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Archive for the 'Movie Reviews' Category

Pixar’s ‘Coco’ Brings Spirited Joy (Movie Review)

Remaining on top is difficult. Pixar enjoyed a steady hold as one of the most prestigious studios for a good while, but various sequels outside of the Toy Story series and troubled productions have pushed them to be seemingly just one of the many animation studios out there. Coco is a fantastic return to form. While I haven’t outright disliked any film Pixar has had to offer, this latest effort reaches the sort of greatness you want from any movie. Inspired by Mexican culture and based on the holiday of Dia de los Muertos, Coco is a lively, colorful adventure that hits in all the right ways.

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Some Kind Of ‘Wonder’ (Movie Review)

Growing up is a challenge for a variety of reasons. Not being comfortable in your own skin is easily one of them. R.J. Palacio’s bestselling children’s novel Wonder examines this thought in a fairly literal fashion, as it deals with the plight of a young boy with a facial deformity. The book was a huge hit, and now it’s become a likable studio film with A-list actors filling in for the roles. It’s good enough to warrant the natural teary-eyed reactions that come with this sort of coming-of-age drama. That said, it also weaves around areas that could be played too sentimental in lesser films. All of that makes Wonder pretty wonderful.

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Forgotten Friday Flick – “Cherry 2000”

To celebrate the power of strong women in cinema, I thought I’d add my two cents by celebrating a reposting of an MIA past picture dissection featuring a tough lady movie character who definitely leads the way – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Today’s selection has a gutsy gal who is asked to help a man with her bounty hunting skills find the perfect woman – but she requires batteries! It’s a love story about a man, his lovely fembot and a real woman who gives him pause.  Cue the soothing music, crack open the champagne and insert your memory microchip because love is in the air courtesy of five-star 1987 sci-fi camp classic…Cherry 2000!

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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Seven New Indie Films

The year may be coming to an end soon, but the barrage of smaller screen fare is still alive and kicking.  (And that’s not including indie Oscar fare that studios only put out in the final two months!)  An urban drama where two different but similar universes exist, a terror tale about a creepy dude who collects clipped fingernails, a campy outing about some dangerous danishes, a doc on the iconic racial happenings during 1992, a story of love and friendship tested, a gothic flick about odd sexual behaviors and one woman’s tale of freedom mixed with cat death make up the seven lesser known films covered in this weeks edition of Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the small cinematic opinions on Destined, Nails, Attack of the Killer Doughnuts, LA 92, Almost Friends, Angelica and Mr. Roosevelt below!

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Why I Give Justice League 2 F’s! (Movie Review)

Justice League (Movie Review)I didn’t think this glorious day would ever come, but alas it has.  Heaven on Earth is here.  That could only mean ONE thing for sure in life.  The Justice League motion picture has finally arrived on the big screen!  As far as 2017 feature films go I have thought of nothing else except Justice League ever since I left San Diego Comic-Con this past July and attended this unforgettable superhero panel captured in all its splendor and awe right here.  I have also painstakingly covered Wonder WomanMan of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad here on the site with both the utmost of detail and exposé.  So with overwhelming joy and rousing happiness I now am in a position to do much the same with my take on the long awaited November 17th superhero ensemble flick, Justice League.  Buckle up ladies and gentlemen as I’m about to steal/drive Batman’s Batmobile both fast and so very furious.  Vroom, vroom! Continue reading ‘Why I Give Justice League 2 F’s! (Movie Review)’

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‘Justice League’ Keeps The World And Itself Safe (Movie Review)

In a different part of the multiverse, I’m sure there’s a time where a Justice League movie would be the most anticipated movie event of the year. Not having dealt with bad reviews for previous films, internet backlash, and furious debates among comic book fans, this alternate timeline would see director Zack Snyder and co-writer (and substitute director) Joss Whedon coming together to make the ultimate superhero film. That’s not where we are, however, and while our universe’s Justice League does manage to deliver the goods, it feels more like another addition to a crowded marketplace than a new high-water mark for what this kind of blockbuster has to offer.

