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3 1/2 Stars

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

It is feasible to believe that no other MCU film to date has had a bigger emotional mountain to climb than Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

The first film was such a mammoth success (financially, critically, and even Oscar wise) that a sequel was inevitable from the get go. Then, of course, tragedy struck when the world lost Chadwick Boseman in August of 2020, leaving the sequel in serious jeopardy. Also add in the fact that this would be the final film in Phase 4 of the MCU, and you can see why this film had a lot to accomplish. 

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1 1/2 Stars

Hocus Pocus 2 (2022)

Just under a year ago, I remember a hangout with some of my best friends. We decided to watch a movie in the backyard with the big screen. The movie chosen beforehand was Hocus Pocus, a movie familiar to many 90s children like myself. I had revisited the film at least once before as an adult, and was sadly underwhelmed, for the nostalgia did not hold up. Yet I care for my friends and wanted to have a good time, so I persisted.

As I looked back at Roger Ebert’s review of the original, he said it was “like attending a party you weren’t invited to, and where you don’t know anybody, and they’re all in on a joke but won’t explain it to you.” 

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1 Star Movies

Pinocchio (2022)

There is no way I can discuss the live action remake of Pinocchio without talking in depth about the 1940 animated masterpiece

Maybe I just can’t see past the end of my nose, but it is what it is.

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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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"Top Tens", and others

2022 Halftime Report

As of this writing, I have seen a little over twenty five movies, both in theaters and on streaming.

This time around for my looking back at the first half of the year, I will do so in a way that would make Michael Scott of The Office proud: a 2022 cinematic “Dundees” for the first half of 2022.

In no particular order…

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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 1/2 Stars

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

Like many a millennial, I grew associating filmmaker Sam Raimi with the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man Trilogy. While known to be a potent force in the arena of cinematic horror, I sadly have only seen one Sam Raimi horror film as of this writing, The Evil Dead (although one could make the argument Spider-Man 3 was actually a horror in other ways).

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4 Stars

Turning Red (2022)

What was particularly curious to me about Turning Red was not the subject matter of the film so much as when the film takes place.

Halfway thru, I finally discovered that the film’s director, Domee Shi (her full length feature debut), was born around the same time as the film’s protagonist. This makes the intimacy of Turning Red only more personal and profound.

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"Top Tens", and others Movies

The Top 20 of 2021

From The Little Things to The Tragedy of Macbeth (Denzel bookends), I rounded out my amount of movies seen at seventy.

Even with that amount of movies, there was a fair amount of films I did not get to in time (especially, sadly, Foreign Language films). These include The Last Duel, The Green Knight, The Card Counter, Drive my Car, The Worst Person in the World, Stillwater, and The Tender Bar.

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4 Stars

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

Part of me wants to go the coward’s way, and not even review Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Easily the most anticipated movie since Avengers: Endgame, I will do all I can to be sure not to spoil anything for anyone, provided they have at least seen the two trailers for the film (and while this may be too little too late, stay away from the movies IMDB page).