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.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Wakanda Forever’ mostly flops as a follow-up”

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.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ intrigues while producing laughs”

REVIEW: Magic of movies in ‘Fabelmans’ overshadowed by melodrama

The early life of renowned filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes to life in this semi auto-biographical coming of age picture.

The film tells the story of a Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle), a teen who has been fascinated by the magic of movies since his first childhood theater experience. As he gets older, that fascination becomes a passion, and he begins making his own movies.

Sammy’s filmmaking is encouraged by his mother Mitzi (Michelle Williams), but his dad Burt (Paul Dano) sees it as more of a hobby. The relationships he has with his parents continue to be a focal point throughout the picture, and things get even more complicated for Sammy as he learns about something going on behind the scenes.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Magic of movies in ‘Fabelmans’ overshadowed by melodrama”

REVIEW: While flawed, ‘Till’ is a creditable effort

A horrific moment in America’s history followed by awful injustice is featured in the emotionally charged “Till.”

Danielle Deadwyler portrays Mamie Till-Mobley, whose son Emmett (Jalyn Hall) was killed during a visit to Mississippi in 1955. The movie dramatizes the events that took place in Mississippi where, in a racism-fueled action, Emmett was abducted and murdered in the middle of the night.

It then documents how Mamie showed Emmett’s body to the press, revealing the brutality of the attack and the subsequent trial against the individuals responsible. It also details the overall impact the moment had on the Civil Rights Movement.

Continue reading “REVIEW: While flawed, ‘Till’ is a creditable effort”

REVIEW: ‘She Said’ tells an important story in good fashion

The Newspaper of Record is a publication not without its faults, but the rigorous work at the New York Times that launched the Me Too Movement was absolutely commendable.

That effort is dramatized in “She Said,” which follows Times journalists Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan), as well as other staff members digging into sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Their work followed the inauguration of President Donald Trump, with the Times planning to investigate more assault allegations beyond the world of politics.

After getting a lead about allegations in Hollywood, Kantor and Twohey begin working the story and soon find out there’s much more abuse than what was first expected. The movie then follows their efforts to gather legal documents and talk to the many victims.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘She Said’ tells an important story in good fashion”

REVIEW: ‘Armageddon Time’ is moving, but storytelling has troubles

Despite what the title implies, this is not a Roland Emmerich disaster movie.

Instead, it’s a coming of age drama focused on the life and times of middle schooler Paul Graff (Banks Repeta) over the course of the 1980 Presidential Election. Paul, whose story was inspired by director James Gray’s own childhood, attends public school in New York City, which his parents aren’t entirely sold on.

His brother already attends a private school and, with financial support from his grandparents, Paul’s mom (Anne Hathaway) and dad (Jeremy Strong) think he should do the same. This is eventually set in motion when Paul and his black friend Johnny (Jaylin Webb) get in trouble at school.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Armageddon Time’ is moving, but storytelling has troubles”

REVIEW: ‘TÁR’ is a terrific portrayal of a downfall

Just like the music featured in the film, “Tár” is beautiful, gripping and epic.

The film is about Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett), a superstar composer and conductor who accomplished an EGOT and now leads the distinguished Berlin Philharmonic orchestra. The film opens with her on a tight schedule, conducting an interview in New York City, teaching a class at Juilliard School and then flying back to Berlin to prepare for a new concert.

Despite her busy lifestyle, Tár’s career seems well on track for continued success and she also appears to be in a loving relationship with her wife, Sharon (Nina Hoss). However, actions in her past and present begin to damage her life and legacy.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘TÁR’ is a terrific portrayal of a downfall”

REVIEW: ‘Black Adam’ is a botched attempt at an anti-hero

‘This isn’t a traditional superhero!’ The movie shouts at us as it takes the route of a generic superhero movie.

Dwayne Johnson stars as the titular character in this film taking place in DC’s cinematic universe. A being with tremendous power, Adam was sealed by magic within a tomb 5,000 years ago after defeating an evil tyrant in the kingdom of Kahndaq.

The film picks up in the present day with Adam being being summoned back in the midst of Kahndaq once again being in turmoil, with outside forces subjugating its people and exploiting the natural resources. Many in Kahndaq see Adam’s return as a good thing, as he has the power to liberate them, but others on Earth see him as a threat, and a special unit of super powered beings are sent to reign him in.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Black Adam’ is a botched attempt at an anti-hero”

REVIEW: ‘Halloween Ends,’ thankfully

A trilogy with a promising start, a messy middle and a head-scratching finale that makes you think they didn’t plan things through.

It applied to the new “Star Wars” films and it’s how this recent “Halloween” series went, too.

“Halloween Ends” picks up four years after the events of the first two films in the trilogy. After killing Laurie Strode’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) daughter and many others on Halloween in 2018, Michael Myers has completely disappeared. Laurie is now living with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) and is writing a book about her experiences.

Fate causes their paths to cross with Corey (Rohan Campbell), a young man who after was involved in a fatal incident which was blamed on him. While Laurie is first sympathetic to Corey, she soon learns that he might be a factor in Myers coming back.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Halloween Ends,’ thankfully”

REVIEW: ‘Smile’ will have horror fans smiling

Here in Minnesota, we know all about misleading smiles. It’s called being passive aggressive. The smiles in this film, though, are much more devilish.

Parker Finn makes his feature directorial debut with this new horror film, with Sosie Bacon playing the protagonist Rose. A doctor in a psychiatric ward, Rose regularly works with patients and it’s what brings her into contact with a troubled woman at the movie’s start.

The woman, a PhD student, says she’s been seeing a sinister figure who takes the form of people with an evil grin, before taking her own life. At first, Rose deduces that the woman must have been suffering from a mental ilness, until the same evil force begins appearing before her, too.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Smile’ will have horror fans smiling”