REVIEW: Paul Thomas Anderson serves up one of year’s best with ‘Licorice Pizza’

Sometimes a good movie will introduce a new talent on screen.

It’s an even bigger treat when two new performers are introduced and give stellar performances.

That’s the case with “Licorice Pizza,” where first time performers Cooper Hoffman and Alana Haim star. Hoffman plays Gary, a teen actor with a ton of ambition. Despite being 15, Gary has a knack for hustling with small business schemes.

The film picks up in 1973, with Gary meeting Haim’s character Alana, a 25-year-old photography assistant. The two form an initial bond and from there, start working together on Gary’s business ideas. The film follows their relationship through the ups and downs of their lives during the summer months.

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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: ‘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: ‘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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REVIEW: ‘Together Together’ triumphs with sweet, funny relationship

An odd couple is usually reliable to make a comedy movie work, and that’s certainly the case with “Together Together.”

The two main characters, Anna (Patti Harrison) and Matt (Ed Helms) aren’t a romantic couple, but instead have another element bringing them together. Matt, who’s in his 40s, is looking to become a father and Anna, in her late 20s, was selected as the surrogate mother.

The movie takes place over the course of the pregnancy, following how Anna wants to keep more of a distance, while Matt is dedicated to helping her with the pregnancy for the betterment of his child and Anna herself.

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REVIEW: ‘I Used to Go Here’ is a charming indie dramedy

It’s always fun going back to the old stomping grounds by visiting your college town, that is if you’re not going through some problems like the main character in this movie is.

Written and directed by Kris Rey, “I Used to Go Here” follows Kate (Gillian Jacobs), an author whose first book was recently published. However, the sales aren’t going all that well, and her relationship status is difficult.

Needing a change of scenery, Kate accepts an invitation to speak at her alma mater, which was sent by a professor, David (Jemaine Clement), who taught one of her classes. During her time there, she talks with David about her career and also goes to a party at a frat house, which used to be where her and her friends lived while she attended school.

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REVIEW: ‘Irresistible’ is irritating

I have a lot of respect for Jon Stewart. He made me laugh on a nightly basis with his show. But wow does he get local politics wrong.

Stewart writes and directs this feature starring Steve Carell as a political strategist for the Democratic Party named Gary Zimmer. Gary works out of Washington D.C. and mainly focuses on national races. After having a successful career, though, Gary is left rather down following the election of 2016 which was disastrous for Democrats.

He gets a spark of hope, though, when he sees a viral video of a man in rural Wisconsin making an impassioned speech about protecting benefits, such as SNAP. The man, who’s also a veteran, is viewed as the perfect Democrat to win in a more rural area of the country, and Gary decides to help him win a race for the small Wisconsin town’s mayoral seat. However, this also draws the attention of the national Republican party, and it sets up a big time political match in a small town not used to the Washington tactics.

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REVIEW: Despite some good moments, ‘King of Staten Island’ can test patience

The King of Staten Island isn’t as cool of a title as The King of New York, but few people can be as cool as Christopher Walken.

While this 2020 movie has that title, main character Scott Carlin (Pete Davidson) is certainly no king. In this Judd Apatow-directed feature, Scott is a 24-year-old who lives with his mother Margie (Marisa Tomei) and isn’t a student attending college or working any job.

What Scott does instead is either get high with his friends, or work as an amateur tattoo artist. Much of this behavior is pinned to the death of Scott’s father, who was a firefighter who died in the line of duty. His way of life is challenged, though, when his sister Claire (Maude Apatow) moves to college and his mother begins a relationship with another person working in New York City’s Fire Department, Ray (Bill Burr).

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REVIEW: ‘International Falls’ is a strong, amusing look at a stark situation

This small Minnesota city on the Canadian border has a few claims to fame. It was the inspiration for Frostbite Falls in Rocky and Bullwinkle, it’s officially known as the Icebox of the Nation for its cold temperatures, the high school hockey team has a rich history winning seven state titles and it was the home of National Football League legend Bronko Nagurski.

I can’t say I was ever really expecting my hometown to be the setting for a motion picture, though. Yes, before leaving for college, the setting of this dramatic comedy was where I was born and raised.

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REVIEW: ‘Downhill’ enjoyable thanks to mix of drama, dark comedy

“Downhill,” aka, “Marriage Story: On Ice.”

This movie taking place at a ski resort in Austria follows a family of four on vacation. The family includes the parents Billie (Julia Louis Dreyfus) and Pete (Will Ferrell), and their two sons Finn (Julian Grey) and Emerson (Ammon Jacob Ford). The family appears to have some stress from vacation traveling, but seem to be ready for a pleasant trip in Europe.

However, the situation gets rocky when a controlled avalanche to provide more snow on the slopes causes a sequence of events that results in a rift between the married couple. The rest of the trip explores their drama as they navigate the rest of their vacation.

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