Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter (2014)

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We’ve all seen movies that advertise themselves as “based on a true story.” But what happens when someone actually believes that claim? Kumiko, a friendless, unmarried office worker in Tokyo, has convinced herself that the Coen Brothers film Fargo, wherein a criminal buries a suitcase full of money in the North Dakota snow, is real. So much so that she steals her boss’s credit card, abandons her apartment and pet rabbit, and journeys to the US to find the “treasure.” She barely speaks English, and has no real plan of how to find the fictional loot. But she’s determined, and won’t let anything, be it the cold, or the fact that the treasure isn’t real, stop her. What will happen? Watch the movie to find out. Continue reading

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Avatar (To Infinity Retrospective)

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Welcome, brothers and sisters, to the To Infinity Retrospective, a series I created in preparation for Rise Of Skywalker. On the first day of each month, I review a different space opera. Why, you ask? Simple. I do it to send the sky people a message. I do it to tell them that they can’t take whatever they want, that they can be stopped, and that this, this is our land! And what better way to convey that message than through a review of this month’s film, Avatar. What’s it about? Well…
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In A New York Minute (2019)

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A food critic, struggling with bulimia, and parental pressure to get married. An actress, seeking escape from a loveless marriage through an affair. A prostitute, attempting to leave the life behind, only to be consistently pulled back by her step-mother. Three women. Three separate lives, all of which become intertwined in ways that they don’t initially realize. How so? Watch the movie and find out. Continue reading

Plus One (2019)

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To survive a summer jam-packed with weddings, including those of their father and sister respectively, single friends Ben and Alice agree to be each other’s “Plus One” at every event. But what happens when spending so much time together causes them to fall in love?  Continue reading

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

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16 years after an awkward falling out, childhood sweethearts Sasha and Marcus find themselves in vastly different socio-economic situations. While Sasha has become a celebrity chef, opening a chain of successful Asian fusion restaurants, Marcus has stayed in his childhood home and done next to nothing to promote his band, despite them being quite good. So what happens when they meet each other again? Watch the movie and find out. Continue reading

Titan A.E. (To Infinity Retrospective)

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Yo yo! What up, my peeps? Welcome back to the Too Infinity Retrospective, a series I created in preparation for Rise Of Skywalker. Each month, I, like, totally review a different space opera. And this month, we’re going back to the year 2000, the raddest time ever, ya’ll, and taking a look at Titan A.E. What’s it about? Well… Continue reading

Brightburn (2019)

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Tori and Kyle have long dreamt of being parents. But, try as they might, they’ve never been able to conceive. Then one night, a ship crash-lands in the woods behind their farm, and they discover a baby inside. Believing this to be a gift from above, the couple adopts the child and name him Brandon. All seems well, until Brandon hits puberty, and starts to exhibit superhuman abilities, including flight, strength, invulnerability, and heat vision. More disturbing than that, though, Brandon starts behaving violently, killing their chickens, breaking a classmates hand, and, eventually, just hurting anyone who displeases him. Tori and Kyle do their best to rein him in, but it might be too late, as Brandon now views himself as a predator and the whole world as his prey. Continue reading

High Life (2019)

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In the future, death-row inmates are given the choice of either rotting in jail, or going up into space and participating in an experiment. One prisoner (Robert Pattinson) chooses the latter and is put on board a ship with a psychopathic doctor (Juliette Binoche), who is obsessed with creating a child through artificial insemination. It’s never revealed why she wants to do this since it’s never explicitly stated that humans can’t have children the old-fashioned way, but whatever. Sexual contact between the passengers is prohibited, which, as one might expect, drives certain people crazy. So crazy that, eventually, they start killing each other. In the end, Pattinson and his daughter, who was created by Binoche through very questionable means, are left alone on the shuttle, drifting through space. And… yeah. That’s it. Continue reading

John Wick: Chapter 3 (2019)

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Picking up precisely where the last film left off, John Wick: Chapter 3 sees our stoic, dog-loving hit-man on the run from, well, everyone. He broke the rules of the assassins guild, and he now has a massive price on his head. But he’s not out of options. He does have some allies, including the director of a special ballet academy (Anjelica Huston), who grants him safe passage to Morocco. Once there, John seeks out the assistance of Sofia (Halle Berry), a woman whose daughter he saved years ago, and who knows the location of “The Elder,” the leader of the assassins guild who can hopefully remove the price from his head. But before he can get there, he’s going to have to shoot, stab, and even book, yes, book, hundreds of people to death. And, in the end, will it be worth it? Watch the movie to find out. Continue reading

