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April 29, 2019

Avengers: Endgame (2019) --- "Avenge the Fallen but Nothing Can Prepare You for the End."

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    After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018) set in motion by Thanos, the universe is in ruins and the Avengers are left fractured. When an opportunity arises, the remaining Avengers assemble once more to try to undo Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) actions and restore order to the universe. Join Marvel studios as they make one final stand in an epic grand conclusion that is the most anticipated film of the year, Avengers: Endgame (2019).

April 26, 2019

Cold Skin (2019) --- "How Much Horror Can The Heart Endure"

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In 1914, a meteorologist, named Friend (David Oakes) travels to a remote island to replace the previous research. However, he is nowhere to be found, the island’s lighthouse is built like a fortress, and the lighthouse guard, Gruner (Ray Stevenson), is more of a paranoid castaway then a guard. Everything seems to be fine on the island but when night hits an army of humanoid sea creatures rise from the ocean, seeking to attack him and the lighthouse. How long can they survive the attacks before they lose their minds and start attacking each other? Will they ever get off the island? Or are they doomed to fight for their lives every night?

The Mule (2018) --- "Nobody Runs Forever"

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    Directed by Clint Eastwood (The 15:17 to Paris, Sully), written by Nick Schenk (The Judge, Gran Torino), and inspired by the New York Times Magazine Article "The Sinaloa Cartel's 90-Year Old Drug Mule" by Sam Dolnick, The Mule (2018) is an entertaining and compelling film loosely based on the life of Leo Sharp, a WW2 veteran and Detroit-based horticulturalists who began working as a drug mule for the Sinaloa cartel after his business fell on hard times. Earl Stone (Clint Eastwood) is a successful horticulturalist in Peoria, Illinois but his success has caused him to be estranged from his ex-wife Mary (Dianne Wiest) and daughter Iris (Alison Eastwood), leaving his granddaughter Ginny (Taissa Farmiga) as his only admirer. After he fails to embrace the digital age, Stone’s business falls on hard times and he decides to take a mysterious offer to deliver a package from Mexico to Chicago. With his newfound income Stone decides to put the money to good use by helping those he cares about and all the while his cartel handler Julio (Ignacio Serricchio) is getting more and more frustrated with his unpredictable behavior. Meanwhile, DEA agent Colin Bates (Bradley Cooper) and his partner Trevino (Michael Peña) manage to flip a cartel employee who tips them off about a successful drug mule known as "Tata"(AKA grandfather), who proves to be hard to track down then they thought. The unassuming 90-year-old white man with a clean record was able to slip under law enforcement's radar. With the DEA on his tail and the cartel tightening the leash, Earl Stone is running out of time to change his fortunes and reconcile with his family. Will he succeed in escaping the DEA and the cartel? Or if not, which one will get to him first?

April 22, 2019

Papillon (2018) --- "The Greatest Escape Adventure Ever Told."

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    Directed by Michael Noer (Before the Frost), written by Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners, The Red Road), and based on the international best-selling autobiography books "Papillon" and "Banco" by Henri Charrière, Papillon (2017) tells the epic true story of Henri "Papillon" Charrière’s great escape. Papillon is a successful safecracker and thief for the Parisian underworld hoping to make it big so he and his wife can move to the countryside and start a family. But after making enemies with the wrong crowd and thus being wrongfully convicted for murder, Papillon is condemned to a life in the notorious penal colony on Devil's Island, French Guiana. Determined to regain his freedom, Papillon forms an unlikely friendship with fellow inmate and quirky convicted counterfeiter Louis Dega. In exchange for protection, Dega agrees to finance Papillon's escape but Dega seems to attract more trouble than Papillon initially thought. Will Papillon and Dega be successful in the escape? Or will it be a fools hope?

April 19, 2019

Operation Finale (2018) --- "After World War II, The Mission For Justice Began."

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Directed by Chris Weitz (ABOUT A BOY) and written by debut writer Matthew Orton, Operation Finale (2018) is a historical thriller based on the true story of how a group of Israeli secret agents carefully planned extraction of one of the most wanted SS officers hiding in Argentina. It’s been 15 years since the end of WW2 and after receiving intelligence that Adolf Eichmann - the man who masterminded the "Final Solution" - is hiding in Argentina, a team of top-secret Israeli agents travels there to arrest him so that he may stand trial for the death of 6 million Jews. However, the extraction proves to be more complicated than they first anticipated and agent Peter Malkin soon finds himself playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with Eichmann. Will the team succeed in their mission? Or will Peter fall to the lies and manipulations of Eichmann?