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‘The Shape of Water’ Is A Fantastical Masterwork (Movie Review)

Thinking about writer/director Guillermo del Toro’s work, it easy to see how much effort he puts into every aspect of his films. Del Toro’s best movies are ones that feel like a symphony of ideas all brought together brilliantly by his love for fantasy and horror. The Shape of Water is the latest example. This movie finds the director using the talents of himself and others to craft an unusual love story with no shortage of multi-layered characters, detailed sets and attention to the latest weird creatures del Toro and co-writer Vanessa Taylor have come up with. The results show off the magic of cinema.

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Forgotten Friday Flick – “Zero Effect”

With iconic actor Bill Pullman getting praises as the titular character in the upcoming The Ballad of Lefty Brown and Director Jake Kasdan’s work soon to be on display via the less-than-anticipated Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, it felt timely to repost an MIA oldie but a goodie to remind folks of the genius side of both Kasdan and Pullman via the best of their past work together…welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Today’s selection, originally posted at my previous stomping grounds back on August 1, 2014, is one of my all time personal favorites.  A combination of an incredible screenplay, decent direction and some career best performances, it’s a film that fell through the cinematic cracks and thus truly earns the right to be called a hidden gem.  Quirky detectives, captivating blackmailers, amusing assistants and all under the arm of wit and charm, welcome to the world of…Zero Effect!

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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Ten New Indie Titles

Since those top lists of ten are always popular columns, why not attach such a number to my weekly indie roundup?  Yup, I’m tenaciously tackling a triumphant ten smaller cinematic flicks to give smaller film fare lovers a much needed critical head’s up.  Tales of angry moms and their big billboards, curious teen gals with something up their sleeve, a couple whose distance equals death, the cutthroat arena of business mixed with a virus, life and love L.A. style, the consequences of morality on Wall Street, the angst and aspirations of an adolescent girl, a skilled driver with more to lose than his license, a new bride who’s been put through the ringer and a husband and wife looking to rekindle the passion all make up the subjects of the movies dissected in this edition of Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the succinct opinions on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Thumper, Radius, Mayhem, It Happened In L.A., The Price, Lady Bird, Wheelman, A Bride For Rip Van Winkle and Amanda & Jack Go Glamping all below!

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‘Murder on the Orient Express’ Is A Breezy, Coach Class Ride (Movie Review)

In theory, it would seem like people should welcome another take on Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. A new adaptation means putting together a mix of veteran actors and rising stars in a presumably handsomely filmed production that focuses on the acting in a character-centric mystery. Director and star Kenneth Branagh accomplishes this goal, but it’s all done with the bare minimum of success. Some performers stand out in this ensemble, mustache-heavy, period melodrama, but it never does much to rise above the familiar material being presented.

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Forgotten Friday Flick – “The Page Turner”

Cooling off from the horror sting of Halloween is always hard, so this week I’m reposting an old but not gone recently MIA selection that keeps cinematic tension going but eases fans out of the scary mindset via sophisticated storytelling style – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Today’s selection puts the refined back in revenge and features a tale of poignant piano payback told with a distinctive air of elegance.  Who says getting even can’t be classy?  We’re taking on…The Page Turner.

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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Nine New Indie Titles

Keeping the love of all things indie going, this week presents some interesting cinema in many different genres to keep the avid film fan busy.  (Or at least provide a distraction to the weekend box office chewing Marvel movie machine!)  Docs on the dark side of show business, controversial conservation and caustic comedians, stories about dying more than once, the power of an immortal swordsman, the danger of an overactive imagination, playing another round of ‘do you want to play a game’, the life of a past president and an immigrant tale like no other all make up the nine flicks covered in this weeks edition of Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the critical opinions on An Open Secret, Happy Death Day, A River Below, Blade Of The Immortal, Gerald’s Game, Gilbert, Jigsaw, LBJ and Most Beautiful Island below!

