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3 Stars Movies

Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)

The key ingredient that made 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok one of the MCU’s most entertaining entries was it’s director Taika Waititi. The first two Thor films (mainly the second one) should almost be embarrassed when compared to the third, because the character was given a big injection of the unique semi-quirky humor that Waititi is known for.

 Five years (and one Infinity War) later, the director has returned with Thor: Love and Thunder. It has the director’s touch, but it is lacking some of his magic.

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3 Stars

Elvis (2022)

Weirdly, I can’t remember the first time I heard of Elvis, but I do remember the first time I recognized him. It was when a young Forrest Gump recognized him on TV after meeting “the King” earlier on in life. Needless to say, of course I have always been a fan of him.

This just goes to show that Elvis, one of the top five or so most popular entertainers in American history, is almost as embedded into that history as Washington or Lincoln. A truly larger than life stage presence indeed would deserve a biographical film of that caliber. Enter director Baz Luhrmann, and you get Elvis.

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3 Stars Movies

Lightyear (2022)

Right from the get go, we see in the opening credits that Lightyear is not at all related to the semi-kooky but lovable Buzz we have seen grow since we first met him over a quarter century ago. Instead, it is the movie that would become the favorite of young Andy back in 1995 (when the original Toy Story was released.) 

Well, I knew I was not likely to get any call backs to Buzz being called “Mrs. Nesbit”(“DO YOU SEE THE HAT?”), but oh well. A framing device is a framing device.

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3 Stars

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022)

Admittedly, I most likely was too kind to Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald when I gave it just two and a half out of five.

I realized this when, about ten minutes into Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, I struggled immensely to remember what actually happened in the previous film (apparently Zoè Kravitz was in the film). Thankfully, I remembered just enough to understand what was happening on screen.

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3 Stars

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)

Being born in the late 80s, the only real chance I had at watching a Ghostbusters film was the female remake back in 2016. Since I missed out on that one, Ghostbusters: Afterlife ended up being the first of the franchise that I’ve seen on the big screen.

Another reality set in as I was watching the franchise’s latest entry: we may be in a world now where audiences care more for fan service than plot. That is not to say the story of this film is not intriguing or confusing, but that telling a story is taking a back seat to fan service.

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3 Stars Movies

Cry Macho (2021)

This truly seems like uncharted territory. I mean, when was the last time you saw a movie where a nonagenarian directs themselves in the lead role?

While I admit to not seeing all of his films (both in front of and behind the camera), I have seen more than enough to know that Clint Eastwood has long since made his mark not only as cinematic legend, but an American relic. Regardless of what age he is in the movies, he still plays the no-nonsense, hard lined tough guy as good as anyone ever has. No one else ever looked more terrifying when holding a gun.

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3 Stars

Respect (2021)

Toward the end of 2010, Rolling Stone released a list of the top 100 vocalists of all time. I remember at the time being a bit shocked that Elvis was not at the top of the list (he was 3). When I saw that #1 was Aretha Franklin, I thought to myself “Oh, well, okay. That makes sense.”

People who think Aretha was not a good singer are people who most likely do not exist, or at least people I have not met or heard of. Right from the beginning of Respect, we know she is being told at a young age that her voice is a gift from God. The movie is clear in telling us this, but not entirely in giving us much more.

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3 Stars Movies

Black Widow (2021)

Even with the COVID pandemic pushing back the release date of Black Widow (and a host of other films), the newest Marvel film indeed seems to be arriving rather late.

Perhaps those who have never seen a film from the MCU won’t feel that way, but for the rest of us, it is inevitable (pardon my Thanos plug there) to feel this film should have come out before the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), where Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johanson) dies. That fact still hovers over the second female lead film of the MCU (after 2019’s Captain Marvel), leading us to feel like those behind the scenes may have screwed up.

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3 Stars Movies

Mortal Kombat (2021)

My love for cinema truly became apparent to me in my early teen years, but my love of the Mortal Kombat video games started at the age of five.

I remember with perfect accuracy my parents’ hesitancy to get the game for my older brother Adam and I, but they eventually gave in to our wishes (provided we got along). The following years resulted in many hours playing MK 1-4 with friends (most notably my best friend Greg) on button mashing, face punching, gut kicking, head decapitating, limb ripping, organ exploding bliss. That is not to mention the 1995 original film (with a theme song that never grows old) that still delights today, despite a sequel that proved to be one of the worst films mankind has ever known.

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3 Stars Movies

The New Mutants (2020)

A lot of slack should be given to The New Mutants.

While a film’s release date getting pushed back would most likely be due to the film being overall bad, this film has its released date pushed back for a number reasons.