April 17, 2019

Helboy (2019) --- "Demons Have Demons Too, Let's Raise Some Hell"

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1,500 years ago Nimue (Milla Jovovich), a blood witch hell-bent on world destruction, was defeated by King Arthur and Merlin. Her body was cut into pieces and scattered throughout the world but now Gruagach, a household spirit of British folklore with an ax to grind against Hellboy (David Harbour) is working on putting Nimue back together. Now Hellboy, his adoptive father Professor Broom (Ian McShane), Alice (Sasha Lane) an old friend and clairvoyant, and Agent Daimio (Dae Kim) from M-11 must work together to stop Nimue before she kicks starts the apocalypse that will destroy the world as we know it. Can they stop her in time or will they be too late? Can Hellboy resist her temptations or will he succumb to the darkness inside of him? Directed by Neil Marshall (Doomsday, Centurion), written by Andrew Cosby (Eureka), and based on the Dark Horse Comic Book by  Mike Mignola (Hellboy, Hellboy 2), Hellboy (2019) is the start of a new series that is more violent, bloodier, and darker Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy films starring Ron Perlman.    Comic books based films are all the rage right now as the utilize big budgets to bring the literary world to life in ways that the original fanbase never thought possible. With DC and Marvel fighting for dominance as well as being largely outnumbered, smaller and lesser known studios are still striving to make a lasting name for themselves. The first two installments by Del Toro may be outdated but they’re just as impressive, charming, and entertaining as they were when they first came out. Most fans would have preferred a third installment from Del Toro or at least one that follows after the second film, however, that didn’t happen and what we got instead is... interesting to say the least.
   Director Marshall aims to create a new Hellboy series that utilizes an R-rating by amping up the blood, gore, and violence. Now, I have seen my fair share of bloody, gory films like 47 Meters Down, 300, 300: Rise of an Empire, Suker Punch, and more. But Hellboy immediately starts out in a disturbingly violent way that made me close my eyes out of reflex. The storytelling does have a few bright moments of clever filmmaking but it lacks a lot of the humor and charm that made its predecessors successful. It’s not exactly the worst film to date, but it does pale in comparison. Of course, some people might point out that the film is based on a dark comic and while that might be true, there is such a thing as too much blood, gore, and violence. I have a strong stomach but at some points, particularly Hellboy’s interaction with Baba Yaga and Nimue’s climactic assault on mankind (as seen in the trailers), were a bit queasy to watch. Also, there were moments when the action either too much or was lackluster despite what the trailers promised ahead of time.
   As for the cast performances, I did enjoy those to an extent. I will always prefer Ron Perlman as Hellboy but ­­­David Harbour (Black Widow, Suicide Squad) does make a good effort as the character. It actually took me a little bit to figure out that it wasn’t Perlman reprising the role. Ian McShane (John Wick 3) takes over John Holt and does a good job at it, Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil: The Final Chapter)  is almost unrecognizable as Nimue, Daniel Dae-Kim (Hawaii Five-O, The Good Doctor) is interesting as British agent with a dark secret, and Sasha Lane (American Honey) is surprisingly good as a new coming actor. The rest of the characters did a good job, especially  Troy Jones & Emma Tate as Baba Yaga who were, for all intents and purposes, nightmarishly creepy.

   Overall, Hellboy (2019) is a decent film but it lacks the same charm and humor that the original films had which is what made them so successful. The storytelling was okay and what humor we are given can’t really be considered humor, however, I believe the last complaint is justified by its rating. In other words, humor is a game of hit or miss but when it comes to humor in R-rated films that game gets even harder because now you can add vulgarity to the “humor” which isn’t something that suits my tastes. Of course, this doesn’t mean that Hellboy is a horrible film because I am sure that there is going to be a number of viewers out there that will find it highly enjoyable but I’m not one of them. I’m not going to be the one that tells you whether or not you should see this film, I think we're all old enough to make that decision ourselves, but I do recommend that you keep in mind the R-rating and what that entails for this film.

