REVIEW: ‘Toy Story 4’ doesn’t fly like predecessors, but still falls with style

I’ll admit, when I first heard a new “Toy Story” was in production, I was skeptical, considering “Toy Story 3” was such a solid end to the trilogy. Fortunately, Pixar did some solid work with this fourth feature.

The latest film picks up seemingly not too long after the end of part three. The original gang, for example, have adapted pretty well to life with Bonnie’s other toys. That is, except for Woody (Tom Hanks). Woody appears to be involved less and less in times of play, and as a result, is getting little anxious.

However, when Bonnie creates a new toy from some materials, mainly a spork, named Forky (Tony Hale),  Woody finds some purpose. Forky appears to be confused, thinking himself more akin to trash than a toy, but Woody is set on protecting him and keeping him around, as Forky has become Bonnie’s favorite. The work gets more difficult, though, when during a family trip, Forky escapes in a small town near a carnival. Woody sets off on an adventure immediately to save Forky, and fortunately, he gets some help from the long lost Bo Peep (Annie Potts).

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REVIEW: ‘Anna’ doesn’t reinvent spy genre wheel, but still entertains

There’s been a few movies over the last several years with women super spies, such as “Salt,” “Haywire,” “Atomic Blonde” and “Red Sparrow.” The latest flick in the sub-genre, “Anna,” doesn’t push the story boundaries too far from those, but overall, it may be the best one, or at least the most fun.

The picture, directed by Luc Besson, stars Sasha Luss in the titular role. Anna is a young woman who had some experience in Russian military training and as a result, is eventually recruited into the KGB.

As an agent, Anna becomes a fierce assassin, able to get even some of the most dangerous jobs done. Her latest work is especially, difficult, though, as it includes other adversarial international agencies.

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REVIEW: ‘Shaft’ doesn’t break ground, but it still kicks some ass

This movie has three Shafts in a movie series that now has five “Shafts.” Yeah, there’s definitely history there.

So this film re-introduces the John Shaft from the 20 movie, played by Samuel L. Jackson. The audience soon learns that he and his girlfriend Maya (Regina Hall ) have had a child, JJ (Jessie T. Usher). Because of the danger associated with his job, though, Maya takes JJ away from New York City to live in a safe environment.

The story picks up in the present day, with JJ now a grown man and an FBI data analyst. While not a field agent, the death of a friend drags him out of the office and into NYC’s crime underground. To get some help, JJ enlists the help of his estranged father. Together they have to balance reconnecting and solving the latest case.

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REVIEW: Fourth ‘MIB’ fails to recharge franchise

The “B” might stand for Bland this time around, since that’s what this movie really is.

While “Men in Black International” takes place in the same universe as the first three pictures, this one serves as a sort of ‘soft’ reboot. New characters, different aliens and an unfamiliar threat.

This time around, the movie follows Molly/Agent M (Tessa Thompson), a young woman who saw the Men In Black as a child and has always wanted to be part of the group. When she finally stumbles across the organization, she’s able to join and her first assignment is to go to London for an investigation.

There, she crosses paths with hot shot Agent H (Chris Hemsworth), who gained fame for being involved with stopping a massive alien invasion. The two start to work together on a case that at first seems simple, but soon unravels a plot that may be compromising MIB itself.

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REVIEW: ‘Godzilla’ may be a king, but not of cinema

The latest “Godzilla” is chock-full of monsters, yet even the gargantuan creatures don’t necessarily hold this feature up.

The movie begins five years after the 2014 “Godzilla,” where the secretive agency Monarch is keeping track of the giant creature and others across the globe. One of the Monarch researchers is Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga), a woman who lost her son in the 2014 Godzilla battle of San Francisco.

Monarch’s research is taken advantage of by radical environmental terrorists, though, led by a man named Jonah (Charles Dance). As a result of their actions, the powerful monster Ghidorah is released, and several others respond by awakening and causing havoc. To stop them, Godzilla has to get back into action.

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REVIEW: ‘Rocketman’ convincingly captures Elton John’s passion

Saturday might be the time of week alright for fighting, but any day is a good day to see “Rocketman.”

As the title and my song referencing lede implies, “Rocketman” is a film about the musician Elton John (Taron Egerton). The film focuses on John’s early success, which also, sadly, coincided with his struggles with addiction.

The picture tells both John’s early career story and the development of his psyche over time through a series of song and dance numbers numbers set to the musician’s music.

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REVIEW: Imperfect ‘Endgame’ still enthralls

Like a big rack of ribs or a plate piled with Buffalo wings, “Avengers: Endgame” is pretty messy, but still real good and satisfying.

Just to make things a little easier, here’s a roster list of the main characters in the film: Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark AKA Iron Man. Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America. Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, AKA Hulk. Chris Hemsworth as Thor Odinson, King of Asgard. Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow. Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye. Don Cheadle as James Rhodes, AKA War Machine. Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, AKA Ant-Man. Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel. Karen Gillan as Nebula. Josh Brolin as the Titan Thanos.

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REVIEW: Live action ‘Dumbo’ never lifts off

Aside from “The Jungle Book,” Disney’s effort to remake its classic animated library into live action pictures has been only average at best. “Dumbo” certainly doesn’t help that trend.

Like its animated counterpart, “Dumbo” features a performance elephant at a circus who has a newborn son. Breaking away from the original, though, is who discovers the situation. Early on the film introduces the audience to an animal caretaker named Holt (Colin Farrell) and his two children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins). They’re the ones who discover the new elephant at the circus, run by Max Medici (Danny DeVito). Upon seeing Dumbo for the first time, they of course notice his rather large ears. This seems like a problem at first, but the two kids are able to “unlock” a talent in the elephant: the ability to fly.

Similar to the animated picture, there’s an incident where Dumbo’s mother is taken away. However, because of his flying, Dumbo is able to find some success and a little hope is restored. Because of Dumbo’s success, a rich amusement park owner, V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), comes to make Max a partner and obtain his whole show, including Dumbo. An agreement is made, but it becomes apparent that Vandevere is a shady person.

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REVIEW: ‘Us’ provides the thrills but is undercut by consistency issues

“Us,” definitely not to be confused with the drama show “This is Us,” is the latest picture from Writer/Director Jordan Peele.

The film tells the story of Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), who’s visiting a beach vacation home with her family, which includes her husband Gabe (Winston Duke), daughter Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and son Jason (Evan Alex).

While Adelaide is has some reservations about being in the area again because of some bad memories from her past, she tries to make the most of her vacation with her family. Things seem to be going OK until night falls and the family is confronted in their vacation home by a group of doppelgangers.

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REVIEW: ‘Captain Marvel’ soars in first film

Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than the locomotive. I’m talking about Captain Marvel, of course.

The latest film from Marvel just so happens to feature a hero named Captain Marvel. Her real name is Carol Danvers, though, and she’s portrayed by Academy Award winner Brie Larson. The film picks up with her living on a planet controlled by the Kree, a powerful alien empire. She’s commonly referred to with the name Vers and is a member of the Kree special ops squad, Starforce.

In the first act, it’s established that Vers doesn’t remember anything before she became a member of Starforce. However, she remains focused on her mission, which is to fight against Skrulls, another alien race perceived as terrorists by the Kree. Through a series of events, that mission eventually leads her to Earth, where she meets SHIELD Agent Nick Fury. Witnessing the Skrull situation, Fury decides to partner with Vers and the two work together on the mission. In doing so, the protagonist learns more about her past.

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