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Movie Review: The Two Popes
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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The Two Popes

The Two Popes
Director: Fernando Meirelles
Writer: Anthony McCarten
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce
Distributor: Netflix
Rated PG-13 | Minutes: 126
Release Date: November 27, 2019 (Limited) | December 20, 2019 (Netflix)

It’s amazing what could be accomplished when two people of differing ideologies could come together to simply sit down and listen to each other. That kind of consideration and respect is hard to come by, especially in this day and age. But when it happens, it reminds us of the power of empathy and tolerance. Fernando Meirelles’ The Two Popes is just that film. Based on true events, The Two Popes is a strong call to action for those who may not agree with others to simply understand their point of view. Check out my review below.

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Movie Review: Queen And Slim
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Queen and Slim

Queen And Slim
Director: Melina Matsoukas
Writer: Lena Waithe
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Chloë Sevigny, Flea, Bokeem Woodbine, Indya Moore
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Rated: R | Minutes: 132
Release Date: November 27, 2019

If art is a reflection of society, then Queen And Slim is a serious call to action to address the societal damages that police brutality and systemic racism cause when it is allowed to continue to fester across America. Melina Matsoukas, who makes her directorial debut using a script written by Lena Waithe, reimagines the outlaws on the run from the law story by adding timely real-world social themes that we see making news headlines too often. Though a film will not completely change the hearts and minds of those who may not see these dangers, it can be a powerful reminder that it still continues to exist and if it isn’t taken care of, these senseless deaths will continue to happen. My review below.

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Movie Review: Knives Out
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Knives Out

Knives Out
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Christopher Plummer
Distributor: Lionsgate
Rated PG-13 | Minutes: 130
Release Date: November 27, 2019

Rian Johnson‘s Knives Out is a deliciously twisted whodunit murder mystery in the same vein of an Agatha Christie novel, but with a modern touch. Though it does rely on many of those Christie tropes of a detective warning the audience about foul play, marking everyone as a suspect, and deliberately setting up all of the clues in plain sight. And true to form, though the film holds the audience’s attention by giving them a well-crafted intrigue that is set up by Johnson, the political subtext allows it to be much more than just a simple murder mystery. And it is able to stay constantly entertaining as it is full of unlikeable and very suspect characters, who are wonderfully played by an all-star cast, that not only keeps things funny, but will also have us guessing until the very end. My full review below.

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Movie Review: Frozen 2
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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FROZEN 2

Frozen 2
Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Writer: Jennifer Lee
Cast: Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter, Rachel Matthews, Jeremy Sisto, Santino Fontana, Ciarán Hinds, Alan Tudyk
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG | Minutes: 103
Release Date: November 22, 2019

Even six years after its release, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen never stopped being a magical phenomenon as it continued on to thrive with its animated short Frozen Fever and its made-for-TV special Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. While both were fun expansions on the franchise, they weren’t really the deep dives into the original film’s characters or mythology that we would expect to see. Though Frozen 2 is not as narratively strong as the first, it is a rare Disney-animated musical sequel that is still a force to be reckoned with because of its emphasis on character development and continuing to echo the themes of female empowerment, while pushing the boundaries in its music and visuals. My full review of Frozen 2 here below.

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Movie Review: The Report
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Adam Driver The Report

The Report
Director: Scott Z. Burns
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Cast: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Ted Levine, Michael C. Hall, Tim Blake Nelson, Corey Stoll, Maura Tierney, Jon Hamm, Matthew Rhys, John Rothman, Sarah Goldberg
Distributor: Amazon Studios
Rated R | Minutes: 120
Release Date: November 15, 2019

There is nothing more shocking and revealing than the truth. Scott Z. Burn‘s The Report is based on the true story of Daniel Jones’ investigation into the infamous Torture Report that followed after the September 11 attacks. The film takes a deep dive to uncover the heinous torture crimes committed by the CIA, and how they and the White House tried to cover it all up. While it is a slow and tedious political thriller, it is something that is filled with fast-paced dialogue, outstanding performances from Adam Driver and Annette Benning, and shocking revelations that will surely evoke anger and frustration.

Above all, The Report highlights the absolute necessity for investigative reporting. My full review here below.

