Monday Movie Report: Writers Guild winners

One of this award season’s biggest shockers took place Sunday night during the Writers Guild of America award ceremony.

At the annual event, “Eighth Grade,” written (and directed) by Bo Burnham, won the prize for Best Original Screenplay from the WGA. The win was a major upset, beating out the likes of “Green Book” and “Roma.”

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REVIEW: Against all odds, ‘Alita’ is still worth checking out

There’s a lot to unpack here with this movie so let’s just jump right in.

“Alita: Battle Angel” is based on a Japanese comic book (better known as manga), with a similar name. The original source material, which eventually had an animated adaptation, was titled “Battle Angel Alita.”

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REVIEW: ‘Isn’t it Romantic’ has the laughs, charm to engage an audience

This isn’t the first time the romcom genre has been poked at in satirical fashion, and likely won’t be the last. In terms of quality, “Isn’t it Romantic” isn’t the best or worst of its kind, but falls somewhere in the middle.

“Romantic” centers on Natalie (Rebel Wilson) an architect who lives a fairly straightforward life, but is rather skeptical of love, largely because of her hatred of romantic-comedies.

Her worst nightmare is realized, though, when one day she wakes up in a generic romcom world, complete with perfect jobs, romantic rivals and even somewhat of a love triangle.

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REVIEW: While not as fresh as original, ‘Death Day 2’ will entertain

“Happy Death Day 2U,” a follow-up to a 2017 thriller, is the kind of sequel that seems to be in search of a reason to exist. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad to watch.

The movie picks up right where the first movie left off. Theresa (Jessica Rothe), who casually goes by Tree, put an end to a time-loop where she was living the same day over and over and in doing so, made several changes to improve her life.

However, she soon finds out that her issues aren’t completely over. In the first act she learns that her boyfriend’s roommate Ryan (Phi Vu) is actually one of three students working at her university’s science lab. There, the students have created a device that can cause disturbances in space and time. As a result, Tree, and this time her new friends, are put into a position of having to make fixes to the space time continuum, while also dealing with a murderer on the loose.

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REVIEW: ‘What Men Want’ is a forgettable, generic feature

The question of what women want was answered with a movie starring Mel Gibson, so naturally there’s an alternate version titled “What Men Want,”… 18 years later.

This time around, the movie follows Ali Davis (Taraji Henson), a businesswoman working at a sports talent management agency, looking for her next promotion. With the next NBA draft right around the corner, Ali is hoping to sign the next big basketball star and earn the promotion she thinks she deserves. However it doesn’t go that way and the promotion ends up going to one of her office rivals.

Not long after, Ali goes to a bachelorette party, still angry about the situation at work, especially in regard to the misogynistic nature of the business. At the party, though, during a meeting with a psychic, Ali somehow picks up the power to hear what men are thinking. While she’s hesitant at first, Ali eventually decides to use the ability to her advantage.

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REVIEW: ‘Cold Pursuit’ is a great dark comedy

There’s no doubt most, including myself, saw the trailer for “Cold Pursuit” and ‘thought here we go again.’ Since he appeared in 2009’s “Taken,” Liam Neeson has become somewhat of an action star, mostly in the taking revenge variety. In that recent filmography, the flicks have been hit or miss.

Thankfully, I can report “Cold Pursuit” is one of the good ones.

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REVIEW: ‘Lego’ sequel is satisfactory

Like the original, while not perfect, “The LEGO Movie 2” puts together the building blocks in a nice enough way to create a pretty good movie.

The first Lego movie was released in 2014 and the five year difference is reflected in the sequel. The protagonists of the first film, having seemingly saved the world, came under an immediate new threat right away, this time from other types of Lego blocks. As a result, Emmet (Chris Pratt), Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), and the other heroes are forced to live in a world that looks like “Mad Max” in Lego form.

The situation only gets worse when several characters, including Lucy, are kidnapped by the new foe. As a result, it’s up to Emmet to go on a rescue mission and save his friends.

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REVIEW: By-the-books ‘Upside’ has its moments

“Upside” is a film with both ups and downs, leaving the overall quality of this film about friendship somewhere in the middle.

The film follows the story of Dell Scott (Kevin Hart), a man out on parole, estranged from his family and looking for a new job. In his search, he crosses paths with Philip (Bryan Cranston), a billionaire who became disabled in an accident and is in need of a life auxiliary.

In a state of depression and with little care to who works for him, Philip decides to hire Dell. Despite both being unenthusiastic about the situation, the two eventually form a friendship which is explored through the rest of the picture.

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REVIEW: While cliched, ‘Basis of Sex’ is still inspiring

A Supreme Court justice now has a superhero origin story.

“On the Basis of Sex” tells the story of how Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) entered the world of law and began a career focused on equal rights. That career, of course, would lead to her becoming a justice on the United States Supreme Court.

“Basis” begins with Ginsburg attending Harvard University’s law school and follows this up with her time as a professor at Rutgers University. The latter is where she would take on a case where the nation’s tax code discriminated on the basis of sex.

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REVIEW: A walk in ‘Beale Street’ is worth taking

No matter what neighborhood you grew up in, you will leave this movie knowing how it feels to live on Beale Street.

“If Beale Street Could Talk” follows the story of a young woman named Tish (Kiki Layne) and her boyfriend Alonzo (Stephan James), who’s sitting in jail because a police officer suspected him as the assailant in a rape case.

As the movie goes on, Tish is coming to terms with the fact that Alonzo was wrongly accused while also learning that she’s become pregnant. Over the course of the picture, Tish goes through the stages of her pregnancy while also trying to clear Alonzo’s name, with the help of her family.

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