I Am Wrath

What director Guy Ritchie’s “Wrath of Man” lacks in the humor of his previous crime films like “Snatch” or “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” he makes up for in an above-average throwback to one-man wrecking crew movies where a mysterious stranger appears and spells trouble for the bad guys who can’t quite make him out.

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2020: The Ones

With the Oscars being presented on Sunday, April 25th, I like to focus on the films and performances that I found most memorable. In keeping with the tradition of the late Siskel & Ebert’s “If We Picked the Winners,” here are my standouts for 2020 using the nominees in the main Academy Award categories. While others try to second-guess Oscar politics with who ‘should win’ or ‘will win,’ I like to keep it simple. In case you missed any of them, these are the films and performances I’ll remember- simply put, these are the ones:  

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The Wicker Man

As a comedic copy of “John Wick,” “Nobody” shouldn’t work as well as it does. But thanks to Bob Odenkirk’s deadpan humor and realistically violent action scenes, “Nobody” does for the male machismo action film what “Deadpool” did for the comic book movie genre.

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Murphy’s Law

After 30 years, you’d think the sequel to one of Eddie Murphy’s best and beloved comedies would get a fair shake. It doesn’t. “Coming 2 America” is a disappointing mix of rehashed jokes and missed opportunities.

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Revolutionary Road

Whether as a snapshot of a city under siege or a political thriller based on past events, “Judas and the Black Messiah” works best by condensing chronology to let its strong ensemble of actors bring the people they’re portraying to life.

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Limitless

 “Our Friend” is a movie that surprises. Within the trappings of its terminal illness storyline, it earns its emotions by focusing on a friendship without boundaries. Subtle and straightforward, “Our Friend’s” a refreshing reminder of what holds true value in life. 

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The Perfect Storm

As the two tempestuous leads in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman give Oscar-worthy performances.

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Body Snatchers

As a fun mash-up of “Scream” and “Groundhog Day,” writer/director Christopher Landon found success with 2017’s “Happy Death Day” by having a cynical character reliving her creatively-crafted murders until she identified her killer. With “Freaky,” Landon’s “Freaky Friday the 13th”mash-up, he doesn’t do as well: bland characters swap bodies and their race to reverse the curse is as familiar and uninspired as they are.

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Gotcha!

“Let Him Go” is a character-driven drama that caters to a very specific niche market. If you have a fondness for melodramas that carry a sense of dread until it explodes in surprising and unexpected ways, then “Let Him Go” won’t disappoint.

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The Imitation Game

Well-crafted yet clichéd, “Come Play” is a horror movie that begs you to play a scene-by-scene game: can you name each film it’s copying? While it’s a credit to director Jacob Chase that he doesn’t bore you employing inherent haunts, “Come Play” still comes across as a monster movie Mad Libs.

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