REVIEW: ‘Crawl’ delivers solid creature entertainment

Florida Gators, well known for their basketball and football abilities, along with terrorizing families in hurricanes.

The types of gators featured in “Crawl” refer to the latter, although a horror movie with Tim Tebow would be entertaining.

Anyway, “Crawl” tells the story of Haley (Kaya Scodelario), a college swimmer who’s just wrapping up practice as a dangerous hurricane starts moving in on Florida. The campus and pretty much everyone else in the area opt to evacuate, but Haley finds out her dad Dave (Barry Pepper) hasn’t been answering his phone and could still be in the path of the storm.

Haley travels to her home town and in fact does find her dad at her childhood house. The problem is that Dave has been severely injured in a crawl space by an alligator which is still around the area. With the storm producing floods as time goes on, Haley and her father are in a fight for survival, both against rising water and more gators brought in as a result.

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REVIEW: ‘Midsommar’ is as stylish as it is suspenseful

Whoa nelly does this one get wild.

Florence Pugh plays Dani in “Midsommar,” the second feature film from director Ari Aster who last year helmed the fantastic “Hereditary.” Dani is a college student who, in the first act, goes through a major tragedy in her life. The subsequent depression Dani goes through becomes a point of stress between her and her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor).

However, she gets an opportunity to get away for awhile by traveling abroad to Sweden to spend time at a rural town by way of an invitation from their friend Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren). Dani, Christian, along with their friends Josh (William Jackson Harper) and Mark (Will Poulter) decide to go with Pelle for the trip, both to study the culture and have some fun. While the town they go to seems to be just a calm place holding a midsummer festival, though, the lead characters soon learn about some rather disturbing rituals by the locals.

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REVIEW: Latest ‘Spider-Man’ adventure weaves a fun international web

After the big, full meal that “Avengers: Endgame” was, having a smaller, simpler movie like “Spider-Man: Far From Home” works nicely as a dessert.

The latest flick starring the web-slinger seemingly starts at least a few months or so after the events of “Endgame.” The people of Earth are starting to get back to their regular lives and the world is seemingly getting back to peace. There are those few who are having trouble adjusting, though, as five years passed since the first and second snaps.
For those falling through societal cracks, May Parker (Marisa Tomei) is running an organization to assist people who need help adjusting.

Her nephew Peter (Tom Holland), also known as Spider-Man, is trying to help where he can, as well as handle his time as a student. However, he is exhausted from his experiences fighting in the Infinity War and is still mourning the death of Tony Stark. Because of the situation, Peter is looking forward to a class trip to Europe, not only to relax, but also to confess to the girl he likes, MJ (Zendaya). The issue is that another threat seems to be coming and Peter might be forced to use his web-shooters on his trip.

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REVIEW: Latest run in with ‘Annabelle’ doesn’t offer much new in horror

On the surface, the set up for the latest “Annabelle” implies something new. However, as time goes on, it turns into the same old story.

“Annabelle Comes Home,” the seventh movie in the Conjuring Cinematic Universe, again follows the movie-version Warren family, who’re much more entertaining and compelling than their real life fraud counterparts. The movie opens with Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) driving home with the Annabelle doll in their, er, custody. After some freaky moments, the Warrens are able to get the cursed doll back to their artifacts room, where it’s secured in a holy case, and life seems to settle to normal.

As life goes on, the Warrens plan a business trip and leave their daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace) in the care of a babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). Despite dealing with the paranormal regularly, the Warren’s home and neighborhood is pretty straightforward suburbia. However, Mary Ellen’s friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) eventually comes over to hang out and has an interest in the Warren’s case files. Unfortunately, through a series of events, she lets loose the paranormal entities in the Warren’s artifacts room, including Annabelle.

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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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