Today:  09/25/2021

Review: 'Batwoman' starts over and delivers on a promising season

Posted September 22,2021 - 05:03 PM


Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this news story. The opinions I share are my own.

If there's another recent show that has faced as much turmoil between its first and season seasons as Batwoman, I can't immediately think of any. Not only was the show facing a bit of backlash for the sexual preference of its protagonist, but lead Ruby Rose pulled out of the series right before the start of filming of Season Two.

With mere weeks before filming commenced, the showrunners and writers were left to pick up the pieces of their best-laid plans and come up with a feasible band-aid. To come up with anything but a complete cluster would be considered a miracle and somehow, they made it work.

It helped that relative unknown Javicia Leslie...

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Review: 'Lady of the Manor' will tickle your funny bone

Posted September 21,2021 - 05:03 PM


To be, or not to be... a film critic? That is the question.

Beware the ides of RottenTomatoes on this one as predictably the majority of film critics take the opportunity to pile on anything that isn't high brow or perceived as beneath them. I'll save you a trip, they didn't like Lady of the Manor that much.

But don't let that put a damper on your hopes for Lady of the Manor because as is often the case, the disparity of opinion between the "experts" and "regular joes and janes" is quite telling. As someone who reviews somewhere north of a hundred films a year myself, I grapple with my place on the spectrum. Am I a critic? Or just an average person who loves all kinds of movies and likes to share what I feel about them?

Are these two things mutually exclusive or can you both be...

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Review: 'Black Widow' is a beautiful bridge between the MCU's past and future

Posted September 14,2021 - 05:58 PM

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Say what you will about Scarlett Johansson and her ongoing legal situation with Disney, but her portrayal of Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow is one of the anchors of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Not only does she ground the action with her lack of traditional superpowers, but she's able to sew the fabric of catharsis that runs through the Avengers films.

Her selfless sacrifice in Endgame is one that had been building over the course of the entire saga, and yet, it felt as though her past was intentionally vague. It was spoken about with reverence and awe, but never in specifics.

With Black Widow, we are finally given the opportunity to revisit her past and see the makings of the woman who would eventually save us all with her sacrifice.

In Marvel Studios' action-packed spy...

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Review: 'Boss Baby: Family Business' is a hit for the whole family

Posted September 14,2021 - 05:12 PM

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In our family, finding a movie that we can all agree on to watch is akin to finding a stash of gold. It's priceless.

My kids (10 and 8) are also getting to that age where they are increasingly getting into their own things and the idea of sitting around and watching a movie with their old parents is no longer that exciting. Enter The Boss Baby: Family Business.

When the original film came out, my kids were at the perfect age to enjoy this underrated gem of a family film. So, I was a bit concerned that they had outgrown the series when Family Business came along, but I couldn't be more wrong.

The story actually seemed to both grow in scope and yet still maintain that level of playfulness that makes animated films such a hit with families of all sizes. In other words, my kids loved it...

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Review: Bella Thorne finds religion and drugs in 'Habit'

Posted September 02,2021 - 04:13 PM


Bella Thorne has been many things in her life, but I never thought I'd add drug-addled, fornicating nun to her resumà when she was the belle of the ball on the Disney channel. It's funny how life changes in a decade.

It's no secret that Bella has been actively trying to shed her Disney "good-girl" image since she departed the network in 2014. This isn't a new trend as plenty of "Mouseketeers" have struggled with finding an adult identity after so many years of being marketed to the toddler set.

But, I would argue that no one has been more aggressive than Bella in trying to make this departure as quick and as permanent as possible. If there were any questions about her career trajectory now, Habit effectively drives the proverbial nail in the coffin of a possible return to the...

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Review: Bigger isn't always better with 'Occupation: Rainfall'

Posted August 27,2021 - 04:23 PM


About ten minutes into this review, I was overwhelmed by a strong case of deja vu. I felt like I had seen this movie before.

A few keystrokes later with the help of my best friend Google and I had the answer. Occupation: Rainfall is a direct sequel to the 2018 film Occupation from the same writer/director. I vaguely remember liking the original movie for its earnest depiction of an alien invasion, despite a ridiculously small budget.

Sometimes less is more.

The filmmakers were rewarded for their efforts with a significantly larger budget in the neighborhood of $25 million for Occupation: Rainfall. Unfortunately, after watching the second film, it seems that much of the heart and story that was showcased in the original movie was eschewed in favor of better special effects and louder...

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Review: 'Finding You' plays it safe

Posted August 26,2021 - 03:45 PM

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It's no secret that I have a bit of a disdain for sappy, chaste teen Rom-Coms. Don't get me wrong, if done well, something like 10 Things I Hate About You is great and timeless.

Unfortunately, more often than not, these paint-by-numbers movies are derivative and bland. Finding You is quite this bad, but it certainly plays in the clichÃs of the Rom-Coms that came before it.

And yet, there's enough magic in the film to make this an interesting watch and something that will certainly be a hit in the tween/teen demo.

Based on the young-adult novel, There You'll Find Me, Finding You follows Finley Sinclair who botches her violin audition for an elite New York conservatory. Seeking answers and a renewed purpose in life, Finley opts to study abroad in a quaint Irish coastal village....

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Review: Nickelodeon doubles down on 'Are You Afraid of the Dark?'

Posted August 25,2021 - 02:05 PM

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I was initially skeptical of the idea of resurrecting the original Are You Afraid of the Dark? series, but it turns out that my skepticism was misplaced for Are You Afraid of the Dark? After watching the original reboot last year I "thoroughly enjoyed" the "darker atmosphere" of the reboot compared to the originals.

Normally, I'm pretty opposed to remakes or reboots or re-whatever the popular term is these days for regurgitating old content simply to capitalize on the passing of time, but I was wrong last time. Would the second reboot season of Are You Afraid Of The Dark? pass muster?

In a word, yes. In other words, Nickelodeon did something that I didn't think was possible for their network. They took a darker reboot and made it even darker with more scares. The Curse of the Shadows...

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Review: 'Jurassic Hunt' misses its mark

Posted August 25,2021 - 01:23 PM

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Director Hank Braxtan has sort of whittled out a bit of niche in the land of B movies. He's not afraid to bring outrageous CG animals to life on the little screen. More often than not, his work is very watchable as far as B movies go.

Sadly, Jurassic Hunt is not one of those movies.

Starting with a genetically enhanced polar bear in Unnatural, Braxton moved on to snakes and dragons before settling in on dinosaurs for his latest effort. The low-budget techniques and CG worked well for him in his earlier movies, but the stakes are bigger this time. Unfortunately, these techniques run up against the ceiling of their effectiveness and the result is a film that borders on unwatchable at times.

A female adventurer joins a crew of male trophy hunters in a remote wilderness park under the...

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Review: 'The Fatal Raid' pays homage to its past

Posted August 24,2021 - 11:26 AM

Fatal raid

If you're a fan of Quentin Tarantino, then you've most assuredly heard of the wildly successful Hong Kong sub-genre of films loosely held together by the "Girls with Guns" moniker. Think his recurring "Fox Force Five" theme that saw its ultimate fruition come in his Kill Bill films.

Basically, the Hong Kong "Girls with Guns" films were female exploitation films that stopped short of being sexploitation offerings but nonetheless capitalized on the rather novel concept of women headlining action films that persisted in the late 1980s and 1990s. Today, the idea of a female protagonist in a bloody action film is less taboo than it was back then, but we still see countless more John Wicks out there than we see Atomic Blondes, but I digress.

The Fatal Raid is both an homage to these very...

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