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Dear Flixster Community,

After seven fabulous years with you all, we are sorry to let you know that we're going to be retiring the Flixster Community site on September 30, 2014. Please note that you can still access your ratings, reviews, and quizzes on Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes using your same login. We have had so much fun building this community with you.

Thanks for all the memories,
Flixster

Opening This Week


  • Deadpool 2

    Deadpool 2 (R, 2018)

    After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Miami's hottest barte... read morender, while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor - finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World's Best Lover.

Top Box Office


  • Avengers: Infinity War

    Avengers: Infinity War (PG-13, 2018)

    An unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios' "Avengers: Infinity War"... read more
  • Life of the Party

    Life of the Party (PG-13, 2018)

    When her husband suddenly dumps her, longtime dedicated housewife Deanna (McCarthy) turns regret into re-set by going back to college...landing in the... read more
  • Breaking In

    Breaking In (PG-13, 2018)

    Next Mother's Day, Gabrielle Union stars as a woman who will stop at nothing to rescue her two children being held hostage in a house designed with im... read more
  • Overboard

    Overboard (PG-13, 2018)

    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM) and Pantelion Films presents Overboard, a fresh take on the iconic romantic comedy. In a splashy new twist, Overboa... read more
  • A Quiet Place

    A Quiet Place (PG-13, 2018)

    In the modern horror thriller A QUIET PLACE, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious creatures that hunt by sound threa... read more
  • I Feel Pretty

    I Feel Pretty (PG-13, 2018)

    In I FEEL PRETTY a woman who struggles with feelings of deep insecurity and low self-esteem, that hold her back everyday, wakes from a brutal fall in ... read more
  • Rampage

    Rampage (PG-13, 2018)

    Primatologist Davis Okoye (Johnson), a man who keeps people at a distance, shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, sil... read more
  • Tully

    Tully (R, 2018)

    A new comedy from Academy Award (R)-nominated director Jason Reitman ("Up in the Air") and Academy Award (R)-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody ("Juno")... read more
  • Black Panther

    Black Panther (PG-13, 2018)

    "Black Panther" follows T'Challa who, after the events of "Captain America: Civil War," returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African... read more
  • RBG

    RBG (PG, 2018)

    At the age of 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture ic... read more

More Movies In Theaters


  • Super Troopers 2

    Super Troopers 2 (R, 2018)

    Everyone's favorite law enforcement team is back by popular demand with the long anticipated follow up to the cult comedy classic... SUPER TROOPERS. W... read morehen an international border dispute arises between the U.S. and Canada, the Super Troopers- Mac, Thorny, Foster, Rabbit and Farva, are called in to set up a new Highway Patrol station in the disputed area. Unconventional police work follows, and the result is...SUPER TROOPERS 2.
  • Blumhouse's Truth or Dare

    Blumhouse's Truth or Dare (PG-13, 2018)

    A harmless game of "Truth or Dare" among friends turns deadly when someone--or something--begins to punish those who tell a lie--or refuse the dare.
  • Ready Player One

    Ready Player One (PG-13, 2018)

    In the year 2045, people can escape their harsh reality in the OASIS, an immersive virtual world where you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone-the... read more only limits are your own imagination. OASIS creator James Halliday left his immense fortune and control of the Oasis to the winner of a contest designed to find a worthy heir. When unlikely hero Wade Watts conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends-known as the High Five-are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS and their world.
  • Isle of Dogs

    Isle of Dogs (PG-13, 2018)

    In this stop-motion-animated film from writer/director Wes Anderson, an outbreak of canine flu in Japan leads all dogs to be quarantined on an island.... read more A boy (voice of Koyu Rankin) journeys there to rescue his dog Spots (Liev Schreiber), and gets help from a pack of misfit canines who have also been exiled. His quest inspires a group of dog lovers to expose a government conspiracy. The voice cast also includes Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Bob Balaban, Greta Gerwig, and Yoko Ono.
  • Disobedience

    Disobedience (R, 2018)

    From Sebastián Lelio, the director of the Academy Award-winning A Fantastic Woman, the film follows a woman as she returns to the community that shunn... read moreed her decades earlier for an attraction to a childhood friend. Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality. Written by Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz and based on Naomi Alderman's book, the film stars Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams and Alessandro Nivola.
  • Sherlock Gnomes

