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Movie Review: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ (Mike’s Review)
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Star Wars The Force Awakens header

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Director: J.J. Abrams
Screenwriter: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Max von Sydow, Gwendoline Christie
Lucasfilm | Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG-13 | 136 Minutes
Release Date: December 18, 2015

It goes without saying that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the most anticipated films of the year. And as such, the expectations are very high for director J.J. Abrams to give us something that will remind us what Star Wars is really about. So it is easy to understand why he might be a little terrified about what fans might think of his vision for the franchise for the new generation. But it is safe to say that not only has he met those expectations, he also exceeded them.

I’ll start out by saying that I am not a hardcore fan of the franchise, but I understand its mythology and how people can live and breathe the world of Star Wars. Second, this will be a spoiler-free review, meaning I won’t reveal what hasn’t been already revealed in trailers and interviews. This is so that everyone can be just as surprised about the film as I was when I first watched it with my fellow journalists. Check out my review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens here below.

...continue reading »
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Review: Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’
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Pixar The Good Dinosaur

The Good Dinosaur
DIRECTOR: Peter Sohn
WRITER: Meg LeFavure
STORY: Peter Sohn, Erik Benson, Meg LeFavure, Kelsey Mann, Bob Peterson
CAST: Raymond Ochoa, Jack Bright, Sam Elliott, Anna Paquin, A.J. Buckley, Steve Zahn, Frances McDormand, Jeffrey Wright, Marcus Scribner
Walt Disney Studios | Pixar
Rated PG | 100 Minutes
Release Date: November 25, 2015

The story of a boy and his dog gets a new prehistoric spin in Disney and Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur. The story asks the age-old question, what would have happened if the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs had missed? Well, in the film, we learn that the dinosaurs become productive members of society that adapted to their natural surroundings. There lies one of the things that makes this film so beautiful. Even with its storied production problems the film has gone through, the studio has managed to rise above it all and give out something that is not only beautiful aesthetically, but emotionally as well.

Arlo, a skittish Apatosaurus with a big heart, is separated from his family. Scared and alone, our hero must find his way home before the cold winter comes. On his journey he comes across sights he has never seen before, and meets an unlikely companion who joins him on his course home – a human boy, whom he names Spot. Together, they learn that they have more in common with each other than they originally thought despite their difference in species, and together they find that they can have the courage to overcome any fear they will encounter on their journey home.

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Movie Review: Straight Outta Compton
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Straight Outta Compton movie still 03

Straight Outta Compton
Director: F. Gary Gray
Screenwriters: Johnathan Herman, Andrea Berloffk
Cast: Corey Hawkins, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Jason Mitchell, Paul Giamatti, Neil Brown Jr., Aldis Hodge
Universal Pictures
Rated R | 147 Minutes
Release Date: August 14, 2015

On the surface, many biopics based on a music artist or group will probably follow the same old Behind the Music narrative of the successes, hardships, and downfalls of said career. Of course, the subject of those episodic documentaries have had some sort of significance, but few have had as much of an impact both in the music industry and culturally as NWA.

In F. Gary Gray‘s Straight Outta Compton, we see a dramatized version of the rise and fall of the rap group whose significance resonates even 30-plus years after their first studio album of the same name. It was because of NWA’s groundbreaking music that the world learned about Compton, CA, and South Central Los Angeles. But the film also covers what went on when the music stopped, revealing that meteoric success can’t stop an inevitable disbanding.

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