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu (2019)

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When his father goes missing and is presumed dead, former Pokemon trainer Sam journeys to Rhyme City, a high-tech utopia where humans and the multi-colored, super-powered animals live in harmony. There, while searching through his dad’s apartment, he encounters a Pikachu, who, shockingly, can speak English. Pikachu claims to have known Sam’s father and says that the man is not, in fact, dead. Realizing that there may be a chance to save his dad, Sam teams up with the talking, lightning-tailed mouse, and sets off to unravel the mystery of his father’s disappearance. Continue reading

Shadow (2019)

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Set during the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history, Shadow tells the story of Ziyu, an ambitious but feeble lord who, in an attempt to conquer a walled city, hatches a scheme involving his wife, Xiao Ai, his body double, Jingzhou, and lots and lots of umbrellas. And if that sounds vague, it’s only because the actual plot is so convoluted that it’s not worth trying to explain. However, that does not mean that you shouldn’t seek out this film if it’s playing at a theater near you. Continue reading

Brightburn, And The Troubling Trend Of “Evil Superman” Stories

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So, in case you guys haven’t seen the trailer for Brightburn, the upcoming James Gunn sci-fi/horror flick, here’s the rundownIt’s basically “evil Superman.” No, they never say the name Superman in the trailer. But the story is about a little boy who lands on Earth, is raised by a kindly couple in the countryside, exhibits powers as he grows up, and wears a red cape. Except here, he kills people instead of saving them. Continue reading

The Fifth Element (To Infinity Retrospective)

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HEY! HI! HOW’S IT GOING? WELCOME TO THE TO INFINITY RETROSPECTIVE, A SERIES I CREATED IN PREPARATION FOR STAR WARS 9. WHICH WE NOW KNOW IS CALLED “RISE OF SKYWALKER.” ANYWAY, ON THE FIRST DAY OF EACH MONTH, I REVIEW A DIFFERENT SPACE OPERA, AND, THIS MONTH, WE’LL BE LOOKING AT THE FIFTH ELEMENT, A WACKY, WILD AND WEIRD OFFERING FROM 1997. What’s it about? Well… Continue reading

Stray (2019)

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When a woman is found burned to death in a warehouse, the police think they’ve got a cut and dry arson case. Except there are two problems with that theory. One, there’s no evidence of a fire being lit. And two, an autopsy reveals that the victim, a Miss Kyoko Oshiro, wasn’t burned to death. She was petrified. And how can a woman who was alive and kicking the previous night, according to her daughter Nori, have been dead for thousands of years? This leads Detective Murphy, an officer struggling with the fallout from her own daughter’s death, to investigate the Oshiro family, and, in so doing, uncover some remarkable, seemingly fantastical things about them. What things? Watch the movie and find out. Continue reading

The Perfect Date (2019)

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When a friend offers to pay him to take his cousin to homecoming, ambitious high schooler Brooks Rattigan gets an idea. What if he set up an app where girls who need escorts would hire him to be their “perfect date?” Not in the sense that he’d be having sex with them, seeing as that’s super illegal, but in the sense that they can tell him on the app how they want him to dress and behave. Brooks figures that if he makes enough money being a “stand-in” he can afford to pay for Yale, his dream college. But what happens when he winds up falling for one of his clients? Watch the movie and find out. Continue reading

Shazam! (2019)

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Everyone dreams of being a superhero. But what does it take to actually become one? Well, in the case of Billy Batson, a 14-year-old foster kid looking for his mom, all it takes is uttering a single word: Shazam! Doing so transforms him into a grown man, with flight, super strength, hyper speed, and the ability to shoot lightning from his fingers. And yet this grown-up version of Billy retains his childlike mind, so, naturally, he does all the things a teenager with superpowers would actually do. Namely, show off for girls and make money. But he’ll have to grow up fast because there’s a villain on the loose, and he’s looking to take Billy’s powers, and use them for things far less innocent and fun. Can Billy and his foster family stop him in time? Watch the movie to find out. Continue reading

Starship Troopers (To Infinity Retrospective)