    Sherlock Gnomes (PG, 2018)

    When Gnomeo and Juliet first arrive in the city with their friends and family, their biggest concern is getting their new garden ready for spring. How... read moreever, they soon discover that someone is kidnapping garden gnomes all over London. When Gnomeo and Juliet return home to find that everyone in their garden is missing there's only one gnome to call SHERLOCK GNOMES. The famous detective and sworn protector of London's garden gnomes arrives with his sidekick Watson to investigate the case. The mystery will lead our gnomes on a rollicking adventure where they will meet all new ornaments and explore an undiscovered side of the city.
  • I Can Only Imagine

    I Can Only Imagine (PG, 2018)

    The inspiring and unknown true story behind MercyMe's beloved, chart topping song that brings ultimate hope to so many is a gripping reminder of the p... read moreower of true forgiveness.
  • A Wrinkle in Time

    A Wrinkle in Time (PG, 2018)

    Meg Murry (Storm Reid) is a typical middle school student struggling with issues of self-worth who is desperate to fit in. As the daughter of two worl... read mored-renowned physicists, she is intelligent and uniquely gifted, as is Meg's younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), but she has yet to realize it for herself. Making matters even worse is the baffling disappearance of Mr. Murry (Chris Pine), which torments Meg and has left her mother (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) heartbroken. Charles Wallace introduces Meg and her fellow classmate Calvin (Levi Miller) to three celestial guides-Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling)-who have journeyed to Earth to help search for their father, and together they set off on their formidable quest. Traveling via a wrinkling of time and space known as tessering, they are soon transported to worlds beyond their imagination where they must confront a powerful evil. To make it back home to Earth, Meg must look deep within herself and embrace her flaws to harness the strength necessary to defeat the darkness closing in on them.
  • Chappaquiddick

    Chappaquiddick (PG-13, 2018)

    In the riveting suspense drama, CHAPPAQUIDDICK, the scandal and mysterious events surrounding the tragic drowning of a young woman, as Ted Kennedy dro... read moreve his car off the infamous bridge, are revealed in the new movie starring Jason Clarke as Ted Kennedy and Kate Mara as Mary Jo Kopechne. Not only did this event take the life of an aspiring political strategist and Kennedy insider, but it ultimately changed the course of presidential history forever. Through true accounts, documented in the inquest from the investigation in 1969, director John Curran and writers Andrew Logan and Taylor Allen, intimately expose the broad reach of political power, the influence of America's most celebrated family; and the vulnerability of Ted Kennedy, the youngest son, in the shadow of his family legacy.
  • Tomb Raider

    Tomb Raider (PG-13, 2018)

    Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Now a young woman of 21 without ... read moreany real focus or purpose, Lara navigates the chaotic streets of trendy East London as a bike courier, barely making the rent, and takes college courses, rarely making it to class. Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father's global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he's truly gone. Advised to face the facts and move forward after seven years without him, even Lara can't understand what drives her to finally solve the puzzle of his mysterious death. Going explicitly against his final wishes, she leaves everything she knows behind in search of her dad's last-known destination: a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan. But her mission will not be an easy one; just reaching the island will be extremely treacherous. Suddenly, the stakes couldn't be higher for Lara, who--against the odds and armed with only her sharp mind, blind faith and inherently stubborn spirit--must learn to push herself beyond her limits as she journeys into the unknown. If she survives this perilous adventure, it could be the making of her, earning her the name tomb raider.

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Top In Theater Reviews


  • I Feel Pretty (PG-13, 2018)

    The over analysing of this movie is ridiculous.
    I don't think there's too many women who wouldn... read more't relate to this character in some way. I thought the overall message was nice, a woman who is empowered by suddenly believing she is beautiful finds out in the end that it wasn't her looks that bought her good things, it was her confidence and personality.
  • A Quiet Place (PG-13, 2018)

    I like dialogue and am not a fan of horror. So this film started in a hole, climbed out, and then sl... read moreapped me in the face for being ignorant. The screenplay is solid, the acting is good (particularly from Blunt), but the real shock here is that Krasinski is better at directing than he is at making sarcastic faces at office cameras. This may be the beginning of a brilliant directing career for him. The film's tension builds well, the post-apocalyptic world is well set up, and the score works really well with sounds of the film. If you actively dislike horror movies then this one may not sway you, but if a small part of you can tolerate them then this horror flick is the one to see.
  • Tully (R, 2018)

