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

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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

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

Bumblebee (2018)

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When his home is torn apart by war, the transforming robot B-127 must find refuge elsewhere. He leaves, and lands on a distant world, a world he hopes will remain untouched by his planet’s conflict; Earth circa 1987. There, after getting his vocal cords damaged, he takes the shape of a Volkswagen Beetle, and hides in a junkyard, hoping no one will notice him. Much to his surprise, Charlie, a teenage gear head mourning the death of her father, purchases him, hoping to escape her mundane life. It doesn’t take long, however, for her to discover his true identity, and for the two to become close friends, with her even giving him the nickname “Bumblebee.” But their joy is short-lived, as the American military, as well as the alien war criminals hoping to hunt Bumblebee down, are hot on his trail. Will they survive? Watch the movie and find out. Continue reading

The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs (2018)

p15899689_v_v8_aaThree strangers, riding a coach to damnation. A grizzled prospector, mining for gold. A sad young woman, traveling to Oregon. An incompetent bandit, avoiding hanging once, only to be executed elsewhere. A disabled man, forced to read Shakespeare for money. A singing cowboy, laughing as he guns down his foes. What do these people have in common? Nothing, apart from the fact that they populate The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs, a new Netflix anthology film, and the latest flick from the Coen Brothers. Is it a rip-roaring good time? Well… Continue reading

Outlaw King (2018)

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In 1306, after a long and bloody war against the English, Robert Du Bruce and his fellow Scottish nobles surrender to King Edward I, and swear their endless, undying allegiance to him. Of course, Robert isn’t exactly enthusiastic about this, seeing as he views Edward as his mortal enemy, but he is pragmatic, and so accepts the latter’s rule, as well as a political marriage to the English noblewoman Elizabeth de Burgh. All seems well at first until news reaches Robert that William Wallace, a major leader in the rebellion who never surrendered, has been tortured and executed. Realizing that he must avenge the latter’s death, and gain Scotland’s independence, Robert sets about planning another campaign. In order for his plan to succeed, however, he must unite all of Scotland under one banner, and so declares himself King of Scots after, ahem, removing his chief rival for the throne. This leads to the English labeling him an outlaw, and even some of the other Scottish nobles turning on him. But Robert is determined and continues to fight for Scotland’s independence, even when he is seen as nothing more than an Outlaw with a crown. Will he succeed? Don’t ask me. Just watch the movie. Continue reading

Apostle (2018)

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When his sister is kidnapped by a Pagan cult, former missionary Thomas Richardson journeys, in disguise, to their remote island community. Initially planning on just giving them the ransom and leaving, Thomas quickly discovers that there is more going on beneath the surface, since the community is dying, and there is dissension among the ranks. Even more disturbing than this, he discovers, one night while exploring, that there is a monstrous plant woman living out in the woods, feeding on human blood. Yikes. Continue reading