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4 Stars

Any Given Sunday (1999)

Unless I had some sort of personal connection associated with a certain game, my interest in football has mostly been minimal at best. That said, Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday has still held a unique place in my heart as a movie of certain first’s.

I remember seeing it in the theater at the ripe age of 12 with my dad, older brother, and grandpa. It was the first movie I would see for many of the actors (most notably Al Pacino), the first Oliver Stone movie, and (most of all), my first R rated movie in the theater. Looking back at the experience, what I remember most (aside from my dad essentially pay money for me to see a grown up movie which included swearing and sexuality) was the mood of down right intensity.

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5 Stars Movies

Licorice Pizza (2021)

While I admit to not seeing all of his films just yet, it does not take much to realize that director Paul Thomas Anderson is indeed what one could call an acquired taste. It is a lighter affair this time around for Licorice Pizza, but it does not at all make it less fascinating.

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5 Stars Movies

C’mon C’mon (2021)

After winning an Oscar for his performance in the titular role Joker, Joaquin Phoenix takes a big jump to the other side of the acting spectrum into subtle territory in C’mon C’mon.

Of course, that does not make his performance any less impressive.

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3 1/2 Stars

House of Gucci (2021)

It is a bit poetic that House of Gucci was released on Thanksgiving Weekend.

Like a big meal, House of Gucci will look appealing to many who may end up being surprised at the taste. It has parts that will be an acquired taste, while others will find it takes some time to digest.

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4 Stars Movies

Last Night in Soho (2021)

“Unusual movie” was what I heard from a fellow audience member at the end of the credits of Last Night in Soho, the latest film from Edgar Wright.

I responded something to the likes of “True, but that does not make it bad.”

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2 1/2 Stars Movies

Malignant (2021)

It seems that director James Wan is indeed who one should go to if you want to make a horror movie.

Admittedly, this is a director that, although talented, is not one I am familiar with. I have only seen three of his previous films (two of which, Mortal Kombat and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me do it, came out earlier this year), but am able to recognize his influence on 21st century horror films, thanks to movies like Saw (2004), Insidious (2010), and Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013).

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4 Stars Movies

The Suicide Squad (2021)

Even though it is the definite article used in all English language, I admit I did not think just adding “The” in a movie title could be a big improvement to a sequel.

Still, that change will help you remember which of the two Suicide Squad films is the superior one.

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2 Stars

Wrath of Man (2021)

I will give Guy Ritchie’s newest film this much: It is the first film I have seen in some time that revolves around the drivers of big bags of cash.

In heist films, the drivers are very much underappreciated (if not by their employers, then certainly the audience), so the Wrath of Man did have me a tad bit hopeful in that we may get a new type of action packed thriller. Sadly, that is not the case.

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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 1/2 Stars Movies

Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

IMDB may have the director of 2017’s Justice League as Zach Snyder, but that was far from his original film.

The origins of the “Snyder Cut” are now well known: When the film was being finished in early 2017, Snyder had to back out after the tragic suicide of his daughter, Autumn. Joss Whedon (who helmed the first two Avengers films for the MCU) stepped in, and the film was changed drastically. The film’s 4 hour run time was basically cut in half to two, the tone of the film was much lighter, and composer Thomas Holkenborg (better known as Junkie XL) was replaced by Danny Elfman.