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Movie Review: Ford v Ferrari
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Ford v Ferrari Christian Bale Matt Damon

Ford v Ferrari
Director: James Mangold
Writer: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller
Cast: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Remo Girone, Ray McKinnon
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Rated PG-13 | Minutes: 150
Release Date: November 15, 2019

Great sports cinema goes far beyond what happens on the field, the court, or in this case, the racing track. It explores the unseen drama and relationships that are created off of them. Ford v Ferrari, directed by James Mangold, is just that kind of film as it chronicles the building of a better, faster, and stronger American car, while also elevating the story with a real-life grounded human drama.

Though it may check off all the boxes when it comes to biographical sports films, it also makes and checks off a few more with its editing and technical designs in sound, production, and costumes, and has audiences consuming what they are watching thanks in part to terrific performances from Matt Damon and Christian Bale. Check out the full review below.

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Movie Review: Last Christmas
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Last Christmas

Last Christmas
Director: Paul Feig
Writer: Bryony Kimmings, Emma Thompson
Cast: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Emma Thompson, Michelle Yeoh
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Rated PG-13| Minutes: 103
Release Date: November 8, 2019

George Michael‘s “Last Christmas” is an essential track for any Christmas playlist. And though “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, but the very next day you gave it away / This year, to save me from tears, I’ll give it to someone special,” is a bittersweet lyric, it does play a huge role in Paul Feig‘s holiday romantic comedy Last Christmas, starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding.

The film is breezy, tender, warm, and sweet at best, though it is a bit weighed down by its predictability. Still, looking past its flaws and embracing the cheerful hope it joyfully expresses, Last Christmas can go from essential track on any Christmas playlist to essential watching during the holiday season. Check out my review below.

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Movie Review: Marriage Story
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Marriage Story

Marriage Story
Director: Noah Baumbach
Writer: Noah Baumbach
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, Azhy Robertson, Julie Hagerty, Merritt Wever
Distributor: Netflix
Rated R| Minutes: 136
Release Date: November 8, 2019 (Limited Theaters)| December 6, 2019 (Netflix)

Writer and director Noah Baumbach‘s Marriage Story is an emotionally crushing, yet very compassionate depiction of a collapsing marriage between two people and the irony of the realization that they must come together in order for them to go their separate ways. It also may be one of Baumbach’s greatest pieces of work.

Films about divorce rarely explore the heartbreak of two people who could not make it work with such honesty. But with Marriage Story, it feels raw and unnerving. The film moves like a stage play with its characters (played brilliantly by Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver) pouring out their souls for all of us to see as they go through one of the most difficult points in their lives.

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Movie Review: Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil
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Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL.

Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil
Director: Joachim Rønning
Writer: Linda Woolverton, Noah Harpster, Micah Fitzerman-Blue
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, Michelle Pfeiffer
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG | Minutes: 118
Release Date: October 18, 2019

You never know what to expect from Disney’s live-action adaptations of their animated classics. At times, they can be just as wonderful as their animated counterparts. Other times, they are just hollow, lacking any sort of distinguishing features. But for Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil, starring Angelina Jolie, it is the first sequel of its kind for the studio. This means, there are new stories to see and hear, new worlds to explore, new characters to meet, and more reasons to love the antihero fairy whose cold heart was warmed by Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning).

Sure, the first film was merely a CGI-saturated feature that could not match Jolie’s performance, but with the sequel has a much better cast, a fantastic story, and more epic action sequences. Check out the full review below.

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Movie Review: In Search of Darkness: A Journey Into Iconic ’80s Horror
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Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
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In Search Of Darkness 80s Horror

In Search of Darkness: A Journey Into Iconic ’80s Horror
Written and Directed by David Weiner
Featuring Cassandra Peterson, John Carpenter, Heather Langenkamp, Keith David, Alex Winter, Tom Holland, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Don Mancini, Larry Cohen
Documentary
Runtime: 4 hours, 20 minutes
Release date: October 6, 2019 (Beyond Fest)

The ’70s were a time of shocking and visceral thrills for horror audiences, giving us era-defining classics like The Exorcist, Jaws, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Alien. The 1980s, however, was a decade of excess and that went for horror films as well. The normal expression is “less is more,” but in ’80s horror MORE was more. More blood, more nudity, more controversy, more slasher icons, more films to choose from, and more sequels. David Weiner’s phenomenal new documentary, In Search of Darkness: A Journey Into Iconic ’80s Horror, gives the decade a comprehensive overview. As someone who grew up in the late 1980s and was eased into the genre by my love of the video store horror aisles and Freddy Krueger in 1987’s A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors, this documentary hit me in all the feels. It works both as a passionate nostalgia project and a genuine look at film history.

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