Movie Review: RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON

RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON movie poster | ©2021 Walt Disney Pictures

Rating: PG Stars (voices): Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Izaac Wang, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Benedict Wong, Sandra Oh, Alan Tudyk Writers: Qui Nguyen & Adele Lim, story by Paul Briggs, Don Hall, Adele Lim, Carlos Lopez Estrada, Kiel Murray, Qui Nguyen, John Ripa, Dean Wellins, story ideas by Bradley Raymond, additional story contributions by Helen Kalafatic Directors: Don Hall & Carlos Lopez Estrada, co-directors, Paul Briggs & John Ripa Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Release Date: March 5, 2021 RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON is a charming animated quest that goes more or less exactly where we’d expect. It moves […]Read On »

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Movie Review: WRONG TURN 2021

WRONG TURN | ©2021 Lionsgate

Rating: R Stars: Charlotte Vega, Adain Bradley, Matthew Modine, David Hutchison, Emma Dumont, Dylan McTee, Vardaan Arora, Adrian Favela, Tim deZarn Writer: Alan McElroy Director: Mike P. Nelson Distributor: Lionsgate Release Date: February 23, 2021 WRONG TURN 2021 is in theory a remake of the much-sequelized 2003 WRONG TURN. It even has the same writer, Alan McElroy. However, while it has the same general premise – a group of young, attractive people go into the woods and have trouble with the folks who live there – it doesn’t have exactly the same plot, or even exactly the same genre. Indeed, […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE SINNERS

THE SINNERS movie poster | ©2021 Brainstorm Media

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Kaitlin Bernard, Brenna Llewellyn, Brenna Coates, Aleks Paunovic, Tahmoh Penikett, Lochlyn Munro, Michael Eklund, Keilani Rose, Jasmine Randhawa, Natalie Malaika, Carly Fawcett, Jerry Trimble, Loretta Walsh, James Neate, Elysia Rotaru, Dylan Playfair, Jen Araki Writers: Courtney Paige & Erin Hazlehurst & Madison Smith, story by Courtney Paige Director: Courtney Paige Distributor: Brainstorm Media Release Date: February 19, 2021 THE SINNERS is one of those movies where the direction is better than the acting. Debuting feature director Courtney Paige creates beautiful, rich images, and gets good performances from her cast. The script she wrote with Erin Hazlehurst […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE MAURITANIAN

THE MAURITANIAN movie poster |©2020 STX Films

Rating: R Stars: Tahar Rahim, Jodie Foster, Benedict Cumberbatch, Shailene Woodley Writers: M.B. Traven and Rory Haines & Sohrab Noshrvani, screen story by M.B. Traven, based on the book GUANTANAMO DIARY by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, edited by Larry Siems Director: Kevin Macdonald Distributor: STX Films Release Date: February 12, 2021 THE MAURITANIAN is based on Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s nonfiction book GUANTANAMO DIARY (edited by Larry Siems, as is noted in the credits), which details his decade-plus of detention in that facility. The film, directed by Kevin Macdonald from a screenplay by M.B. Traven and Rory Haines & Sohrab Noshrvani, screen […]Read On »

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Movie Review: JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH movie poster | ©2020 Warner Bros.

Rating: R Stars: LaKeith Stanfield, Daniel Kaluuya, Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback, Ashton Sanders, Algee Smith, Darnnell Britt-Gibson, Lil Rel Howery, Dominique Thorne, Martin Sheen, Robert Longstreet Writers: Will Berson & Shaka King, story by Will Berson & Shaka King and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas Director: Shaka King Distributor: Warner Bros. Release Date: February 12, 2021 JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH concerns two real-life figures, 1960s Black activist Fred Hampton, and FBI informant William O’Neal. We’re in 1968 Chicago, with periodic interview sequences set later, in 1989. As depicted here (and as discernable in the historical record), Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) […]Read On »

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Movie Review: SOUL

SOUL movie poster | ©2020 Disney/Pixar

Rating: PG Stars (voices): Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Angela Bassett, Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Wes Studi, Fort une Feirnster, Zenobia Shroff Writers: Pete Docter & Mike Jones & Kemp Powers Director: Pete Docter Co-Director: Kemp Powers Distributor: Disney Release Date: December 25, 2020 SOUL has been nominated for two Golden Globe Awards, including Best Animated Motion Picture and Best Score (by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, with jazz compositions and arrangements by Jon Batiste), and will no doubt get some Oscar nods as well. The title of SOUL comes from both the spirit of jazz music, dear to the heart […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE RECKONING

THE RECKONING movie poster | ©2021 RLJE Films

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Charlotte Kirk, Joe Anderson, Steven Waddington, Sean Pertwee, Ian Whyte, Rick Warden, Bill Fellows, Mark Ryan, Sarah Lambie, Leon Ockenden, Callum Goulden, Suzanne Magowan, Indianna Ryan Writers: Neil Marshall & Charlotte Kirk & Edward Evers-Swindell, based on RED HEX, story by Antony Jones & Edward Evers-Swindell Director: Neil Marshall Distributor: RLJE Films Release Date: February 5, 2021 THE RECKONING is an artful but relatively serious-minded film that combines the twin horrors of witch-hunting and plague. A little reminiscent of 2010’s BLACK DEATH, this offering from director Neill Marshall and his co-writers, Charlotte Kirk & Edward Evers-Swindell, […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE CLEANSING HOUR

THE CLEANSING HOUR movie poster |©2021 RLJE Entertainment

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Ryan Guzman, Kyle Gallner, Alix Angelis, Chris Lew Kum Hoi, Daniel Hoffman-Gill, Emma Holzer, Joanna David Writers: Damien LeVeck & Aaron Horwitz, story by Aaron Horwitz Director: Damien LeVeck Distributor: RLJE Entertainment Release Date: January 19, 2021  THE CLEANSING HOUR is a well-conceived, well-executed horror movie about the perils of making misleading reality programming. We tend to think of those dangers in terms of the effect on the audience. THE CLEANSING HOUR doesn’t ignore this, but its main focus is on “Father” Max Tyler (Ryan Guzman) and his lifelong best friend Drew (Kyle Gallner). The two […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE LITTLE THINGS

THE LITTLE THINGS movie poster | ©2021 Warner Bros.

Rating: R Stars: Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto, Chris Bauer, Michael Hyatt, Terry Kinney, Natalie Morales, Isabel Arraiza, Joris Jarsky, Glenn Morshower, Sofia Vassilieva Writer: John Lee Hancock Director: John Lee Hancock Distributor: Warner Bros. Release Date: January 29, 2021 THE LITTLE THINGS is a police detective story that aims to carry more weight than it achieves. It’s not that it doesn’t have anything to say, but rather that it takes the long way round to get there. Set primarily in early ‘90s Los Angeles (with bits in Kern County), THE LITTLE THINGS focuses on the search for a […]Read On »

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Movie Review: ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI movie poster | ©2021 Amazon Studios

Rating: R Stars: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr., Lance Reddick, Christian Magbe, Joaquina Kalukango Writer: Kemp Powers, based on his stage play Director: Regina King Distributor: Amazon Studios Release Date: December 25, 2020; digital release, January 15, 2021 ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI jumps off from a real event: Cassius Clay’s victory as the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion on February 25, 1964. The film, based on the stage play by Kemp Powers, who wrote the screenplay, puts Clay (Eli Goree) together with Black activist Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), football star Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), and singer/songwriter luminary […]Read On »

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