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starship troopers - cinema quad movie poster (4).jpgWelcome, citizens, to the To Infinity Retrospective, a series created in preparation for Star Wars 9. On the first day of each month, a different Space Opera will be reviewed. And it is your civic duty to read them all. This month, we’ll be covering the 1997 action-satire, Starship Troopers, a film as dense with subtext as it is with blood and boobs. Would you like to know more?
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Dragged Across Concrete (2019)

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When they’re caught on tape crushing a handcuffed suspect’s face into the pavement, racist, corrupt police officers Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn are put on unpaid leave. Enraged that “the entertainment industry, formerly known as the news” has treated them “unfairly,” and believing that they have “the skills and the right to acquire proper compensation” the men decide to follow a tip from one of their criminal connections and rip off a bank heist. Of course, everything goes south when the robbers kill the tellers and take a woman hostage so our “heroes” won’t have as easy of time stealing the gold they believe they’re entitled to. Will they make it out alive? Watch the movie to find out. (Or don’t. You’ll be fine if you skip this one). Continue reading

Us (2019)

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In 1986, Adelaide Thomas went into a funhouse in Santa Cruz and saw something horrifying. She’s never said what that thing was, but it’s clear that she’s done everything in her power to avoid going near that place. How unfortunate for her when her husband, Gabe, and two children, Zora and Jason, insist that they go to Santa Cruz to visit friends. And that misfortune only grows when the very thing Adelaide saw in that funhouse all those years ago, an evil doppelgänger, arrives with clones of the whole family, looking to kill them all. Will they survive? Watch the movie and find out. Continue reading

Love, Death & Robots (Season 1, 2019)

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What if the world were ruled by yogurt? What if a couple had a civilization in their fridge? What if the military recruited werewolves to hunt terrorists? These questions and more are asked and answered in Love, Death & Robots, a brand-new Netflix anthology series. Consisting of 18 animated shorts from different directors, the stories have no narrative connections, and all feature different tones and art styles. The only real thing linking them is the motif of science fiction, and even that’s tenuous, since several of the stories, like the aforementioned werewolf film, would more comfortably fit in the fantasy genre. Even so, the series is engaging enough, with plenty of unique ideas and slick visuals to keep you invested. According to the show’s producers, David Fincher, and Tim Miller, their only objective was to “make something cool.” And, in my opinion, they more than succeeded in that regard. Continue reading

Captive State (2019)

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Nine years after an alien invasion, humanity has been “unified” under a new order of “Legislators.” Crime is low. Employment is high. War is all but nonexistent. And, you know, every human being has a tracker implanted in their throat so that the Legislators can monitor their activities at all times. But, shockingly enough, not everyone is satisfied with this new arrangement. There is a small resistance group, The Phoenix, operating out of Chicago, who hope to spark a revolt. Over a 24-hour period, several stories, including The Phoenix’s plot to assassinate a group of Legislators, a Chicago PD Officer’s efforts to hunt the group down, and the brother of one of the Phoenix members’ attempts to get out, converge. Do any of them succeed? Watch the movie and find out. Continue reading

Captain Marvel (2019)

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Crash-landing on Earth in 1995, Vers, an extraterrestrial warrior from the planet Hala, begins to have nightmares, dreams of a life she might have once had. See, she’s been told that she is a Kree soldier, locked in an eternal war with the shape-shifting Skrull, but these dreams suggest that she may have actually once been Carol Danvers, a human air force pilot. Her commander, Yon-Rogg, tells her to ignore these visions, insisting that they are implants put there by the Skrull, who did tamper with Vers’ memories while she was captured. But before she can ask too many questions, Skrulls show up, hoping to catch her again, and she winds up running into a young government agent by the name of Nick Fury, and they all chase each other across the country for… some reason. Continue reading

Deadly Class (Season 1, 2019)

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It’s the late 80s, and Marcus is a homeless teen with a deep hatred for Ronald Reagan. See, Reagan closed the insane asylums, and let lots of mentally ill people, including one who killed Marcus’s mom and dad, out on the street. Now, all Marcus wants is revenge. That, and to avoid the police, since the boy’s home he lived in mysteriously burned down, and Marcus was the only survivor. This last fact is what attracts the attention of Master Lin, the principal of King’s Dominion, a private school that teaches the children of criminals and assassins on how to be the best killers. Lin offers Marcus a place at his institution, and Marcus accepts, learning things like how to brew poison, shoot guns, and other assassination vitals, and all while navigating bullies, girls, and all the other high school tropes. Continue reading