Final Vote --- 6 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar
Blade: Trinity (2004)
Constantine (2005)
Dredd (2012)
Ghost Rider (2007)
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)
Hellboy (2004)
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008)
I, Frankenstein (2014)
Jonah Hex (2010)
Legion (2010)
R.I.P.D. (2013)
Sin City (2005)
Sucker Punch (2011)
V for Vendetta (2006)
Watchmen (2009)

April 15, 2019

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008) --- “Saving The World IS A Hell Of A Job.”

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     Director Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape of Water) and original comic book creator Mike Mignola have returned to helm the sequel to their incredible 2004 comic book to film adaptation, Hellboy. Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008) continues the adventure after the events of the previous film 4 years prior. The film starts off with a teenage Hellboy being told the legend of the Golden Army, the crown created to control them, and the prince who tried to take it for himself. In an effort to maintain peace and ensure that the Golden Army is never awakened, the humans and the supernatural decide to split the crown into three pieces and hide them in secret locations around the world. All measures appear to be taken and the threat of the Golden Army seems to fade into the realm of myths and legend, that is until those who crave power decide to seize the day. Years later Hellboy and his crew are about to face off in their biggest battle yet when the story from his childhood becomes a reality. Will the team stop the dark prince in time to save the world again? Or will humanity finally witness the apocalypse?

April 12, 2019

Hellboy (2004) --- “Here To Protect, But Sent To Destroy. Time To Give Evil Hell”

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     In 1944, at the end of WW2, the Nazis make one final attempt to use black magic to aid their dying cause. On an island in Scotland, Nazi officers Karl Ruprecht Kroenen (Karel Rodan) and Ilsa Haupstein (Biddy Hodson) along with the aid of the legendary Russian mystic Rasputin (Karel Rodan) create a special dimensional portal machine that will summon a powerful demon set to bring about the apocalypse. However, when their plans are interrupted by Professor Trevor “Broom” Bruttenholm (John Hurt) and the Allies, they accidentally summon a red human-demonic half-blood baby. Rather than kill him, Professor Broom decides to adopt and raise him as a son, naming him Hellboy (Ron Perlman). Years later, Rasputin and zombie versions of Kroenan and Illsa are making a second attempt to summon the demon god to Earth. Now it’s up to Professor Broom and the Bureau for Paranormal Research Squad, a team of supernatural misfits lead by Hellboy, to stop them. As the team faces off with deadly demons left and right can they come together in time to save the world? Or will they let their differences stand in the way of stopping the apocalypse?

April 10, 2019

The Best of Enemies (2019) --- "Some Friendships Come In Unexpected Packages."

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In 1971 in Durham, North Carolina, Claiborne Paul “C.P” Ellis (Sam Rockwell) is the president of the local KKK, while Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson) is a black civil rights activist trying to get decent housing for black people. After the colored elementary school burns down and the parents’ petition to integrate the local white school is shot down, black activist Bill Riddick (Babou Ceesay) comes to town to organize a charrette. The charrette allows people of different viewpoints to discuss openly and in groups, and with C.P Ellis and Ann Atwater acting as co-chairs, discussions are bound to get interesting. The ensuing debate and imposing deadline lead to some surprising revelations that change the lives of Ann Atwater and C.P Ellis, as well as the lives of the people in Durham, forever. Directed and adapted by Robin Bissell (), The Best of Enemies (2019) is the true story about an unlikely friendship between two enemies

April 8, 2019

Shazam! (2019) --- "Sometimes You Need A Kid To Do A Superhero's Job."

Plot Summary
Billy Batson is a streetwise 14-year-old who can magically transform into the adult superhero Shazam simply by shouting out one word. His newfound powers soon get put to the test when he squares off against the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. (1)

