Dolemite Is My Name (2019)

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It’s 1970, and Rudy Ray Moore is ready for comedy stardom. There are just a few things standing in his way. He’s over 40, overweight and black. It’s the 70s, so these things pretty much prevent him from ever achieving mainstream success. But he’s determined. When he works out a particular routine, involving vulgar, rhyming stories about a character named Dolemite, he produces a comedy record in his own apartment. And when record stores refuse to carry his work, calling it “filthy,” he decides to put the albums out himself, actually selling them from the trunk of his car. Eventually, he builds up enough of a following that he decides to bring Dolemite to the screen. Unfortunately, no one will invest in him, believing that there isn’t a big enough audience and that he isn’t leading man material. Rudy doesn’t let that stop him, though. As he always does, he finds a way to do it himself, discovering an abandoned hotel where he can shoot the movie without permits, and assembling a motley crew of film students, amateur actors, and strippers to bring the thing together. Will they succeed in creating a classic for the ages? Watch the movie and find out. Continue reading

The Lighthouse (2019)

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It’s the late 19th century, and Robert Pattinson has been sent to a remote Lighthouse to assist the caretaker, Willem Dafoe. Unfortunately, the two don’t get along at all, with Dafoe being an abusive, demanding boss, and Pattinson being an unhinged, rebellious employee. Things only get worse when a storm cuts them off from the rest of the world, and Pattinson begins to hallucinate mermaids and other bizarre, supernatural creatures washing up onshore. Will the two make it out alive, and with their sanity intact? Watch the movie to find out. Continue reading

Saturday Fiction (2019)

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Saturday Fiction (2019)

It’s the first week of December 1941. At this point, Shanghai is partially occupied. The Japanese invaded back in 1937. However, because two-thirds of the city belongs to foreign powers, France and Great Britain, and because Japan is not yet at war with those nations, the city is divided, and there is an uneasy truce between both sides. Of course, neither party intends to keep that peace for long. Both are just itching for the chance to gain valuable Intel on the other. That’s where Yu Jin, a famous Chinese actress, enters the picture. Officially, she’s in Shanghai to star in a play directed by her long-time lover. Unofficially, however, she has many other reasons to be there. For one thing, her ex-husband has been taken prisoner. For another, her French foster father works as a spy for Paris, and he wants her to get him Intel from a Japanese general. And as if that weren’t enough, there’s a young woman following her, who may just admire her in more than a platonic manner. Will she be able to get the information she needs, and come out unscathed? Watch the movie and find out. Continue reading

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019)

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It’s 1969, and Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a fading, Western actor, struggling to maintain relevance in a rapidly changing Hollywood. His only friend is his driver, and longtime stunt man, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), a Vietnam vet whom it is heavily implied murdered his wife. The two spend their days driving around LA, getting drunk, watching Rick’s various TV appearances, and debating about whether or not the latter should take an offer to make Spaghetti Westerns in Europe. Meanwhile, Hollywood director Roman Polanski and his wife, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), have just moved into the house beside Dalton. Dalton sees in Polanski a chance to become legitimate again, and eagerly tries to get in their good graces. Something that could throw a wrench in his plans, however, is a small, delusional band of Hippies living out in a place called Spawn Ranch, who may or may not be hatching a murder scheme. 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

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