Dune (To Infinity Retrospective)

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Welcome back to the To Infinity Retrospective, a series I created in preparation for Star Wars 9. On the first day of each month, leading up till December, I’ll be reviewing a different Space Opera. Last month, I covered The Last Starfighter, a film which I consider to be an overlooked gem. This month, I’m tackling Dune, a movie that I’m… less excited for. What’s it about? Well… Continue reading

Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

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In the future, a catastrophic war has left the Earth devastated. Now, the last remaining humans live in a trash-covered, overcrowded metropolis, Iron City, which sits below a floating utopia, Zalem. Iron City’s inhabitants dream of going up to Zalem, but are not permitted to. And so, they do everything in their power, stealing, bounty-hunting, gladiatorial combat, to enter the flying paradise. In the midst of all this, Dr. Ido, a scientist who came down from Zalem years ago, finds a cyborg girl in the trash, realizes she’s still alive, and so rebuilds her. The girl, whom he names Alita after his deceased daughter, can’t remember her past, but possesses incredible abilities, including knowledge of the long-dead martial art Panzer Kunst, which was used by soldiers during the war. Things only get more complicated when Nova, a man up on Zalem, begins recruiting people down on the ground, including gangsters, bounty hunters and hit men, to bring him Alita’s heart. Will she survive? Will she find out who she is? Well… Continue reading

Is Constance Wu A Trailblazer?

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So I follow Constance Wu on Instagram, and I saw a video she posted recently where she was talking about how, soon, she’d be shooting the 100th episode of Fresh Off The Boat. That was a big deal for her because, one, that’s the most episodes of anything she’s ever shot, and two, it will officially mark the longest run for any show with a majority Asian cast in US TV history. Continue reading

Cold Pursuit (2019)

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When his son, Kyle, winds up dead from an apparent heroin overdose, Colorado snowplow driver Nel Coxman becomes depressed. He grows distant from his wife, Grace, and is contemplating suicide when one of his son’s co-workers, Dante, reveals that Kyle’s death wasn’t an accident. Kyle stole some drugs from the local kingpin, Viking, and Viking had him killed. Realizing the truth, Nel arms himself, and begins picking off Viking’s men, one by one. Unfortunately for him, Viking believes these murders to be the work of another, Native American gang, and soon a fullfledged turf war is in swing, with the outmatched Nel at the center. Continue reading

The Last Starfighter (To Infinity Retrospective)

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Welcome, one and all, to the To Infinity Retrospective, a series I created in preparation for Star Wars 9. On the first day of each month, leading up till December, I’ll be reviewing a different Space Opera. And first up, we have a real diamond in the rough, a flick I’d never have heard of if not for a fellow Screenwriter, The Last Starfighter. What’s it about? Well…

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The Kid Who Would Be King (2019)

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One night, while running away from bullies, young Alex Elliot stumbles into a construction yard. There, he finds a sword lodged in a stone, and being a curious 12-year-old, decides to pull it out. Upon doing so, he discovers some Latin written on the hilt, which, when entered into Google Translate, reads “Sword of Arthur.” Alex is skeptical at first, thinking it impossible for this to be the real Excalibur, but when demonic warriors try to kill him, and an eccentric young man, claiming to be Merlin, tells him that he must assemble a group of knights to stop the evil Morgan Le Fay, or else the world will end, he starts to reconsider. Continue reading

Destroyer (2018)

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17 years after a bank robbery gone wrong, an alcoholic, ethically-compromised LAPD officer tracks down the man who orchestrated the crime. As she does so, we learn about her relationship with her partner while she was undercover. We learn about her relationship with her daughter in the present. And, most importantly, we learn that when she sets her mind on something, nothing will stop her; not bullets, not bruises, not anything. Continue reading

Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

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25 years after a nanny made their lives whimsical, the Banks family has, once again, fallen on hard times. Michael, a widowed father of three, is struggling to keep the bank from repossessing his house, while his sister Jane, a labor organizer, is doing all she can to keep Michael from breaking down. Just when it seems like all hope is lost, Mary Poppins, the very same nanny who filled their lives with magic and musical numbers, descends from the heavens, intent on saving the family from despair with the power of song and dance. What else? Continue reading