REVIEW: Get in the theater for ‘In the Heights’

“In the Heights” is an appropriate name for this film and the stage production its based on.

Not only because it takes place in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood, but also because it’s an experience that earns high scores.

The film is set in a Latin community and follows several characters, but the main focus is on Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), a bodega owner who dreams of reopening his late father’s beachside business in the Dominican Republic. One of the regular customers to Usnavi’s shop is Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), a young woman working at a salon who wants to pursue a career in fashion.

Early in the film, Usnavi and Vanessa meet up with Nina (Leslie Grace), a Stanford University student whose father owns a taxi company. That company is where Benny (Corey Hawkins), who has relationship history with Nina, works. The four of them spend time with others in the neighborhood and try to navigate their futures during a heat wave across New York City.

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REVIEW: ‘Cats’ is crazy, but its music is catchy

Cats are not dogs. This is information the movie really wants an audience to know, so much so that Judi Dench turns directly to the camera to say it. That’s just one of the lessons one will learn over the course of the cinematic experience that is “Cats.” It truly is something to behold.

Based on the stage play of the same name, “Cats” is set in London and follows a group of felines who love to sing and dance. The main character we’re introduced at the start is Victoria (Francesca Hayward), who’s introduced to the Jellicle cats. The Jellicle cats all have their own traits, quirks, and even personalized songs that they sing.

Victoria meeting with the Jellicle cats happens to be a meeting of destiny, as it turns out it’s the night of the Jellicle ball, where a single cat is chosen to have their life thoroughly improved. Over the course of the film, different cats sing and perform with the hope of being the one.

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