REVIEW: ‘Another Round’ finely captures society’s link with alcohol

The social enjoyment of having drinks among friends along with the negative impacts of alcohol are both explored nicely in this 2020 foreign film.

A movie from Denmark, “Another Round” follows four friends: Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Nikolaj (Magnus Millang) and Peter (Lars Ranthe). All of them are middle-aged high school teachers who have settled down.

However, for their own reasons, they all appear to be stuck in a bit of a rut in their lives. Soon after celebrating Martin’s birthday, the four come across a university study that states humans have a blood alcohol level that is actually too low. With that in mind, they decide to put the study to the test and start having a few drinks during the day to see if they’ll function better.

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REVIEW: ‘French Exit’ is a dramedy failure

Academy Award nominees Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges are featured prominently in “French Exit,” yet their presence isn’t enough to rescue this misfire.

In “French Exit,” Pfeiffer plays Frances, a widow  and New York socialite who has spent most of the money left behind after the death of her husband. Hedges, meanwhile, plays Malcolm, Frances’ son who is intending to marry his girlfriend, Susan (Imogen Poots).

With her resources dwindling, Frances decides to move to an apartment in France with her son and navigate what she should do next with her life. While the plan throws a wrench in Malcolm’s wedding dreams, he decides to go along with his mother’s move. Upon reaching France, the duo begin meeting several new characters who become involved in their lives.

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REVIEW: ‘The Courier’ is an interesting, but not game changing spy thriller

The spy game is always a dangerous one to to play. It’s Benedict Cumberbatch’s turn to learn that lesson in this new historical drama.

Cumberbatch plays Greville Wynne in “The Courier,” a film that takes place during one of the most tense periods of the Cold War. Wynne is British salesman who often travels for work. Along with visiting neighboring countries, Wynne also travels to some Eastern Bloc nations.

Because of his ability to do business in the Soviet area, Wynne is recruited by the CIA and MI6 to go to Russia and meet with an informant. He’s told by the agencies that he is only to visit the informant, Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze), and return documents to MI6, appearing as just a regular salesman conducting business However, with the Cuban Missile situation nearing, surveillance of what Wynne is doing begins to increase.

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REVIEW: ‘The Father’ is a well-made, distressing drama

The ailments that come with aging and the impacts that they can have on a person’s loved ones is shown in harrowing, heartbreaking detail in this film.

“The Father” is a drama revolving around the character Anthony (Anthony Hopkins). At the start of the film, Anthony is visited by his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman), who is concerned about how her father should be cared for.

It’s shown early on that Anthony appears to be going through dementia, and as the movie progresses, his condition worsens. As a result, Anne begins considering other options for Anthony’s care. Unfortunately, Anne’s discussion of care options brings more confusion to Anthony.

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REVIEW: ‘Boogie’ is a bust

I’m a big fan of basketball and really excited for March Madness.

That didn’t help me like this movie any better.

“Boogie” tells the story of Alfred “Boogie” Chin (Taylor Takahashi), a senior who just started at a new high school to play basketball in the hopes that he will get recruited to a Division I school with a full scholarship. As he starts out at the new school, he finds himself a new friend in Richie (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) and  a romantic interest in  Eleanor (Taylour Paige).

While he’s great on the court, though, Alfred is also rather cocky and isn’t exactly a team player. This doesn’t make his parents all too happy, and it only leads to more tension since his mom and dad don’t see specifically eye-to-eye on the direction of his basketball career.Despite the issues, though, Alfred is determined to push forward to his dream of the NBA.

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REVIEW: Despite strong lead performance, ‘U.S. v Holiday’ doesn’t hold up

There are many politicians, musicians and others who deserve good biopic movies. There are also a lot of not so good biopics out there about interesting people.

Unfortunately, Billie Holiday meets the former and this film fits the latter.

“The United States vs Billie Holiday” follows the titular singer (Andra Day) mostly during her career in the 1940s, with a heavy focus on her song “Strange Fruit.” The song references lynching and came not long after an anti-lynching bill was rejected by the United States Senate.

Early on in the film, the FBI is shown as being paranoid of the song to the point where they fear the music will encourage the Civil Rights movement more. Driven by this, the agency targets Holiday, mainly by going after her on drug charges, as Holiday was using substances during her career.

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REVIEW: While flawed ‘The Mauritanian’ manages to hold a viewer’s interest

In 2019, “The Report showed audiences awful actions done by the United States government during the War on Terror.

In a similar fashion, “The Mauritanian” does the same thing, although this time with a more specific focus.

“The Mauritanian” refers to Mahamedou (Tahar Rahim), a man who was held at Guantanamo Bay for well over a decade without ever having an official charge brought against him by the United States. The intelligence services of the government claim he was a key recruiter for the terrorists that attacked on 9/11, but Mohamedou denied having anything to do with the plot.

Despite his denial, though, he’s arrested and taken into U.S. custody at the Cuba facility. There, he’s put in a legal situation where he will be prosecuted by military attorney Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch), who lost a friend in the 9/11 attacks. Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster), meanwhile, decides to become Mohamedou’s legal defender after learning about the situation, with the help of her assistant Teri (Shilene Woodley).

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REVIEW: ‘I Care a Lot’ crumbles due to poor writing

Sometimes there are pieces of media that just try way too hard to be edgy. “I Care a Lot” definitely joins that club.

Rosamund Pike stars as Marla Grayson in “I Care a Lot,” a woman who’s made a career as a legal guardian for the elderly. As part of her job, Grayson will get a notice from a doctor she works with stating that an elderly person can no longer live on her own, which she brings to a court.

In turn, the court will then grant legal guardianship to Grayson, allowing her to determine the care for the elderly person, which results in her putting them in an assisted living facility. It also means she has access to the elderly individual’s finances. The latest individual she decides to get legal guardianship over, Jennifer Peterson (Diane Wiest), though, just happens to have a significant connection to Russian mob boss Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage).

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REVIEW: ‘Nomadland’ is a superb film about the human condition

Director Chloe Zhao is on a roll, following up her phenomenal picture “The Rider” with one of 2020’s best films.

“Nomadland” tells the story of Fern , a woman who’s retrofitted a commercial-sized van to live out of. Fern, played by Frances McDormand, made her decision after two-life changing events occurred. One of them was the death of her husband, and the other was the closing of the main company in a small Nevada town which economically devastated the city. With nothing left, Fern decided to go out on the road.

The movie picks up with Fern working at an Amazon facility, earning paychecks during the busy holiday season. When the season comes to an end, the film follows her journey across the the Great Plains and western-mountain states. During her time living on the road, Fern meets several people who share their perspectives on life and what their plans are for the future.

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REVIEW: ‘Minari’ is a beautiful, emotional immigrant story

Definitions of the American Dream can sometimes vary, but when you see it, you know it. An audience can see it clearly in this picture.

“Minari” tells the story of David (Alan Kim), a young boy whose Korean family is moving to Arkansas. His father Jacob (Steven Yeun) and mother Monica (Han Ye-ri) both get positions at a local chicken hatchery for employment, and settle in at a rural home. Along with his parents, David’s family also includes his sister Anne (Noel Kate Cho) and grandmother Soon-ja (Youn Yuh-jung).

As the film goes on, it’s shown that Jacob intended to use his job at the hatchery to get some footing, and that his main plan is to create a farm on his property, where he will grow Korean vegetables. As he plants more crops, Jacob hires a neighbor, Paul (Will Patton), to help with the process. The film follows the family trying to establish their life in Arkansas and the struggles that come with it.

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