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     Bill Batson (Asher Angel) is a 14 years old foster kid bouncing between homes, in search of his birth mother, when he gets placed in a foster home with Freddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) and a group of other kids. After defending Freddie against bullies and subsequently being chased into a subway station, where he gets transported to a different dimension. There a wizard (Djimon Hounsou) transfers his powers to Billy, giving him the ability to transform into his alter ego Shazam (Zachary Levi). While learning how to use his powers with the help of Freddie, a mad man (Mark Strong) is in control of the seven deadly sins and wanting to steal Shazam's power in order to take over the world. Can Shazam reach his full potential in time to save the world? Or better yet save the family he’s come to love?
     Directed by David F. Sanberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation) and written by Henry Gayden (Earth to Echo), Shazam! (2019) is a heartfelt, humorous, and action-packed addition to DC’s Extended Universe (DCEU). Director Sanberg utilizes strong direction with film by balancing humor and drama, some horror-tinged action sequences and light-heartedness. He sheds some light into a bleak world but doesn’t underplay the action, allowing the audience to laugh when necessary and sometimes feel the blows delivered to the protagonist. In a nutshell, the film doesn’t try to be spectacular but rather lies low and only tries to do what it set out to achieve.
     The cast performances are great. Zachary Levi (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) is perfect for the role of Shazam, while Asher Angel (Andi Mack) and Jack Dylan Grazer (IT, Beautiful Boy) did good and played off of each other well. Mark Strong was good as the villain, he was appropriately menacing enough for the role. Also, Djimon Hounsou (Captain Marvel) was a nice surprise as the older Shazam.

     Overall, Shazam! (2019) is a great superhero film with a heartfelt story, plenty of humor, horror-tinged action sequences, and a fun cast of characters. Surprisingly DC has made another entertaining film that I highly recommend that you see. It’s a film that the whole family will love.

Final Vote --- 8 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar
Aquaman (2018)
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
The Flash (TBA)
Justice League Part 1 (2017)
Justice League Part 2 (TBA)
Man of Steel (2013)
Man of Steel 2 (TBA)
Suicide Squad (2016)
Wonder Woman (2017)
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

April 5, 2019

Dumbo (2019) --- "This Beloved Tale Will Take You To New Heights."

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     Directed by Tim Burton (Beetlejuice 2), written by Ehren Kruger (Ghost in the Shell), and based on the novel by Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl, Dumbo (2019) is the latest Disney remake of 2019 and is inspired by the 1941 animation. Max Medici (Danny DeVito) owner of the Medici Brothers Circus, is struggling through tough times and big budget cuts that are running his business into the ground. When former circus star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) returns from fighting in WW1, Max enlists him and his children, Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins), to take care of the newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him the laughing stock of the already struggling circus. When Holt’s children discover that Dumbo can use his oversized ears to fly, he soon becomes the main attraction, bringing in huge audiences and revitalizing the run-down circus. However, Dumbo’s magical ears also prove to attract the attention of the evil silver-tongued entrepreneur, V.A Vandervere (Michael Keaton) who offers to save the circus in exchange for allowing Dumbo to be the star of his amusement park.  Things seem to be changing for the better but when Dumbo and his friends discover dark secrets hiding beneath the shiny veneer can they put a stop to it before it’s too late? Or will their promise to Dumbo be broken?

April 4, 2019

Dumbo (1941) --- "The One...The Only...The FABULOUS..."

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            Directed and written by a slew of filmmakers and based of the children’s story by Helen Aberson, Dumbo (1941) tells the unforgettable tale about a young circus elephant who flies above the ridicule and soars towards his full potential. Mrs. Jumbo is a veteran circus elephant who longs for a baby of her own when one day the stork finally delivers a most cumbersome package. However, her beloved baby elephant soon becomes the laughing stock of the herd and the circus due to his more than jumbo size ears and as such is named Dumbo. Soon the taunted Dumbo finds himself all alone, after his mother gets locked up for being a “mad elephant,” and is now being relegated to the circus’ clown acts. It is now up to his only friend, a mouse, to help Dumbo learn how to be brave and to reach his full potential. Can Dumbo do this without his mother? Will they ever be reunited again? Watch the film to find out.

April 1, 2019

Wonder Park (2019) --- "Go On The Ride."

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    June (Sofia Mali / Brianna Denski) is an optimistic, creative,  and wildly imaginative girl who invents an imaginary amusement park called Wonderland with her mother (Jennifer Garner). However, when her mother gets sick from a mysterious illness, June feels scared and alone causing her to put away her toys and abandon Wonderland. After running away from summer camp to get back home, June stumbles across an amusement park hidden in the woods and soon discovers that its the Wonderland from her imagination. But now the park is in shambles and under attack from the darkness and its army of chimpan-zombies, so it's up to June and her old pals to save the park and bring back the wonder in Wonderland. Written by Josh Appelbaum (G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant) and André Nemec (G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant), Wonder Park (2019) is a touching film that goes on a magical adventure filled with humor action, and a message about the power of love and imagination.