REVIEW: By-the-books ‘Upside’ has its moments

“Upside” is a film with both ups and downs, leaving the overall quality of this film about friendship somewhere in the middle.

The film follows the story of Dell Scott (Kevin Hart), a man out on parole, estranged from his family and looking for a new job. In his search, he crosses paths with Philip (Bryan Cranston), a billionaire who became disabled in an accident and is in need of a life auxiliary.

In a state of depression and with little care to who works for him, Philip decides to hire Dell. Despite both being unenthusiastic about the situation, the two eventually form a friendship which is explored through the rest of the picture.

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REVIEW: ‘Replicas’ is a total misfire

Oof. This one was rough.

“Replicas” features Keanu Reeves as Will Foster, a scientist working at a research company, specializing in downloading a person’s mind and digitizing it. The goal is to be able to store the mind and transfer it, should a person’s body become destroyed in an accident, for example.

Unfortunately, that’s just what happens to Will’s family. Stricken by grief, and having access to amazing technology, Will, along with his assistant Ed (Thomas Middleditch), decide to conduct an experiment to clone and recreate the family, and transplant the brain data, as a way to bring them back to life.

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REVIEW: While cliched, ‘Basis of Sex’ is still inspiring

A Supreme Court justice now has a superhero origin story.

“On the Basis of Sex” tells the story of how Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) entered the world of law and began a career focused on equal rights. That career, of course, would lead to her becoming a justice on the United States Supreme Court.

“Basis” begins with Ginsburg attending Harvard University’s law school and follows this up with her time as a professor at Rutgers University. The latter is where she would take on a case where the nation’s tax code discriminated on the basis of sex.

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REVIEW: A walk in ‘Beale Street’ is worth taking

No matter what neighborhood you grew up in, you will leave this movie knowing how it feels to live on Beale Street.

“If Beale Street Could Talk” follows the story of a young woman named Tish (Kiki Layne) and her boyfriend Alonzo (Stephan James), who’s sitting in jail because a police officer suspected him as the assailant in a rape case.

As the movie goes on, Tish is coming to terms with the fact that Alonzo was wrongly accused while also learning that she’s become pregnant. Over the course of the picture, Tish goes through the stages of her pregnancy while also trying to clear Alonzo’s name, with the help of her family.

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REVIEW: Inconsistencies are a detriment to ‘Vice’

Director Adam McKay had a few comedies under his belt before hitting the award circuit in a major way with “The Big Short” in 2015. In that film, McKay took on the 2008 housing crisis and Great Recession with brilliant humor,  while still exploring the serious subject matter. McKay tries to do the same thing here with “Vice,” but the results are much more mixed.

The movie is about the rise of former Vice President Dick Cheney (Christian Bale), who served alongside former President George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) from 2001-2008. The picture explores how Cheney went from a Congressional aide, to a House member, then to having seats in the White House staff, and finally, assuming the vice presidential position. Over the course of its runtime, “Vice” shows Cheney’s relationship to his wife Lynne (Amy Adams), his daughters, and his political allies, such as Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell).

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REVIEW: Go ahead and skip a trip to ‘Marwen’

AKA “Action Figure Women of the OSS.”

“Welcome to Marwen” follows the story of Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell), a man who was brutally attacked one night while out having a drink. The attack not only resulted in physical damage, but mental wounds as well, with Hogancamp losing most of his memories.

As a way to cope with the strains of his injuries, as well as his post traumatic stress disorder, Hogancamp finds comfort in the art-form of constructing a series of miniatures and photographing them. However, with the legal matters still taking place, Hogancamp must will himself to go to court and confront his assailants. Meanwhile, he also meets a new, kind neighbor in Nicol (Leslie Mann).

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REVIEW: ‘At Eternity’s Gate’ provides a meaningful vision of a great artist

The life and times of Vincent Van Gogh are uniquely portrayed in this feature from director Julian Schnabel.

“At Eternity’s Gate” tells the story of Van Gogh (Willem Dafoe), picking up with him as a struggling artist in France and following his career when he lives in a smaller community.

Along with the work he did on the canvas, “Gate” also takes time to explore and address some of Van Gogh struggles with his mental illnesses.

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REVIEW: ‘The Favourite’ is an incredible dramatic comedy

This movie features not one, not two, but three women who are worthy of winning Best Actress awards this season.

“The Favourite” is the latest film from director Yorgos Lanthimos and it tells the story of Sarah (Rachel Weisz), the adviser and assistant to Queen Anne of England (Olivia Colman). The movie gets started with Sarah’s cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) coming to the castle seeking work as a maid. Abigail quickly shows her value as a staff member and manages to work her way up in the hierarchy, eventually falling into favor with the queen herself.

As she does this, something of a rivalry develops between Sarah and Abigail over who’s best at serving Queen Anne. As all of this is taking place, there is also the fact that England is at war and politicians are trying to pull the queen in various ways to fit their agendas. Both the rivalry between the two women and the ongoing political debate end up crossing over in this dark comedy with phenomenal results.

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REVIEW: Plot issues cause ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ to stumble

I really, really wanted to like this one more.

As the name implies, “Mary Queen of Scots” tells the story of Queen Mary of Scotland (Saoirse Ronan), who for much of her adult life, was a rival to England’s Queen Elizabeth (Margot Robbie). The film follows Mary returning to Scotland after some years away and assuming her responsibilities on the throne.

With time passing, Mary and her advisers see a legitimate claim to the English throne as well and decide to take action, with the idea of Mary replacing Elizabeth. Along with heritage, the situation is also driven by religion, with Mary being a Catholic and Elizabeth ruling as a Protestant.

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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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