REVIEW: ‘Sylvie’s Love’ lacks romantic spark

Tessa Thompson trades the superhero genre for a romantic drama in this new Amazon film.

Thompson stars as the titular main character in “Sylvie’s Love.” At the start of the movie, Sylvie is working at her father’s record store where she meets Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha), a member of a jazz band in which he plays the saxophone.

The group is still looking for their big break so Robert decides to work at the record store to make extra money. After a short while,  Robert and Sylvie grow closer and a romance develops. However, their career ambitions and other personal commitments keep them from fully coming together for several years.

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REVIEW: ‘Ma Rainey’s story doesn’t translate well to Netflix

Netflix’s latest picture takes audiences back to the Roaring 20s with a Blues tale based on a play.

Viola Davis plays the titular character here, who was a real life singer. Gertrude “Ma” Rainey was a woman with several hits during the 1920s, including “Black Bottom.”

This movie picks up with her and her band visiting a Chicago office to record that song and others for an album. The movie follows Ma’s experiences, and her band members’, such as Levee (Chadwick Boseman) as the recording session goes on.

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REVIEW: Romance in ‘Ammonite’ has a spark, but never ignites

Two Oscar caliber actresses lend their talents to the screen in “Ammonite,” but what they have to work with doesn’t live up to their abilities.

“Ammonite” is the sophomore feature directing effort by Francis Lee. Taking place in the 1840s, the film follows the fossil researcher Mary Anning, who works along the shores to find preserved animals, like Ammonites. It’s quickly shown that Anning mostly keeps to herself, as the only company she has is her mother played by Gemma Jones.

However, one day a man fascinated by Mary’s work visits her office. After the’re introduced, he suggests his wife Charlotte (Saoirse Ronan) observe Mary’s work and research as a way to alleviate the young woman’s depression. As the two spend more time together, Mary and Charlotte begin to form a relationship.

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REVIEW: The movie magic in ‘Mank’ is good, not great

The foundation for what many consider to be one of the greatest films ever made is showcased in David Fincher’s latest project.

The Netflix film, titled “Mank,” tells the story of screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman). The movie picks up with Mankiewicz, who’s recovering from a leg injury suffered during a car accident, being hired to help write the movie “Citizen Kane” by Orson Welles (Tom Burke).

Mankiewicz, with the help of his secretary Rita (Lily Collins), manages to pen the script, despite a few hiccups along the way. As the movie shows him doing so, several flashbacks to Mankiewicz in the 30s are shown, displaying where the writer picked up his inspiration. Namely, the movie features several sequences where Mankiewicz interacted with William Randolph Hearst.

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REVIEW: ‘Chicago 7’ is a compelling look at justice and politics, despite flaws

In most court movies, there’s just one defendant on trial. This Netflix release gives seven for the price of one.

Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, “Trial of the Chicago 7” takes place in the aftermath of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. On the outside of the convention were large protests, and following the political event, eight were charged by the government for inciting riots.

The defendants included Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), Alex Sharp (Rennie Davis), Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen), Jeremy Strong (Jerry Rubin), John Lynch (David Dellinger), Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins), John Froines (Daniel Flaherty) and Bob Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). During the trial, though, Seale’s case was severed and the defendant list went to seven. The federal prosecutor in the case is Tom Foran (J.C. MacKenzie) while the main lawyer for the defense is William Kunstler (Mark Rylance).

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REVIEW: ‘Antebellum’ suffers from poor plot execution

There are good ideas and a more than capable cast in “Antebellum,” yet the film as a whole is, unfortunately, a mess.

The picture follows Eden (Janelle Monae), a Black woman who appears at first to be a slave during the 1800s at the height of the Civil War. The plantation she and others appear to be at is surrounded and controlled by a unit of Confederate soldiers.

As the film progresses, more truths are learned about the plantation and additional background is provided about who Eden is. With tensions building, Eden begins considering an escape plan.

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REVIEW: ‘Devil All the Time’ offers little more than gratuitous brutality

This movie isn’t for the faint of heart. However, even those who can handle more intense films can probably avoid “The Devil All the Time.”

The picture takes place in rural America, with settings in both Ohio and West Virginia. The movie centers mainly on Arvin (Tom Holland), a young man who grew up in a difficult environment and often has to look out for his surrogate family.

Along with Arvin, the film gives attention to several other characters, with many of them doing a plethora of awful acts. As the film progresses, these characters begin to cross paths.

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REVIEW: ‘Summerland’ slumps after strong start, but still good overall

Being the guardian of a child seems like enough work as it is. This movie throws a world war into the mix, too, so no wonder the main character is stressed.

“Summerland” takes place during World War II as the Battle of Britain is going on. Because London is being bombarded, children, including a young boy named Frank (Lucas Bond), are sent to live in the English countryside.

Upon arrival, the government places Frank with Alice (Gemma Arterton), a writer and researcher of mythical literature. Alice isn’t sociable and doesn’t like kids all that much. However, as time goes on Alice becomes more of a mentor and true guardian for Frank.

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REVIEW: ‘Radioactive’ drags despite strong Pike performance

I’m not exactly a person who’s easily distracted. However, the song “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons kept making its way in my head during this movie.

Starring Rosamund Pike, “Radioactive” tell the story of Polish scientist Marie Curie, who accomplished her groundbreaking work in France. The movie depicts her relationship with her husband Pierre (Sam Riley), as well as their discoveries of the elements polonium and radium.

As the movie progresses, Curie’s life continues to be documented, and both the negative and positive impacts of radioactivity are shown. From this, the audience is able to learn how Curie’s life work went hand in hand with her relationships.

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REVIEW: ‘First Cow’ is a strong film about gentle people

How now, first cow?

This feature from the studio A24 does in fact feature a cow, but it also includes a whole lot more. The movie is set in the early 1820s, during the days where pioneers pushed west for trades such as gold and fur. We’re immediately introduced to Otis “Cookie” Figowitz (John Magaro), a cook who’s part of a fur trading group making their way to a fort.

Cookie isn’t exactly on friendly terms with the others in the team, though, as they claim he doesn’t provide enough food. Once he gets to the fort, though, he does manage to start a friendship with a Chinese immigrant named King-Lu (Orion Lee), who he met earlier during his travels. Not only do the two form a bond, they also begin a money-making scheme where they secretly milk the first cow brought to the area and use it to make high quality baked goods.

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