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‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Is Like Christmas Morning As A Kid (Movie Review)

Thor RagnarokI have a new modern day definition of the word fun.  When I think of “fun” now I am reminded of the fantastic Thor: Ragnarok film trailers.  In a world full of so much seriousness, hate protests and whatnot it’s totally awesome to think how a two minute plus movie trailer can put a smile on your face from ear-to-ear.  Not too much does that to me in real life nowadays.  I didn’t even let Thor’s butch haircut damper my spirits, albeit does suck to see him shed those locks no matter what the circumstance is.  Despite Chris Hemsworth not donning those beautiful golden locks all the way through this third Thor solo entry I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to having some serious F-U-N with the Ragnarok folks here.  I’ll also admit this too as I feel like I’m late to the party here because all my California peers have already seen and reviewed it.  Heck, even the boob tube declares it as “one of the best reviewed Marvel films to date.”  So if you’re asking me if I’m excited about Thor: Ragnarok, hell yeah I am!  Let’s get this superhero party started! Continue reading ‘‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Is Like Christmas Morning As A Kid (Movie Review)’

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‘Last Flag Flying’ Has A Theatrical Mission (Movie Review)

After completing his epic (Boyhood) and reliving some glory years (Everybody Wants Some!!), director Richard Linklater has made a step into adult-themed prestige territory. Last Flag Flying is a sorta sequel to Hal Ashby’s 1973 comedy-drama The Last Detail starring Jack Nicholson. Both films are based on author Darryl Ponicsan’s novels, with Last Flag Flying serving as an actual sequel. For the film, which Ponicsan co-wrote with Linklater, characters are changed and the year is 2003, but the concept is familiar. It’s so familiar that it becomes hard to recognize the film as anything more as an entertaining watch involving talented actors doing a lot of talking in various locations. That sounds like a typical Linklater film, but the director seems like he’s more or less cooling off.

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The Hero (Movie Review)

The HeroAn appropriate tagline for “The Hero” might be: “Look how hard we’re working for an Oscar!” One can see the checklist being marked off as the film introduces itself: an aged Hollywood actor trying to redeem himself, a romance with a younger woman, cancer, dreamlike symbolism, and an estranged daughter.

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Forgotten Friday Flick – “The Little Shop Of Horrors”

Halloween is almost here fright fans and so is yet another archived reposting of a prominent past picture nugget scary style – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Don’t let the 1960 elder black and white movie selection this week fool you, as there’s plenty of wit, sass and people eating botanical class to be had.  Originally posted on April 24, 2015 and now resurrected for WhySoBlu.com, it’s a joyous terror tale of sorts that was the origin of the famed character of a pesky plant with an unhealthy appetite that graced many musicals later on.  Surrounded by some equally particular people – a grouchy store owner, flower eating customers, funeral prone old ladies, a demented dentist and even a hypochondriac mom with an affinity for medicinal alcoholic tonic – welcome everyone to skid row home of Mushnick’s Flower Shop and known to the precious few as the…The Little Shop Of Horrors!

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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Seven New Indie Titles

As we head into the area of end of the year Oscar fare, more and more art and indie films will be hitting us throughout the months of November and December – hard and fast.  (Though not always good mind you!)  This week we easing into the soon to be inundated indie scene with seven new flicks that may provide some fun, fright and fights – and that’s just the Jayne Mansfield doc! Comedies about the charisma – and the consequences – of lying, a Stephen King terror tale set in the early 1900’s, a doc on the power of a past Ridley Scott masterwork, a lavish look at the life of the buxom Jayne Mansfield, the adventures of one tough wronged bow & arrow gal, a revenge flick with a meditation message and a look at what really can be considered art all make up the subjects of the seven indie films covered in this week’s Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the critical skinny on The Truth About Lies, 1922, Catching Sight of Thelma & Louise, Mansfield 66/67, The Archer, Acts Of Vengeance and The Square below! Continue reading ‘Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Seven New Indie Titles’

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‘Suburbicon’ Is A Fascinating Disaster (Movie Review)

This year has provided ample opportunity for filmmakers to put together features tackling various social issues entertainingly or intriguingly, while also opening up further discussion. Suburbicon is not one of them. This George Clooney-directed misfire wastes ample opportunity to do more with its overt symbolism by embedding a predictable and mostly unfunny crime caper in the middle of a setting embroiled with racial tension. There’s evident desire to make a darkly humorous, suburban-set satire, but it ends up as yet another failed cinematic attempt at mimicking the Coen brothers.

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