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Hamilton and Schwarzenegger have undeniable chemistry in Terminator: Dark Fate (review)

I was excited to watch Terminator: Dark Fate. I’m a fan of the series, even the ones that are not so critically acclaimed. When Linda Hamilton and James Cameron announced they were joining the project, my expectations for this movie soared. So what are my thoughts after seeing the movie?

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Dolemite Is My Name (review)

[This review was contributed by (AF).]

Eddie Murphy stars in the origin story for the 1975 blaxploitation (or blacksploitation) movie called Dolemite. After several failed attempts to break into the entertainment industry, record store manager Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) tries comedy but faces more rejection from his boss and friends.

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List: 5 Chilling Horror Films

There are so many horror films available. Most of them could probably give me and many others nightmares or cause to keep out feet under the covers at night. That’s the aim of a horror film after all. In this list, I thought about all of the movies that creeped me out the most because they occurred while the characters were just living their unassuming lives. With that in mind, take a look at some picks of the most spine-chilling horror movies.

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Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (review)

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil was an enjoyable movie to watch. It continued the trend that the first Maleficent movie set up. It continued to rely on the concept that because she is a dark Fae and different from humans, she is evil. However, just like in the first movie, she was only misunderstood.

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Late Night and workplace diversity (Amazon Prime Video)

[This review was contributed by (AF).]

Produced by Film Nation Entertainment and theatrically released in June 2019, Amazon Prime acquired and streams the comedy-drama, Late Night. The premise initially deals with legendary host Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) being forced to revitalize her dying talk show or be replaced with younger relevant talent.

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Gemini Man (review)

Henry is retiring after 72 assassinations. He was working for the government as an assassin after years in the armed forces. On the day of his retirement, he is contracted to terminate an assumed terrorist. Unfortunately for Henry, the target was a biologist that worked with the Gemini program.

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Furie (2019) – Hai Phuong (Review)

[This review was contributed by (AF).]

Furie is a powerful, emotional and action-packed film that is nominated for Best International Picture for the 92nd Academy Awards. It features Vovinam (a Vietnam style of martial arts) and highlights the growing epidemic of human and child trafficking set in Vietnam.

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Joker (2019) is mind-bending (review)

I finally had the opportunity to watch Joker this week and was quite unnerved by the time the credits rolled. Before you watch this film, you may think it’s just an origin story of how the Joker came to be Batman’s greatest nemesis, but it’s far from that.

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47 Meters Down: Uncaged (Review)

[This review was contributed by (AF).]

Following the (2017) 47 Meters Down theatrical release, the sequel, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged centers around four high school girls that take an adventure into the underwater Mayan City burial site in Mexico. Through some missteps and bad choices, they soon find themselves being hunted by great white sharks that have adapted to their cave-like surroundings. 

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Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans (review)

This movie was enjoyable for multiple reasons. Most specifically because it poked so much fun at the generation of kids that got pissed when Teen Titans went off-air in 2006 and eventually were replaced by Teen Titans Go! in 2013.

But I have to admit I felt silly when I realized the same actors are voice acting for both versions of the characters in both Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go! That made me laugh.

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Sextuplets: Satire & Stereotypes (Netflix)

[This review was contributed by (AF).]

From the director of The Haunted House franchise, Fifty Shades of Black and most recently Naked, Michael Tiddes teams up with Marlon Waynes again for the Netflix comedy, Sextuplets.

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Rambo: Last Blood is a pure revenge story (review)

Here is a lesson for all children.

Usually when your parents tell you not to do something, and you have no reason to believe they would try to hurt you, it is because it’s a bad idea.

Rambo: Last Blood started calmly enough. John Rambo seemed like he had retired on his dad’s farm near the Mexico border. He lived there with his close friend Maria and her granddaughter Gabriela. Both were very dear to his heart and he considered them family.

John managed his PTSD by taking medication to “keep a lid” on his issues as he told his niece, Gabriella. Though he still built himself tunnels under the farm grounds and that is where he stayed.

