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“Abominable” is a charming animated adventure about the power of family and music

(09/26/19 8:27pm)

Yi’s summer has been filled with nothing but work in the bustling city of Shanghai, much to the dismay of her family. After the death of her father,  her family wishes she would spend more time with them. Her grandmother in particular worries about Yi not spending enough time with them and doesn’t hesitate to let Yi know. Yi’s yearning to explore China motivates the same daily work routine— tasks weighing down on her with every passing day, just to make money. 

"Hustlers" humanizes through humor but still has a few missing puzzle pieces

(09/13/19 12:43pm)

The reveal of the staggering cast of “Hustlers,” including Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B, Constance Wu, Lizzo, Keke Palmer and many others, had audiences ready for an empowering movie filled with drama, crime and a whole lot of fun. Do the personalities of these titanic stars translate from the trailers to the big screen? While the immediate answer is a resounding “yes,” some things are disappointingly left at surface level. 

"Midsommar" shows us that there is much more to be afraid of than just the dark

(07/03/19 3:16am)

In “Hereditary,” director Ari Aster built tension and horror around deftly placed hints throughout the movie’s 127 minute run time. One could never quite place it, but something was incredibly unsettling about the life of the seemingly normal family at the heart of the story. It isn’t until the third act of the film—following an exceptionally gruesome twist—that things begin to reveal themselves, and all hell breaks loose.

“Booksmart” ushers in a new generation for the high school coming-of-age comedy

(05/23/19 9:45pm)

On the last day of high school, overachiever Molly (Beanie Feldstein) comes to the earth-shattering realization that it’s possible to excel in school and party. She and her best friend Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) then spend the next hour and a half of the film trying to cram four years of partying into one night, but things don’t quite go according to plan. This is the premise of “Booksmart,” actress Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut that is a heartwarming tale of friendship as well as an impressive comedy. 

The “Hellboy” reboot is bloody but soulless

(04/12/19 2:16am)

As the director of “The Descent” and “Dog Soldiers,” Neil Marshall is no stranger to tackling macabre and unearthly stories. While the “Hellboy” universe seemed like the perfect playground for him, the film is lifeless and falls flat despite the gratuitous amount of blood and gore and David Harbour’s solid performance as the titular character. 

Director Mike Leigh discusses his latest historical drama “Peterloo”

(04/05/19 1:46pm)

In August of 1819, 80,000 people rallied together at St. Peter’s Field, Manchester, in order to seek representation and reform. The peaceful demonstration soon turned into a frenzy, when the cavalry were ordered to enter and disrupt the people. This devolved into a violent massacre that led to hundreds of injuries and some deaths. 

Jordan Peele’s “Us” is an ambitious and chilling fable of American identity

(03/22/19 2:23pm)

Jordan Peele shattered expectations with his directorial debut “Get Out.” Not only did it tap into the zeitgeist, but it also provided a darkly humorous and equally scary take on American race relations. In his sophomore effort, “Us,” he expands the lens of his commentary by exploring recurring conflicts within American identity.

Fyre Festival documentaries have one thing in common: the generalization of a generation

(03/05/19 8:41pm)

In 2017, American entrepreneur Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule presented an exclusive weekend extravaganza on an island previously owned by Pablo Escobar, the notorious Colombian drug lord. Jerry Media, a successful marketing company, promised a star-filled line-up as they posted advertisements that featured Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Hailey Baldwin and other models. Tickets to the event soared up to $250,000 and sold out within 48 hours.

“How To Train Your Dragon 3” is an epic and emotional end to the animated trilogy

(02/22/19 11:52am)

The original “How To Train Your Dragon” made huge waves when it premiered in 2010. Not only was it visually stunning, it was also emotional and action-packed, setting the bar high for its sequels. How To Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World marks the conclusion of Toothless and Hiccup’s (Jay Baruchel) story and it does not disappoint, boasting quality animation, fantastic flying setpieces and a strong emotional core.

“What Men Want” succeeds in entertaining, but leaves more to be desired

(02/08/19 4:17pm)

“Okurrr!” Chuckles rippled throughout the theater as Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) appeared on screen, speaking to her assistant after jumping off her in-home treadmill triumphantly. The scene instantly set the tone for Henson’s sassy, strong-willed character, which was enough to leave audiences laughing while feeling a little intimidated. But despite the cast’s convincing performances and humorous attempts, the film often fell flat in places where it sought to address deeper issues in the workplace. 

A mother and son defy the restaurant world in “Chef Flynn”

(11/20/18 10:09pm)

When you decide to watch a documentary about food, whether it’s a feature length piece on the industry as a whole (ala “Food, Inc.”) or an episode from Food Network’s seemingly endless supply of shows about chefs eating food at other restaurants, there’s always the expectation that you’ll at least get to look at some tantalizing shots of the meals themselves.

“Creed II” isn’t as graceful as it’s predecessor, but still throws impressive punches

(11/20/18 6:14pm)

Directed by Steven Caple Jr, “Creed II” ties the new franchise closer to the “Rocky” series, summoning a sequel that’s tied closely to the events of the fourth “Rocky” film. In this latest installment, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is challenged by Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) and his son (Florian Munteanu) to a boxing match, a fight that carries an incredible amount of baggage, for both Creed and Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone).