sometimes, modern horror sequels to older properties can be massive disappointments, such as 2013’s “Texas Chainsaw.”

Fortunately, that’s not the case with the new “Candyman,” penned by Jordan Peele.

This film serves as a sequel to the original “Candyman” from 1992. This time around, the protagonist is Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), an artist living in Chicago with his girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris). Finding himself in artist block territory lately, McCoy decides to visit a northern Chicago housing project for inspiration.

While there, he meets a local named William (Colman Domingo), who tells McCoy the legend of the Candyman spirit. The legend ends up being a spark for McCoy who begins making art based on Candyman. However, his spark of creativity ends up reigniting the old Candyman spirit itself.

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REVIEW: Hudson’s stunning performance not enough to fully salvage generic ‘Respect’

Aretha Franklin was a powerful force in music and Civil Rights, and this movie certainly touches on both of those aspects.

One just wishes the quality of the film had been above that of a standard biopic.

“Respect” mainly follows Franklin’s (Jennifer Hudson) childhood and roughly the first 10 to 15 years of her career. The film opens with Franklin losing her mother and the impact the death leaves on her.

From there, it follows how music helped Franklin open up again after her mother’s death. Then, the picture focuses on how Franklin went from a lead singer at her father’s (Forest Whitaker) church to a struggling singer, and then finally breaking through to success.

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REVIEW: ‘Stillwater’ stalls due to poor narrative choices

Films inspired by a true story often take artistic liberties, which is perfectly fine. They better be well executed, though.

In this case, “Stillwater” was inspired by the story of Amanda Knox, an American woman falsely convicted on the charge of murdering a fellow exchange student in Italy. Abigail Breslin portrays Allison in “Stillwater,” an American woman in France who’s been in prison for four years.

Allison was convicted of murdering her roommate and classmate from a French university, although she maintains her innocence. Also convinced of her innocence is her dad, Bill (Matt Damon). The movie picks up with Bill visiting Allison in jail. During his stay, he learns there might be more evidence to prove her innocence and decides to stay, in case a development happens.

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REVIEW: ‘Green Knight’ is a strong, melancholic medieval feature

As an American, I’m not too versed in legends from the British Isles. Fortunately, the themes presented in “The Green Knight” are universal.

Dev Patel stars in the medieval fantasy as Gawain, the nephew of King Arthur. After accepting a challenge one fateful Christmas, Gawain is set on a path where he must go on a quest and face the mysterious Green Knight.

Gawain sets off on the adventure knowing full well that he may likely perish in the journey. However, with greatness at stake, he continues forward with the quest.

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REVIEW: ‘Till Death’ delivers with superb suspense

Director S.K. Dale makes his feature film debut with “Till Death,” and it’s a great first effort.

Megan Fox stars as Emma in “Till Death,” a woman whose marriage to her husband Mark (Eoin Macken) has been deteriorating. On their anniversary, though, it seems like Mark wants to patch things up. Unfortunately, the morning after, it turns out not to be the case.

Mark handcuffs himself to Emma and because of skeletons in his closet, shoots himself. It turns out this is the first part of a larger revenge plot against Emma for an affair. Now, Emma must survive against two hired men trying to get Mark’s fortune, one of whom she knows from an incident in her past.

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REVIEW: ‘The Tomorrow War’ weakened by convoluted concept

Sometimes you come across a movie where you ask “what the hell did I just watch?” when it gets done.

“The Tomorrow War” is one of those flicks.

The movie follows Dan Forester (Chris Pratt), a family man and retired soldier-turned school teacher in the year 2022. The story starts when the family watches a group of soldiers walk out of a portal on live TV. The soldiers inform those watching at home like the Foresters that they’re from the year 2051 where a massive war is taking place against aliens, and it’s not going well.

In order to push back against this threat, humanity developed a time bridge back to 2022 in order to get more fighters. The present day leaders agree to start a draft to send soldiers to the future and Forester ends up getting sent back into combat.

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REVIEW: Despite problems, ‘Mighty Orphans’ still cross the goal line for the win

I guess now I know who to thank for the high scoring Big 12 games on Saturdays.

Luke Wilson is Coach Rusty Russell in “12 Mighty Orphans.” As the name implies, the movie centers on a group of orphans who live at a Texas home for children and teenagers without families. Sadly, their home has seen better days and one of the educators, Frank (Wayne Knight), mistreats the students.

However, their fortunes begin to change when Russell arrives at the school in the midst of the Great Depression, along with his wife Juanita (Vinessa). On top of both Russells being teachers, Rusty also has experience as a football coach. He decides to apply that and forms a team. As orphans, though, the unit has to fight for respect both on and off the field.

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REVIEW: Get in the theater for ‘In the Heights’

“In the Heights” is an appropriate name for this film and the stage production its based on.

Not only because it takes place in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood, but also because it’s an experience that earns high scores.

The film is set in a Latin community and follows several characters, but the main focus is on Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), a bodega owner who dreams of reopening his late father’s beachside business in the Dominican Republic. One of the regular customers to Usnavi’s shop is Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), a young woman working at a salon who wants to pursue a career in fashion.

Early in the film, Usnavi and Vanessa meet up with Nina (Leslie Grace), a Stanford University student whose father owns a taxi company. That company is where Benny (Corey Hawkins), who has relationship history with Nina, works. The four of them spend time with others in the neighborhood and try to navigate their futures during a heat wave across New York City.

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REVIEW: ‘Dream Horse’ won’t be in award races, but it can still please viewers

The races featured in “Dream Horse” aren’t related to the American Triple Crown competitions, but it still feels like the right time to watch this flick.

“Dream Horse” takes place in a small town in Wales and revolves around a group of residents who decide to invest in a racing thoroughbred. Mainly, the movie follows Jan (Toni Collette), the woman who comes up with the idea and convinces other community members to pitch in.

Together, they breed a horse and because it was a group of residents coming aligning for a cause, they name it Dream Alliance. The proposal initially seems like a risky gamble until Dream Alliance becomes a success on the track.

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