REVIEW: Plaza positively shines in ‘Emily the Criminal’

Aubrey Plaza showed great acting skills in 2020’s “Black Bear” and she has followed it up with another strong performance this time around.

As the title implies, Plaza plays a young woman named Emily. Carrying a troubled past with her, Emily is down on her luck, working a bad job and paying off seemingly insurmountable loans.

Needing more income, she reluctantly decides to get involved in a credit card scam ring. While Emily starts having success, though, it pulls her deeper into a dangerous situation.

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REVIEW: ‘I Love My Dad’ is an uncomfortable comedy (in the best way)

This film produces, perhaps, the most second-hand embarassment of any movie out there.

Patton Oswalt’s Chuck in “I Love My Dad” is a father whose relationship with his son Franklin (James Morosini) has broken down over the years. Chuck has missed too many of Franklin’s life events, and it’s fractured goodwill between the two.

It gets to the point where Franklin is so fed up that he shuts down communication between them, blocking Chuck on his cell phone and social media. As a way to still get in contact with Franklin, Chuck decides to make a fake profile of a woman named Becca (Claudia Sulewski). The two are once again talking, but unfortunately, Franklin falls in love with the Becca persona.

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REVIEW: ‘Vengeance’ is an impressive look at true crime podcasting

Being a fan of true crime podcasts isn’t a necessity to enjoy this film, but it doesn’t hurt.

B.J. Novak, who wrote and directed “Vengeance,” stars as Ben, a writer at the New Yorker and an aspiring podcaster. One night after a failed pitch for a new podcast, he finds out a woman he had a short fling with died in Texas.

The woman’s brother convinces Ben to come to the Lone Star State not only for the funeral, but to look into her death, as it seemed suspicious. Ben decides to use this as a chance to create a podcast based on the woman’s death, and the concept of vengeance, as the brother is seeking it.

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REVIEW: ‘Elvis’ is an exuberant, exhausting experience

Elvis Presley has been portrayed on the large and small screen many times before. However, none of them featured the flair of filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, until now.

The story of Elvis (Austin Butler) in this biopic is told from the perspective of the performer’s infamous manager, Col. Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). The movie begins with Parker on his deathbed and from there, the former manager recounts the events of his time with the singer, from when he discovered him to the performers final days in Las Vegas.

The movie showcases how Elvis’ popularity surged, his inspiration from African American musicians, his controversial stage movements and his attempt at a comeback after some down years. It also features the decline of his health during his time doing several shows in Vegas.

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REVIEW: Post college struggles well portrayed in ‘Cha Cha Real Smooth’

No, this isn’t a behind the music look at the song that was drilled into your head during high school dances.

Andrew (Cooper Raiff) has just graduated from Tulane University in “Cha Cha Real Smooth” and is hoping to visit his girlfriend in Barcelona before the end of the summer, but still seems a bit lost. Not long after returning home, he goes to a bar mitzvah with his younger brother David (Evan Assante) and meets Domino (Dakota Johnson) and her daughter Lola (Vanessa Burghardt).

Andrew ends up being a hit at the party, with people liking how he was able to get people out on the dance floor and have fun. He’s then hired as a party starter for other bar mitzvahs. As he continues to work at the bar mitzvah events, he begins to get closer to Domino, gives advice to his brother who has a crush, and connects with Lola, who has autism, all while navigating what’s next in life.

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REVIEW: ‘The Phantom of the Open’ is a below average biopic

Some sports biopics inspire, others make you laugh, and there are those that do both.

“Phantom of the Open,” unfortunately, isn’t such a film.

The movie tells the true story of Maurice Flitcroft (Mark Rylance) a middle class shipping worker in an English port town. Upon hearing that the company he works for may be downsizing in the years to come, he begins considering what else he can do in life.

After a night of watching golf on TV, he decides to try his luck at the sport, entering the 1976 Open Championship. The only problem is Flitcroft is a complete amateur entering a professional competition. Despite this, he goes forward with support from his family.

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REVIEW: ‘Crimes of the Future’ is a fascinating sci-fi creation

In the “Crimes of the Future” world, there are two separate, yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime, and an organ registry office to track human evolution.

These are their stories.

In the future portrayed in this film, humanity has evolved to the point where people no longer experience pain and are immune to infectious diseases. Evolution hasn’t stopped there, though, with some humans having bodies that create additional organs with no function, and others having a digestive system that can dissolve plastic.

Both evolutionary traits have gotten the attention of government agencies. Thanks to a man named Saul (Viggo Mortenson), the former trait has also gotten attention in cultural circles. He has made the removal of these organs into a show, as he allows an audience to watch these surgeries, which are conducted by an artist named Caprice (Lea Seydoux).

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REVIEW: ‘Hustle’ has enough highlights to be worth seeing

As a Timberwolves fan, I was happy to see Minnesota star basketball player Anthony Edwards featured in this film.

Unfortunately, he plays an antagonistic character in “Hustle,” so the audience isn’t supposed to like him. Quite the dilemma.

The main focus of “Hustle,” though, is Stanley Sugerman (Adam Sandler), a scout for the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers team. At the film’s start, Sugerman appears to have a chance at moving up from a scout to an assistant coach, but the promotion is dashed when a change of ownership takes place.

Sugerman is at first upset about having to go abroad to scout players again, but his mentality changes when he comes across a street-ball player named Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangomez) in Spain. Sugerman knows it’s a long shot because the 76ers don’t appear entirely interested in Cruz because of his lack of association play, but Sandler’s character still brings him to the United States, convinced that the player can get drafted by a pro team.

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REVIEW: Maverick’s new mission in ‘Top Gun’ sequel is worth seeing

In the past 20 years, sequels have been made to 80s franchises like “Rambo,” “Rocky,” “Die Hard” and “Indiana Jones.”

It just feels right that “Top Gun” joins the club.

“Maverick” follows the titular character (Tom Cruise) as he enters what looks to be the last stage of his career. Rather than move on to other ranks and jobs, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell has remained a captain in the United States Navy, with the decision based on his love of being a pilot.

At the request of Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), Maverick is taken off his current assignment as a test pilot for new aircraft and placed back in San Diego at Top Gun. He was chosen because he’s the only pilot with enough experience to train the top aviators in the country for a dangerous, nearly impossible mission. The situation is complicated by Maverick’s guilt, though, as his late wingman’s son Bradley (Miles Teller) is one of the pilots he intends to train.

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REVIEW: Alex Garland’s “Men” is ambitious but frustrating

I have a feeling this film will have some guys shouting “not all men!”

This film from director Alex Garland from the company A24 stars Jessie Buckley as Harper, a woman who’s gone to stay at a cottage in the country after a personal tragedy. The rental is in a nice enough small town and all seems well, but issues with her past continue to trouble her.

It’s made only worse as she has to deal with some rather bothersome figures in town, from a prying priest to a creepy schoolboy. These men only make her mental state worse.

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