Category Archives: Reviews

The Hot Rock

This year’s films saved the best for last: “Uncut Gems” is one of those gritty character dramas that suck you into its world of addiction and the desperate hustle for one big score.

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Wiseguy’s Last Waltz

Thanks to our fascination with mob stories, Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” is a film that actually gets better as it goes along. Based on Charles Brandt’s book “I Heard You Paint Houses” recounting the experiences of hitman Frank Sheeran (Robert DeNiro), the yarn yields a sizeable knot- Sheeran may know what happened when Hoffa disappeared in 1975. Was Sheeran involved? Finding out is the hook that grabs you.

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A Cut Above

Like a good jazz riff, “Knives Out” is director Rian Johnson (“Looper,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) taking the conventional trappings of an all-star whodunit and twisting them into an engaging cat-and-mouse thriller with a subtle social commentary.

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The Good, the Bad & the Arnold

“Terminator: Dark Fate” is a mixed bag for ‘Terminator’ franchise fans. While it refashions the same storyline with neat tweaks and big blowout action scenes, it can’t stop itself from steering toward an overly familiar, overly long, over-the-top finale.

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The devil went down to Georgetown

There’s one movie I find myself watching every Halloween. For me, it’s a movie that strikes all the right chords in its blend of horror, creepiness, and scares. It features a smart, compelling story, actors I like who are given clever, humorous dialogue with obscure references to recite, film direction filled with creepy cutaways and insane imagery, and, in my mind, the granddaddy of all movie monsters. It’s one of the most overlooked and underrated horror movies ever made; a movie easily passed off as just another cheesy sequel- but it’s the real deal, a genuine continuation of arguably the scariest movie ever made. Written and directed by the man who created the original “Exorcist,” it’s William Peter Blatty’s 1990 film, “Exorcist III.”

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Laughing the Loudest

Comic book fans may feel like the joke is on them watching “Joker” but what the movie lacks in substance, it makes up for in style.

 As the origin story for Batman’s arch nemesis, “Joker” immediately takes you out of fantasy and into gritty reality with a character study of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix).

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At ‘It’ Again

The scariest part of “It: Chapter Two” may be its almost 3 hour running time, but the movie spreads its story out among its six protagonists well enough to keep you in the clutches of Pennywise the Clown and not the Sandman.

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Netflix Notables

On Netflix before August ends, you can celebrate Alfred Hitchcock’s 120th birthday by watching one of his best films. Easily his most entertaining and accessible movie, “Strangers on a Train” speeds along like a powerful locomotive. If you’ve ever wondered why Hitchcock is so revered as an influential filmmaker, some of the shots and sequences in “Strangers” will answer that for you.

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Tinseltown Time Warp

Aided by a great cast, Quentin Tarantino steps back in time to 1969 with “Once Upon a Time …in Hollywood” and the result is a purposely fractured fairy tale that has all of the director’s trademark fun.

 Blending fact and fiction, Tarantino sets his L.A. story around Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), a ‘fictitious’ once-popular TV actor who watches his ‘based on real’ neighbor Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) experience the film success he so desperately seeks. Showcasing Hollywood’s fickleness for celebrity, Tarantino gives us both sides: Rick’s desperation in seeing his own star fall while witnessing Sharon’s joy as her star rises.

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Rubber Soul

The litmus test for whether you’ll like this year’s reimagining of Tom Holland’s 1988 film “Child’s Play” and its murderous doll-star Chucky is a simple one: man or machine. In the original film, a human possessed Chucky; now, Chucky’s a robot.  Personally, I’ll take a soul over sensors any day.

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