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Showing posts from 2019

ALADDIN (2019)

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While trying to survive on the streets of Agrabah, Aladdin (Mena Massoud) finds the girl of his dreams, who turns out to be Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). Following her back to the palace, the young thief is captured by Grand Vizier Jafar (Marwan Kenzari). Seeking the power of a lamp hidden in a dangerous magical cave, Jafar uses the street rat's skills to retrieve it. While trapped in the cave, Aladdin discovers that rubbing the lamp releases Genie (Will Smith), who has the ability to grant three wishes. Using a wish to become a prince, Aladdin must defeat the powerful Jafar to win his princess.

Elaborate sets, solid performances, marvelous CG effects and fabulous music inhabit this live-action re-imagining of Disney's 1992 animated classic. This colorful extravaganza has

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 - PARABELLUM

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After having killed an Italian crime lord inside The Continental Hotel, super-assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is on the run. The High Table, an international assassin's guild whose members find sanctuary at the hotel, has placed a $14 million contract on Wick. Having lost all hotel privileges, John is excommunicado and must defend himself from the world's most ruthless professional killers while trying to get the bounty on his life removed.

Buckets of bloody gore and an endless stream of kick-butt battles

LONG SHOT

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Recently unemployed journalist Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) gets a big break when he reunites with his first crush, and former babysitter, Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) - the U.S. Secretary of State who's about to make a run for the presidency. She hires Fred as her speechwriter. Not exactly a snappy dresser, he  doesn't fit in with Charlotte's staff or her upscale lifestyle. But this mismatched pair somehow connect during a global trip to advance the rising politician's agenda. Romance blossoms and problems arise.

Chemistry between the stars and a humorous script make

AVENGERS: ENDGAME

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After the devastating Infinity War, the fate of what's left of mankind is in the hands of the surviving Avengers. The remaining superheroes have resigned themselves to their changed lives, but the arrival of Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) brings a glimmer of hope. The task is monumental: defeat Thanos (the voice and motion-capture of Josh Brolin), recover the six Infinity Stones and attempt to change history.

This emotionally-draining blockbuster is the ultimate fan salute. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo, along with producer Kevin Feige, have successfully

PENGUINS (2019)

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In the cold Antarctic wilderness, a male Adélie penguin named Steve joins others of his species on the journey to the nesting grounds. After the trials and tribulations of building a nest, Steve seeks and finds a mate to start a family with. Becoming a first-time father of two, he finds that raising kids can be difficult. Harsh storms and predators, such as the gull-like birds called skuas and leopard seals, get in the way of an idyllic life. But this determined penguin is up to the challenge.

Breathtaking cinematography coupled with a heartfelt story make

SHAZAM!

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Troubled teen Billy Batson (Asher Angel), constantly running away from foster care, is placed in another home but is reluctant to fit in. After defending his new "brother" Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) from bullies at school, he finds himself magically transported to the lair of The Wizard (Djimon Hounsou), who wants him to become the next super-powered defender against evil. Loudly uttering the word SHAZAM!, Billy turns into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi) - retaining his teenage mind. With the help of Freddy, he slowly discovers what his astounding abilities are. While foolishly wasting these newfound capabilities, a deadly threat arises. Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) and his evil forces want Batson's powers and will stop at nothing to obtain them.

Action, humor and heart with a positive message make

DUMBO (2019)

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After losing an arm during the war, former horseback-riding sharpshooter Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) returns to the struggling traveling circus of Max Medici (Danny DeVito) hoping to revive his career. Max puts Holt, who must provide for his young son Joe (Finley Hobbins) and daughter Milly (Nico Parker) after the death of his wife, in charge of the elephants. Good fortune smiles on the circus when newly purchased pachyderm Mrs. Jumbo gives birth to Baby Jumbo. A laughingstock because of his big ears, the re-named Dumbo can fly - making him a star attraction. Drawing the attention of powerful businessman V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), Medici is conned into partnering with Vandevere in his giant entertainment venture called Dreamland and teaming Dumbo with aerial artist Colette Marchant (Eva Green). But dangerous secrets lurk in the shadows of this theme park.

Director Tim Burton puts his quirky touch on this live-action remake of Walt Disney's magnificent animated delight, res…

HOTEL MUMBAI

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A group of young Islamic terrorists from Pakistan attacked Mumbai, India in 2008. Part of this horrendous event included a siege at the Taj Hotel. Staff members, including Chef Hemant Oberoi (Anupam Kher) and waiter Arjun (Dev Patel), risk their lives to protect guests. Among those trapped are American David (Armie Hammer), his wife Zahra (Nazanin Boniadi), their newborn child and nanny Sally (Tilda Cobham-Hervey). Desperation leads to sacrifice.