Unfortunately, Gabriela wanted to find her abusive father after she graduated high school and against Maria and John’s advice, she traveled to Mexico to see him after one of her friends found out where he lived.

I’ll say this. Her friend was shifty from the moment we saw her. She was clearly not as naive as Gabriela. And when Gabriela was pretty disowned (again) by her father instead of going back to her friend’s house, the opted to go to a club. It may not have been a setup, but it might as well have been because Gabriela had no business being there.

That’s when Gabriela was drugged and abducted by the cartel.

Very sad.

I screamed at the movie screen, “Rambo I need your spidey sense to go off!” But it didn’t go off fast enough. However, word got back to Maria. She then told John and then he drove to Mexico to retrieve his niece.

He stopped taking his meds, almost smacked up her “friend”, and tracked down the cartel member responsible for selling off his niece. This gives you an idea of the headspace he was in.

Rambo: Last Blood is not easy on the mind. It’s not a feel-good heroic story. It’s sad and horrifying. When John’s niece is finally rescued she dies because of a bunch of reasons. I’m pretty sure it was mostly because they kept drugging her.

Rambo does not save the day. Rambo: Last Blood is a pure revenge story.

In the final act of the movie, Rambo goes after Gabriela’s captures and leads them back to the tunnels he’s had prepared for years under his farm. We get an intense preparation montage and then it’s on when the cartel comes to his doorsteps to avenge their fallen.

From the time they arrive on the farm, it is non-stop action. This part of the movie was amazing. Shotguns, claymores, grenades, secret passageways, and John was surgical with the shotgun. The fact that he played his own soundtrack to throw the enemies off and get them frazzled in the tunnels made Rambo feel like the iconic character that we know him as.

And finally, Rambo gets 1 on 1 with the person who ordered the demise of his niece. He tells him that he is going to gonna rip his heart out and then he actually does it! Man, what a scene!

The whole third act was nonstop impact action and excitement that keeps you looking at the screen without blinking. I am confused about if Rambo is dead or not due to injuries he sustained at the end of the movie, but either way, this is one of the best of the franchise.

Hustlers (2019) is a girls night film (review)

This movie is hilarious. I know it’s based on a true story and these are people’s lives, however, the way the characters are portrayed made me laugh out loud a lot during this movie. At least for the first act.

Jennifer Lopez as Ramona is charming and larger than life. I know she’s supposed to be acting, but the entire time she was on the screen I keep saying, “Look at JLO”. It wasn’t until the mean and stubborn side of the Ramona character came to the front that her character was slightly unlikeable.

The Dorthy/Destiny character was very naive and I kept feeling like her face was so familiar, but I could figure it out. I did hate her hair the entire movie, but that’s semantics.

Keke Palmer didn’t have much screen time, but she made a lasting impression during the moments where she was on the screen. This includes when they were dropping an unconscious mark off to the emergency room, but she did not want to go into the hospital. Her reaction was priceless. Her character would rather run home in a denim bathing suit, than wait to be driven home after taking the man into the hospital. This was one of the most memorable moments of the movie.

Also, Cardi B wasn’t in the movie very long, but I appreciated her scenes.

The unlikeable feelings that were forming about the Ramona character (due to Dorthy’s recount of how things went sour) ended up going away by the end of the movie because we find out that Ramona really wasn’t using Dorthy and she was truly her friend. The group just so happened to get caught up due to bad staffing decisions. Or at least that’s how the movie portrayed it.

By the way, I’m pretty sure some of the scene’s from the trailer did not make it into the final cut. That’s just an observation.

Hustlers is a girl’s night movie. Grab your friends and go have a good time. The film isn’t very long and I was expecting there to be more salacious material, but because there wasn’t, I believe the movie was more enjoyable.

Ready or Not (2019) – review

[This review was contributed by (AF).]

