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: Want a film so bad it’s good? ‘The Intruder’ is your movie

I’d never argue that “The Intruder” is a good movie by any means. But I can’t deny that it is really entertaining.

The thriller now playing in theaters follows a young, wealthy couple, Annie (Meagan Good) and Scott (Michael Ealy). The two live in San Francisco but are looking to move to a more rural area. They decide on Napa Valley and check out a house for sale in a secluded area, owned by Charlie (Dennis Quaid).

Charlie, who now lives by himself after losing his wife, is selling the house for a high price, but decides to knock some dollars off because he likes Annie and Scott. The purchase is finalized and the married couple moves in to the new home. However, Charlie seems to have a hard time letting go as he often drops by the couple to check on them and see if they need help with the property. Eventually, Charlie’s behavior starts to worry Scott, as he comes across like he’s hiding something.

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REVIEW: ‘Pet Sematary’ has scares, but lacks solid storytelling

Another Stephen King adaptation has made its way to theaters, inviting audiences once again to the wonderful state of Maine.

“Pet Sematary” is the second adaptation of the King novel, the other releasing in 1989. This film, directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, shares some similarities as the film and novel, while also featuring a few differences. Jason Clarke plays the main character Louis here, a doctor and father in a family of four who are relocating from Boston to rural Maine.

The rest of the family consists of Rachel (Amy Seimetz), Ellie (Jete Laurence) and Gage (Hugo Lavoie). Upon arriving, the family settles in fairly well to their new rural community. The family, by introduction from their neighbor Jud (John Lithgow), do soon learn that their property includes an odd cemetery for pets, though. The land is proven even more eerie after the family cat is killed by a truck and Jud reveals there are some areas where, if buried, dead creatures can be brought back.

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REVIEW: ‘Us’ provides the thrills but is undercut by consistency issues

“Us,” definitely not to be confused with the drama show “This is Us,” is the latest picture from Writer/Director Jordan Peele.

The film tells the story of Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), who’s visiting a beach vacation home with her family, which includes her husband Gabe (Winston Duke), daughter Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and son Jason (Evan Alex).

While Adelaide is has some reservations about being in the area again because of some bad memories from her past, she tries to make the most of her vacation with her family. Things seem to be going OK until night falls and the family is confronted in their vacation home by a group of doppelgangers.

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REVIEW: Poor execution dismantles ‘Captive State’

“Captive State” is a movie I wanted to enjoy. It’s a lower budget sci-fi flick helmed by a director I like. Unfortunately, things didn’t really work out.

Directed by Rupert Wyatt, “Captive State” picks up nine years after an alien race landed on Earth and established a treaty with the planet’s leaders. While there’s a peace between the aliens and human leaders, though, the treaty has resulted in massive income inequality.

Additionally, the aliens seem very secretive and in some cases nefarious. As a result, there has been groups of resistance. The film follows Detective William Mulligan (John Goodman) who’s investigating the rebels and Gabriel Drummond (Ashton Sanders), a young man who’s related to one of the opposition leaders.

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REVIEW: ‘Greta’ has just enough entertainment value

I can’t say “Greta” featured some great decisions by its characters. However, this one has enough thrills to get by.

“Greta” doesn’t open with the character Greta (Isabelle Huppert), but rather the film’s protagonist Frances (Chloe Grace Moretz). A new resident to New York City, Frances is trying to move on with her life in the big city months after the death of her mother. The film picks up with her riding the subway back from work, and once she gets to her stop, she notices a purse.

Because the lost and found center at the subway office is closed, she looks at the ID card in the bag and find’s Greta’s address, determined to return it herself. Her endeavor is successful and Frances meets Greta, a kind woman who lives on her own. The two start on friendly terms, but Frances soon learns that Greta is rather obsessive.

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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: ‘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: Poor twist sinks ‘Serenity’

On the surface, “Serenity” looks like a film maybe worth checking out. Written and directed by a filmmaker with plenty of experience along with a cast of Oscar winners and nominees, it seems like it could be fine.

However, one should beware of what lies beneath.

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REVIEW: ‘Escape Room’ is poorly structured

You’ve probably seen “Escape Room” before. Maybe not the actual movie, but a lot of the elements included should be familiar to anyone who’s watched their share of thrillers.

Following a group of six strangers, “Escape Room” has a premise based on the live action mystery game that’s been growing in popularity in recent years. The group includes a truck driver named Mike (Tyler Labine), a grocery store employee, Ben (Logan Miller), an escape room enthusiast, Danny (Nik Dodani), a military veteran, Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll), a wealthy trader, Jason (Jay Ellis) and a college student, Zoey (Taylor Russell).

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