Even though the outcome is known, tension throughout makes this a riveting thriller. After a quick setup with the arrival of the terrorists, director Anthony Maras maintains

THE HUMMINGBIRD PROJECT

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Getting information from the exchange in Kansas to Wall Street's New Jersey data bank the fastest can mean billions of dollars to traders. Hustler Vincent (Jesse Eisenberg) and his nerdy, but brilliant, coder cousin Anton (Alexander Skarsgård) hit on the idea of laying fiber-optic cable in a straight line to carry the data between the two points. They quit their jobs under high-powered Wall Street CEO Eva Torres (Salma Hayek) after securing financing and hiring chief engineer Mark Vega (Michael Mando) to oversee the huge project. Obstacles include tunneling under national parks, homes, mountains, swamps and private lands. Getting permission from all involved, including the opposing Amish, is a daunting task. Also in the way is former boss Torres, who backs a data delivery by microwave plan. A millisecond, the speed of a hummingbird's single wing-beat, is at stake.

While the plot gets bogged down with too many complicated technical details, Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsg…

CAPTAIN MARVEL

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A war wages in outer space between the warrior Krees and the shape-shifting Skrulls. Kree military commander Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) leads a team, including his superpowers endowed protégé Vers (Brie Larson), against the Skrulls and their leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn). After a battle, Vers is captured. During her escape, she crashes into a Blockbuster store on Earth in 1995. Soon she's on the radar of young S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). With the Skrulls on her trail, Vers must deal with the situation while having flashes of a past life.

Solid performances and almost non-stop action keep

ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL

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In a post-apocalyptic world, cyborg scientist Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) finds robotic remains in a junkyard and rebuilds his discovery - naming her Alita (the voice and motion-capture body of Rosa Salazar) after his deceased daughter. The wide-eyed teen awakens with no recollections of her previous life, but is rebellious and determined to become a Hunter-Warrior in the bleak Iron City. Befriending Hugo (Keean Johnson), a robotic parts dealer, the cyborg teen becomes involved in Motorball - an arena, gladiator-style death race that's controlled by Vector (Mahershala Ali) and Ido's ex-wife Chiren (Jennifer Connelly). The victor gets the promise of reaching the utopian sky city of Zalem, which hovers above the grim metropolis. But flashes of memories from her past and mysterious enemies get in the way of Alita's goals.

Immersive 3D and massive special effects highlight this technically

COLD PURSUIT

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As a snowplow driver and recently named Citizen of the Year in a Rocky Mountains resort town, Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson) leads a good life with wife Grace (Laura Dern). But when their son is found dead, he becomes distant from his spouse and is obsessed with eliminating those responsible. The body count begins to rise as Nels works his way up the chain - leading to violent drug kingpin Viking (Tom Bateman) and a final confrontation that includes a rival gang.

This grisly revenge drama is laced with dark-edged humor. Based on the 2014 Norwegian film "In Order of Disappearance" (original title "Kraftidioten") starring Stellan Skarsgård, the loose remake feels

THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING

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Running away from bullies, young teen Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) stumbles upon the legendary Sword in the Stone. Pulling Excalibur from the stone, the youth is now tasked with saving the present-day world from the evil enchantress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson), who was powerful during the reign of King Arthur and is ready to rise with her army to rule mankind. With the help of Merlin (Patrick Stewart), now transformed into a nerdy youth (Angus Imrie), Alex must convince friends and foes to become knights in his quest to stop the malevolent sorceress.

A mostly youthful cast energizes this inventive update of the mythical sword legend. Director/writer Joe Cornish deftly keeps

GLASS

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David Dunn (Bruce Willis), a security guard with super powers, seeks to put an end to the killing spree of Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), a murderer with multiple personalities controlled by The Beast. A deadly encounter between the two gets them captured and sent to an asylum under the care of psychiatrist Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson). Another patient, Elijah Price/Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), has a connection to the new residents that could have devastating results.

Director/writer M. Night Shyamalan's latest big screen effort is

STAN & OLLIE

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Embarking on a live stage tour of Britain in 1953, Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly) are looking to revive their declining popularity. The comedy duo's film career is pretty much behind them and Ollie has major health issues. But audiences are slowly building and Stan is seeking backing for a movie spoof of Robin Hood. While their relationship is strained, the boys get a needed lift when wives Ida Laurel (Nina Arianda) and Lucille Hardy (Shirley Henderson) join them in England. The show must go on.

Remarkable performances dominate this loving tribute to Laurel & Hardy. Makeup and prosthetics play a big part in