[Movie Review] Incredibles 2

Incredibles 2 - movie poster - property of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Pictures - from http://www.joblo.com/movie-posters/2018/incredibles-2#image-34610

Despite feeling remarkably familiar for being such a long-awaited sequel, Incredibles 2 adeptly balances exciting action alongside thought-provoking and humorous family relations and is an easy recommendation for viewers seeking heroic adventures that don’t limit themselves to a teenage-and-above audience.

Please note: If you or your loved ones have symptoms of epilepsy or photosensitivity, be aware that several scenes in this film do depict rapidly flashing lights that may not be suitable for all audiences. Thank you for your understanding.

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[Movie Review] Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story - movie poster - from http://www.joblo.com/movie-posters/2018/solo-a-star-wars-story#image-34605 - property of Lucasfilm, Walt Disney Pictures, Allison Shearmur Productions, Imagine Entertainment

Han Solo’s origin story is a genuinely fun action movie that recalls the lighthearted tone of the original Star Wars films without blatantly mimicking their structure or leaning too hard on nostalgia. The new characters are fun to watch, the old ones are given genuine reasons to appear instead of simply being thrown in, and the story moves at a lively pace that doesn’t undercut its own serious aspects.

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[Movie Review] Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi - movie poster - property of Lucasfilm, Ram Bergman Productions, and Walt Disney Pictures - from http://www.joblo.com/movie-posters/2017/star-wars-the-last-jedi#image-34354

That’s how you move a story forward.

I was apprehensive about Rian Johnson directing a major installment in one of Western cinema’s most iconic franchises (I had issues with Looper), but I needn’t have worried—despite sometimes packing in more stories and ideas than it can give careful attention to, The Last Jedi solidly improves on its predecessor by being one thing from start to finish: unpredictable.

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[Movie Review] Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman - DC Entertainment et al. - movie poster - from http://www.joblo.com/movie-posters/2017/wonder-woman#image-34095

I used to want to save the world, Diana Prince(ss of Themyscira) utters as her film begins. She hails from the land of the Amazons, an secluded, all-female society with ties to Greek mythology itself; much of her early life consists of training to one day defend that society, even as her people neither celebrate nor rush toward battle.

Diana’s own story hits a number of typical beats, often precisely when expected and occasionally rote, but this in large part feels like the sort of film the DC Comics live-action canon needed–a basic, uplifting yet down-to-earth origin story that proves it understands its own foundations (even if its connections to the heroine’s own beginnings have been scrutinized) and can appeal to a wide apolitical audience without compromising its lead’s identity.

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[Saint Patrick’s Day Movie Review] Noble, 2014

Destiny Films - Noble - movie poster - from http://www.shescribes.com/2016/04/movie-review-noble.html

It’s not every day one is likely to hear about a young Irish woman leaving her home and friends behind to serve poor children on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. Christina Noble, however, did just that, with her tireless devotion and love for the children of a war-ravaged nation leading to the making of a healthcare, education, and community-development foundation named for her, providing service to hundreds of thousands in need. Noble, a life story directed by Stephen Bradley and starring Deirdre O’Kane, is a picture of a brave woman juggling her persevering faith with her unimaginable circumstances and leaving a profound impact across multiple nations. The movie’s respect for its source material largely rises above emotional manipulation thanks to the script’s abundant, if sometimes slavish sincerity.

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[Movie Review] Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - movie poster - property of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and others - from http://www.impawards.com/2016/rogue_one_a_star_wars_story_ver5.html

It’s hard to make “overwhelming odds” consistently feel convincing. Blockbusters have relied on those for so long that their villains and threats have to keep raising the stakes in order to be taken seriously. Rogue One takes a different approach–instead of making a “newer and bigger” Empire, it reminds us why the original was so credible, injecting significance even into small-scale events and questioning our heroes’ confidence in their own beliefs along the way. If the excellent but familiar The Force Awakens demonstrated an understanding of why Star Wars: A New Hope is an enduring classic, Rogue One understands why Star Wars is still a terrific series with powerful and gripping stories to tell.

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Movie Review: Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange, property of Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, movie poster, from http://screenrant.com/doctor-strange-marvel-comic-con-trailer-poster/

Distracted driving is dangerous.

After a horrific accident threatens to cut short both Dr. Stephen Strange’s illustrious career and his life, the battered yet proud and determined surgeon’s journey through physical and emotional rehabilitation soon grants him not only the regained use of his finger dexterity but also the power to travel among dimensions and to manipulate space and time.

He’s a compelling character, with an ego that early on screams importance and the medical abilities to back it up, and a reliably standout performance from Benedict Cumberbatch makes him engrossing to watch, as do the visual splendor and the generally solid writing. This becomes a story that reminds us why origin stories are worth enjoying.

Doctor Strange doesn’t reinvent the genre wheel, but in a way it’s a better film for that.

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Movie Review: Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak - movie poster - property of Legendary Entertainment - from http://www.comingsoon.net/movies/news/468579-crimson-peak-poster

Guillermo del Toro’s period romance turned horror tale turned stage drama is an interesting but odd film, whose mixture of genres results in a story that feels barebones but nonetheless offers incredible visuals and atmosphere thanks to its stunning architecture and disturbingly convincing special effects. The writing could use more confidence along the lines of del Toro’s own Pacific Rim or the engrossing genre-blend Pan’s Labyrinth, but this is still a gorgeous movie that would simply benefit from more character depth and quicker pacing to back up its amazing set pieces.

Edith Cushing saw a ghost when she was ten. It was her mother’s, who gave her only a vague warning: Beware of Crimson Peak. Years passed, and Edith seemed happy and doing well for herself, her dress suggesting prestige and grandeur. She’d spent her time constructing a manuscript, using a ghost not as the center of a plot but as a metaphor for the past. Her publisher, not particularly progressive toward women or their narrative tastes, insisted on a love story.

One like this would give him more than he bargained for.

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Movie Review: The Witch (2015)

The VVitch - property of Parts and Labor et al. - movie poster - from http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/the-witch/Film?oid=4665602

When faced with evil, our response to it says more about us than any danger alone does. In 1630 New England, a man and his wife and children are banished from their plantation by a Christian court for crimes not fully specified. Exiled to a green yet bleak wilderness, the family rebuilds their life as best they can, looking to God when everything around and within them falls apart. The “VVitch” is–for the most part–a darkly believable and in some ways disturbingly familiar portrayal of what happens when an external threat is resisted by extremism, with few clear heroes and fewer solutions. As a story, and as a piece of entertainment, the film isn’t much to speak of; its subject matter, however, remains deeply unsettling and may stay memorable longer than the movie.
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