REVIEW: ‘King Richard’ can please crowds but could have been more

The Prince of Bel-Air has ascended to a higher monarch level, now having the title of king.

Will Smith is Richard Williams in this new sports drama, the father of tennis greats Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena Williams (Demi Singleton) who had the nickname of King Richard in Compton, Calif. The film begins with Richard helping his daughters with tennis practices, and making an effort to find them a professional coach, as he knows their potential.

From there, the movie follows how Richard worked to advance his daughters’ talents, while also halting their careers from advancing too fast. The movie also explores how Richard got along with Venus’ coaches and his marriage with Oracene Williams (Aunjanue Ellis).

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REVIEW: ‘The French Dispatch’ is a delightful dramedy

Rock Chalk meets French culture in this new film from Wes Anderson.

“The French Dispatch” refers to an insert section for the Evening Sun newspaper in Liberty, Kansas. In the movie, a situation happens where the French dispatch will have to suspend production.

For the last publication, the paper republishes three important articles written by a trio of reporters. The film from there with an anthology approach, following how each reporter researched and interviewed for the stories.

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REVIEW: ‘Passing’ swings for the fences, but it’s a miss for Netflix

The 1920s are brought to life in this new Netflix feature, with a black and white look reminiscent of movies from the era.

“Passing” stars Tessa Thompson as Irene, a light-skinned black woman who lives in Harlem with with her husband, an African American doctor (Andre Holland), and two sons. The movie picks up with Irene out and about one day where she runs into a friend from high school.

That friend is Clare (Ruth Negga), who is African American, but because of her light skin and blonde hair, “passes” as white. The film explores the friendship between Clare and Irene, and how it relates to race and class.

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REVIEW: ‘Spencer’ is a master class character study

Diana, Princess of Wales, has been portrayed on screen for decades, in everything from TV movies to the critically acclaimed series “The Crown.”

Perhaps no film has featured a portrayal as intimate and powerful as the one in “Spencer,” though.

Kristen Stewart stars as Princess Diana, who’s joining the rest of the British Royal Family in Norfolk at the Sandringham Estate for the holidays in 1991. The film follows Diana closely, from Christmas Eve through Boxing Day, showcasing her strained relationship with the rest of her family, her struggles with mental health and commitment to be a strong parent for her sons.

Where “Spencer” differs from other biopics about Princess Diana and other films about the royals is the hyper-focus. The movie centers nearly exclusively on Diana, and what she has to go through.

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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: Quality is clear in ‘Titane’ but enjoyment can be modest

“Titane” is the French term for “titanium,” one of the strongest metals on Earth.

With that in consideration, the title “Titane” makes sense, as metal and strength are often tied to masculinity, which plays a major role in this feature.

The main character of the movie is Alexia (Agathe Rousselle), a young woman who works as an exotic dancer at a car show. Alexia seems mostly closed off, and has been so since she was a young girl, when a serious car accident resulted in her needing metal plates inserted.

As the first act reveals, though, Alexia has a dark hobby outside of her main dancing, job. This aspect of her life, as well as a sexual encounter she has one night after work, forces her to make a major change in her life, to the point where she has to assume a different identity. However, this action only leads to more complications.

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REVIEW: ‘Last Night in Soho’ sadly falters after strong start

Soho looks like a pretty fun place to visit in London, but if the main character in this movie is around, things might get a little to intense.

This film, directed and co-written by Edgar Wright, stars Thomasin McKenzie as Eloise. The young woman has recently moved from the country-side to a section of London to earn a degree in fashion. Immediately, Eloise finds herself fed up with her partying dorm roommate and decides to move into an apartment at an older building.

While it seems perfect at first, Eloise soon finds herself having visions of another young woman, named Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), who lived in the same apartment and wanted to be a lounge singer during the 1960s. While the visions start off fascinating, they soon unveil a dark mystery from the past.

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REVIEW: Underneath the sheen of great visuals, ‘Dune’ is a dull experience

This marks the second time the book “Dune” has been adapted into a feature film, with the first attempt coming out in 1984.

Having never heard of either the book or the 84 movie, I walked into this experience with a fresh perspective.

The film’s main character is Paul (Timothee Chalamet), a young man who’s heir to the throne of House Atreides. The house is one of several noble families who control planets and hold most of the power in the cosmos, second only to an unseen emperor.

The film opens with House Atreides, under the leadership of Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac), preparing to take control of the planet Arrakis, which was previously ruled by the rival House Harkonnen. The planet is one giant desert with dangerous conditions and even more dangerous inhabitants.

It’s not just the Arrakis inhabitants Atreies has to worry about, though, as there are other forces working against the house, too.

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REVIEW: Scott’s ‘Last Duel’ is a dull, callous film

Ridley Scott’s historical epics have been rather disappointing, with 2014’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings” and 2010’s “Robin Hood” missing the mark.

Sadly, Scott’s latest effort, “The Last Duel,” doesn’t get in the win column.

“The Last Duel” is set in France during the 1300s and follows three characters, two of them being the knight Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and the squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver), who served on the battlefield together. The third lead character is Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer), Jean’s wife.

As fellow warriors on the battlefield, Jean and Jacques not only have respect between each other, but a friendship as well. The friendship begins to strain, though, as Jacques begins enforcing rules set by the local Count Pierre d’Alencon (Ben Affleck), which Jean finds unfair. The situation reaches a boiling point when Marguerite accuses Jacques of rape. As a result, the two warriors are set on a path toward a deadly showdown.

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