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MOVING ON (2023) review

March 18, 2023


written by: Paul Weitz
produced by: Stephanie Meurer, Andrew Miano, Chris Parker, Dylan Sellers & Paul Weitz
directed by: Paul Weitz
rated: R (for language)
runtime: 85 min.
U.S. release date: March 17, 2023 (theatrical) 


Ever since 1980’s “9 to 5”, audiences have enjoyed seeing Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin together in movies. Granted, it took them quite a while to get back together, but they did reunite in 2015 for a seven season run on Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie”, and the recently starred in the Super Bowl comedy “80 for Brady” as half of a comedy quartet, released earlier this year. Now, in writer/director Paul Weitz’s “Moving On”, Fonda and Tomlin are back together in a story that revolves around some heavy subject matter from their past, albeit with a dark comedy tint to it. Granted, laughs are kind of what you expect from a Fonda and Tomlin pairing, but the movie’s strengths come from its dramatic elements. Too bad it’s not marketed that way. Read more…

SCREAM VI (2023) review

March 16, 2023


written by: James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick
produced by: William Sherak, James Vanderbilt and Paul Neinstein
directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
rated: R (for strong bloody violence and language throughout, and brief drug use)
runtime: 123 min.
U.S. release date: March 10, 2023


A year ago last January, a new Scream movie dropped after an eleven year hiatus, lazily called “Scream” in an effort to claim not so much a reboot, since it technically didn’t clean the slate and restart anything. The movie had the iconic Ghostface killer back and requisite characters that were, once again, all-knowing when it comes to horror movie tropes…AND it included some longstanding characters that have been in all of the movies from the Scream machine, so it was less of a requel and more of a legacyquel. Read more…

2023 Oscar-Nominated Documentary Shorts (review)

March 8, 2023


Although each year I always hope that the Animated Shorts category winds up being the best of the three Oscar Shorts, historically it’s been the Documentary Shorts which become the overall most memorable. That didn’t happen with this year’s batch, but there are at least three here that standout amid the five nominees for the Oscar-Nominated Documentary Shorts. Still, out of the three Shorts categories, this is the category that’s probably the easiest to view since two of these documentary shorts are available on Netflix. That being said, there’s really nothing better than sitting through all five nominees in a movie there, which can currently be done in these select theaters. Read more…

2023 Oscar-nominated Animated Shorts (review)

March 6, 2023


Out of the three categories in the Oscar-nominated Shorts, each year I quietly hope that the Animated category winds up offering the best of the bunch. That’s probably because I see the potential that the medium offers. Regardless of the subject, there is arguably more that can be done with animation than can be done with Live-Action and therefore the options and the potential are only as limited as the director’s imagination (and possibly the tools available). At their best, the shorts in this category can serve as a reminder that anything can happen in animation. Read more…

2023 Oscar-nominated Live-Action Shorts (review)

February 21, 2023


The Oscar-nominated Shorts of the Academy Awards are the categories I look forward to the most each year, since they typically offer a variety of intriguing stories from all over the world, told in an economic manner. That’s the key thing in any short film: economy. The academy defines short as being “not more than 40 minutes, including all credits”, so the question is whether or not the director and all involved can tell a story within that time frame that stands out amongst all the other submissions. Read more…


February 12, 2023


written by: Reid Carolin
produced by: Nick Wechsler, Gregory Jacobs, Channing Tatum, Reid Carolin
& Peter Kiernan
directed by: Steven Soderbergh
rated: R (for sexual material and language)
runtime: 112 min.
U.S. release date: February 10, 2023


It’s hard to believe that director Steven Soderbergh’s “Magic Mike” came out a little over a decade ago. Considering the director starting out with “Sex, Lies, and Videotapes” in 1989 and gave us “The Girlfriend Experience” in 2009, it shouldn’t have come as that much of a surprise that he helmed a movie revolving around the lives of male strippers from Miami. The modestly budgeted feature became a summer hit, but no one would’ve thought it would kick off a trilogy. Read more…

Top Ten Films of 2022

January 22, 2023


These annual lists are never easy. I toil over them and still lament the ones I couldn’t fit into the Top Ten of the year. There are certain films I still have to catch up with, but at some point the list must be compiled and posted and that’s it. Recently, I was reminded why such lists are necessary. It’s not because my opinion is integral, but rather because there are some out there who think that 2022 wasn’t a very good year in film. Well, they’re wrong and I hear that every year. Composing and sharing such lists will not only prove them wrong, but also steer them in the right direction. But then again, it’s all subjective and every list is arbitrary. Read more…

A MAN CALLED OTTO (2022) review

January 12, 2023


written by: David Magee
produced by: Fredrik Wikström Nicastro, Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks & Gary Goetzman
directed by: Marc Forster
rated: PG-13 (for mature thematic material involving suicide attempts, and language)
runtime: 126 min.
U.S. release date: December 30, 2022 (limited) & January 13, 2023 (wide)


Knowing “A Man Called Otto” was coming out, I finally caught up with the 2015 Swedish dramedy “A Man Called Ove”, which was an adaptation of 2012 novel of the same name by Swedish author Fredrik Backman. That film, which was Oscar-nominated the following year for a Best Foreign Language Film, starred Rolf Lassgård as the curmudgeon title character, a 60-year-old widower who serves as the self-appointed chairman of the townhouse association he resides in. He’s about to give up on life when the kindness and warmth of his neighbors wear him down and gradually give him newfound purpose. It won me over with its whimsy and sincerity, without ever relying on heavy-handed antics or thickly laying on any kind of message. However, the American remake “A Man Called Otto”, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Swiss filmmaker Marc Forster (“Finding Neverland” and “Christopher Robin”) didn’t have the same effect on me. Read more…

M3GAN (2023) review

January 6, 2023


written by: Akela Cooper and James Wan (story) and Akela Cooper (screenplay)
produced by: Jason Blum and James Wan
directed by: Gerard Johnstone
rated: PG-13 (for violent content and terror, some strong language and a suggestive reference)
runtime: 102 min.
U.S. release date: January 6, 2023


All January horror flicks should be as good as the outrageous “M3GAN” a sci-fi horror flick that fully and confidently embraces what it is. Typically, the first month of the year is a dumping ground for crappy and lame retread horror flicks (or the latest interchangeable Liam Neeson actioner) and one generally goes in simply looking for a break from the heavy subject matter of the often verbose award-season fare. Well, director Gerard Johnston (who helmed 2014’s clever “Housebound”) delivers on all levels, fully embracing what many will expect in a robot-gone-haywire premise, while taking so much ridiculousness seriously in a refreshingly hilarious approach. Read more…


November 15, 2022


written by: Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole
produced by: Kevin Geirge
directed by: Ryan Coogler
rated: PG-13 (for prolonged sequences of action violence, and a brief rude gesture)
runtime: 134 min.
U.S. release date: November 11, 2022


Ryan Coogler had the unenviable task of figuring out what a sequel to “Black Panther” could look like after the surprise death of actor Chadwick Boseman in 2020 from cancer. Not only did the writer/director helm a mega-hit for Disney/Marvel Studios in 2018, but the movie became a phenomenon that superseded expectations, bringing empowerment and representation to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) in an captivating and confident manner. Boseman as T’Challa, the noble King of Wakanda and mighty Black Panther was one of the main reasons the blockbuster succeeded, easily becoming the charismatic heart of the story. With a sequel being inevitable, the challenge (and question) would be how to do it without the actor. Read more…