REVIEW: ‘The Whale’ is 2022’s hardest hitting drama

With help from talented director Darren Aronofsky, Brendan Fraser makes a hell of a comeback with a new, major starring role.

Based on a stage play with the same name, “The Whale” tells the story of Charlie (Fraser), an obese, reclusive, disabled man residing in Idaho. He lives in a depressed state, having gained weight after the death of his partner, and has an estranged relationship with his daughter, Ellie (Sadie Sink).

He gets an opportunity to reconnect with Ellie, though, when she visits Charlie, wanting assistance with her homework. A college English instructor, Charlie decides to help her with essays with the hope that he can reconnect with his daughter, especially with his declining health.

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REVIEW: Aside from visuals, pristine looking ‘Pinocchio’ disappoints

I’m starting to think the “Pinocchio” story just isn’t for me.

In director Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of the tale, we’re introduced to Geppetto (David Bradley), a toymaker who lost his son during World War I and became depressed. One night, in his grief, he gathers some timber and builds a puppet meant to be a replacement for his late son.

While the puppet started as just something Geppetto made during a drunken night, though, the doll ends up coming to life thanks to a mystical spirit. While Gepetto initially views Pinocchio with disdain, he eventually warms up to the wooden boy. However, antagonistic forces look to take Pinocchio for their own nefarious purposes.

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REVIEW: ‘Puss in Boots’ sequel is an enjoyable swashbuckling flick

After more than 20 years, the franchise that put DreamWorks Animation on the map is still kicking, and the latest in the series is fine addition.

As the title implies, the film focuses on the character Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas). After many dangerous adventures before and after meeting the ogre Shrek, Puss in Boots is down to his ninth and final life.

With a desire to continue living life on the edge and knowing the predicament he’s in, the feline decides to go on a quest to find a place that will grant him a wish, which he plans to use for more lives. Along the way, he’s joined by friends new and old, and is introduced to new enemies.

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REVIEW: ‘Glass Onion’ offers plenty of fun, but light on heart

As “Shrek” taught us, onions have layers, and there are definitely layers in the mystery featured during “Glass Onion.”

Similar to its predecessor, “Knives Out,” detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is once again surrounded by wealthy people gathered in one location. This time around, that location is the island of the Glass Onion, which is owned by billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton).

Miles invites many of his rich friends, as well as Blanc, to a weekend at the island for a murder mystery game. Things take a twist, though, when someone actually does die during the getaway, and suspicions mount.

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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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