With the cinematic flavor of Happy Death Day or The Purge franchise, Ready Or Night centers around a young couple that just married participating in a deadly family initiation, or more so the bride is being hunted by her in laws. The wealthy Le Domas family gained their fortune through distributing board games. They have a family tradition set two generations back of playing a game for new additions to the family. This could be as harmless as a game of chess, go fish, or hide and seek.  

For this dark comedy, co-directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett visually set the screen with a luxurious but vintage mansion, rich with wood paneling, hidden compartments, candles and the occasional stuffed animal. The audience is quickly introduced to the bride, Grace. She is played by Samantha Weaving and her husband is Alex Le Domas, played by Mark O’Brien.

In search of a real family dynamic, Grace marries Alex but the price of admission is steep. The story reduces our heroine to a pure survivalist, as she makes a valiant effort to endure her crazy In-Laws.

Viewers won’t get bored exploring the hunting ground of the Le Domas estate as the audience is taken to all corners of the area as Grace tried to escape the grounds.

The supporting cast has a descent line-up, but the dialogue severely handicapped the acting potential. Some of the dialogue had limited but derogatory language. Regardless, Weaver pulled off a great performance by conveying determination and feelings of betrayal and anger while being pursued in the most vicious and gross ways by her new family.

Adam Brody (Daniel Le Domas), Alex’s brother deserves a shout out for displaying an emotional range that raised the bar story wise. Some actors interpreted their characters better than others but overall it was immersive.

Grace fought to the end, using tools and intuition, which I have to give credit to. This movie served as a huge metaphor. Ask yourself, would you give up if you were being dragged down? Not by machete wielding psychopaths, but in simpler terms. What if you wanted to achieve a goal, yet life kept throwing curve balls and disappointments?

Our heroine was bruised, bloody, and tired. Still she kept trying to survive. If anything that philosophy could be applied to our own lives, minus the ritual killing thing. With laugh out loud moments and jump scares this is a fun movie for large groups of friends to watch in the comfort of your own home.

IT: Chapter Two (2019) – review

Horror films are an acquired taste. Watching them offers a level of anxiety that I have to prepare for. Movies such as Sinister, Child’s Play (the 80’s version), and IT deal with supernatural hauntings and freak me out the most. 

Sitting down to watch a movie that aims to blatantly terrorize the unseen horrors that may or may not exist sucks. At least for me. Movies like IT creep me out so much that I had to send my friends to watch it before I would even think about sitting down and torturing myself. 

So I sucked it up and guess what. This movie is full of jump scares and creepy moments. Bill Skarsgård once again is the freakiest thing on the screen. The movie is very story-heavy, and you will be lost if you didn’t watch IT (2017). But the good news is, the almost 3 hours of run time was used well. 

The flashbacks in the movie were well placed. As someone who only watched IT (2017) once squinting through my hands, I appreciated the director’s thoughtfulness for the viewer. Some perspective is absolutely needed when watching this film and the flashbacks did that. Especially when you consider everyone watching this film may not have read the Stephen King book or the mini-series. The flashbacks do not make up for missing IT (2017), you’ll be lost, but like I mentioned the perspective helps.

The manifestation of childhood trauma and fears was used very well in this movie and the way that they turned that same manifestation on Pennywise in the end. 

Pennywise terrorized these children and used their fears against them when they were younger and technically they were still dealing with those effects as adults. Sure, they got away in the end on IT (2017) but IT: Chapter 2 (2019) brings them back to their hometown to face their fears once again. 

Luckily, through the power of positivity and a concept my dad likes to call “mind over matter”, these children (now adults) face their fears and banish the fear-eating spider-demon. 

All of the characters were heroes in this movie, but Mike is the one who stayed in his hometown and lived with his terrifying memories. His research leads to the Loser Club’s ability to defeat IT for good and allow everyone to get the closure they needed at the end of the movie. 

IT: Chapter 2 (2019) close to the IT saga. A very long but, epic saga that takes you on a journey with characters in peril. These characters were handicapped by the experiences of their childhood but gain redemption. I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t afraid while watching this film. I was. But, that’s just how I am with horror films. 

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