REVIEW: ‘Avatar’ sequel is always great to look at, but not always engaging

After more than a decade of waiting, director James Cameron has brought audiences back to the moon of Pandora.

Just as time passed here on Earth, so too did it there. The film picks up with Jake (Sam Worthington) now living as a Na’vi, raising four children with his partner Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). Their children include Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) and Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss).

Jake and Neytiri are trying their best to raise their children in peace but that is shattered by new military forces from Earth looking for revenge after what happened in part 1. Knowing they are targets in particular, Jake and Neytiri flee to live in asylum among the Na’vi ocean tribes. However, the enemy is still out there, including an old foe who returns. Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Avatar’ sequel is always great to look at, but not always engaging”

REVIEW: ‘Western Front’ features a heartbreaking perspective of WWI

“All Quiet on the Western Front” is definitely not the easiest watch of 2022, but it is one of the better movies of the year.

Based on the famous novel, “All Quiet on the Western Front” tells the story of Paul (Felix Kammerer), a young man who enlists in the German Army in 1917, a year before World War I ended. He enters the war filled with enthusiasm, driven by messages of nationalism during his enlistment.

That enthusiasm dissipates quickly, though, as Paul is thrust into trench warfare. As the war drags on, Paul sees his friends regularly killed in action while facing constant danger in the muddy trenches.

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Bowl Season Counterparts in Film Awards

There are two things I love watching during this time of year: college football bowl games and award ceremonies.

Both are exciting in their own right. Bowl games, big and small, often provide some thrilling postseason moments making for great entertainment even if your team isn’t playing.

Award season, meanwhile, are celebrations of great films and offers a bit of competition to the world of movies, making for really good drama.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that the two seasons have something in common, which is that they’re not created equal. As the award season goes on, the prestige of the ceremonies increases. It’s the same way with bowl season.

With college football, there are six games, called the New Year’s Six, that are considered the best bowls, and include the two semi-finals to qualify for the national title game. In award season, meanwhile, the major awards often include the guild ceremonies and the Oscars, which happen late in the season.

With that in mind, I decided to match which game equates best to an award ceremony in the season.

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REVIEW: ‘Women Talking’ is a harrowing tale of bravery

“Women Talking” may not seem like a survival movie at first glance, but it definitely is one, and a good one at that.

The film centers on women of a Mennonite community in an isolated, rural area. Early on, the audience learns that several of the women in the community have been drugged and sexually assaulted on multiple occasions.

Set in 2010, the film picks up with the men of the colony having left to handle the legal matters related to those who committed assaults and have been taken into custody. Meanwhile, the women of the community begin a debate on whether to stay and fight against those who committed rape and try to make change, or leave the colony altogether.

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REVIEW: Mendes’ ‘Empire of Light’ is a colossal mess of ideas

Director Sam Mendes has made films that offered audiences some magic at the movie theater. His film actually about a movie theater, though, leaves a lot to be desired.

His movie “Empire of Light” stars Olivia Colman as Hilary, a woman working at a historic theater in southern England. Hilary has worked there for some time and has made acquaintances with her fellow staff members, but usually spends her down time alone.

That is until the theater hires Stephen (Michael Ward), a young black man who is trying to go to college, but hasn’t been admitted yet, and in the meantime is working for some money. Hilary and Stephen began spending time together, and eventually form a relationship, but it becomes tested because of personal issues and racial tensions in the country.

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REVIEW: ‘Bones and All’ is a compelling movie about monsters among us

Hannibal Lecter, eat your heart, or I guess someone else’s heart out.

“Bones and All” is a love story, that just happens to include cannibalism. Taylor Russell stars as Maren in the film, a young woman who is an “eater,” a human being who has an insatiable hunger for human flesh. The film picks up with her being left by her father (Andre Holland) who tells her she must live on her own, after he spent years trying to hide what she is.

Maren decides to go on the road and find out about her mother now that her father has left, and along the way meets others like herself, including someone her own age. That person is Lee (Timothee Chalamet), a young man who decides to go along with Maren on her journey, and the two build a connection.

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REVIEW: A rather limited ‘Menu’

Some movies have so much packed in that they may have worked better as a mini-series. Others have a concept that’s stretched too far, and would be better served as a short film.

“The Menu” is an example of the latter.

The movie centers on a couple going to an island that’s home to an exclusive restaurant. The establishment is run by the laser-focused Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes), a man who demands perfection in his kitchen.

The couple is Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) and Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy), and they are just a few of the wealthy guests who go to the island expecting the fanciest of fancy meals. However, Slowik has much more intense things on the menu for his affluent customers than just food.

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REVIEW: ‘Strange World’ is Disney’s weakest effort in recent memory

I’m not going to lie. When this film reached the halfway point and a character said he saw something cute that could be a merchandising opportunity, I considered walking out.

“Strange World” centers on a community surrounded by seemingly impassable mountains. That doesn’t deter fearless explorer Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid), though, who gets lost in the mountains trying to find a way out. His son Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal) never shared his father’s quest for exploration, and instead became a farmer of a valuable natural resource.

However, when that resource becomes threatened, he joins an expedition underneath the mountains to a strange subterranean area with his own son Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White). As it turns out, it’s where Jaeger has been the whole time.

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REVIEW: ‘Wakanda Forever’ mostly flops as a follow-up

After his tragic passing at 43, Chadwick Boseman’s absence looms large, both in the world of film and specifically in this sequel to “Black Panther.”

“Wakanda Forever” picks up after King T’Challa dies from an unknown illness, leaving the nation without its leader and main protector. With T’Challa now gone, his mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett), assumes the throne while his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) feels tremendous guilt that she wasn’t able to find a way to cure him in time.

Both women have to continue serving their nation as new threats arise, though, as other countries are now looking for  Wakanda’s precious resource, vibranium. Because of this happening, a new, powerful threat emerges from the sea. To protect their home, Ramonda and Shuri have to work with existing and new allies.

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REVIEW: ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ intrigues while producing laughs

This is one feckin’ good movie.

During the Irish Civil War in the early 1920s, another conflict was taking place on a small island between two former friends. Local farmer Pádraic (Colin Farrell) and folk musician Colm (Brendan Gleeson) had been longtime drinking buddies, but one day, abruptly, Colm says no more.

Seeing his friendship with Pádraic leading to nothing but dull conversation and wanting to commit more to his music, Colm wants to end the relationship completely. However, not wanting to let go, Pádraic continues trying to rekindle things by talking to Colm, much to the latter’s annoyance. Eventually, their conflict starts negatively affecting each other and those around them.

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