    Tully is a Young Adult reunion, bringing back writer Diablo Cody (Juno), director Jason Reitman (Up ... read morein the Air), and star Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde), and for people without kids, it can feel more like a horror movie. Numerous movies have conveyed the challenges of parenthood, the put upon moms and dads struggling to juggle schedules and lunches and homework, all without much time to themselves for self-care. Usually these movies will begin by displaying the hardships of parenthood but ultimately put a cheery bow on things by the end and conclude, "Yeah, but it's all worth it, in the end." Tully doesn't provide that easy bow and I appreciated that. Motherhood can be a real bitch.

    Marlo (Theron) is a 40-year-old mother who feels overwhelmed with life. She's about to have baby number three and her "atypical" youngest son requires a lot of intensive supports and is upsetting his school. Her husband, Drew (Ron Livingston), is away for work often and late at night he plays online games and keeps to his side of the bed. Marlo's rich brother (Mark Duplass) takes it upon himself to hire a "night nanny," a person who watches the newborn baby during nighttime hours and allows the mother to get some restful sleep. Marlo is adamant about not letting a stranger watch over her child, but soon relents and calls for the nanny. Enter Tully (Mackenzie Davis), a mid-twenties godsend who is wise beyond her years, competent, and nonjudgmental. With Tully's assistance, Marlo is able to make steps toward becoming the person she remembers.

    Through its depiction, it feels like parenthood has a lot in common with incarceration. It feels like a new parent goes away for a multi-year sentence, loses all sense of sleep, is indentured into work often without any compensation, and required at a moment's notice at all hours. Marlo's life is certainly unglamorous but it's also taking its toll. The needs of her children, including one with undiagnosed special needs, are snuffing out her sense of self and taking an unremitting physical and mental toll. The opening of the film has Marlo days away from her third pregnancy and she looks like she's smuggling a beach ball. Her brother's wife cheerfully adds, "You look glowing," that age-old pregnancy praise, and Marlo's unfazed reaction is more of a, "Really?" She then proceeds to compare herself to the trash barge that floated along the East Coast in the 1980s, a perfectly plucked pop-culture allusion from Cody. At no point do you doubt the love Marlo has for her family, but the servitude is driving her crazy and with no relief in sight with baby number three. There's a pristine montage of her daily routine of feeding, pumping, changing diapers, and absent sleep, the days just melt into one another, and it's so horrifying in its mind-numbing execution that it reminded me genuinely of Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream montages of drug-abuse and despair.

    It's a third of the way into the film when Tully enters the picture and serves as the long-needed change agent for Marlo. She's the miracle worker nanny that works at night like a whimsical little elf, and the next morning the house is clean, the baby is taken care of, and Marlo has been allowed a rejuvenating night of sleep. You can chart the change in the quality time with the family, where quickie microwave pizza dinners become more advanced home-cooked meals with multiple ingredients and food groups. You can also chart the change through the magnificent performance of Theron, who appears to be regaining her sense of self and placement in the family. Tully serves as a refreshing, therapeutic conversationalist, able to get Marlo to introspectively reflect upon her life's goals and setbacks and her sense of what she should be as a woman and not just as a mother. Tully is wise but also winsomely hopeful and optimistic; she recharges the battery for this family and Marlo in particular. These gentle, observational conversations are the best part of the film and Theron and Davis are wonderful together. Each woman seems to be learning from the other and providing a support system.

    Cody's early screenwriting was dinged for its obsession to be quippy and hip, but it has matured and depended over the years. Young Adult was an incisive character study in kamikaze narcissism, and it was as cold as Tully is warm, even-handed, and honest. Having a talent as surefire as Theron is a great asset, but it's Cody's storytelling that gives the movie its sting and its sweetness. This is something of a comfy thematic middle ground between the ironic, quippy yet sentimental Juno and the dark spiral of stunted growth in Young Adult (seriously, rent that movie again if you can, it's vastly underrated). Tully is a movie that is lifted on wry observations and honest dialogue. It feels very real, so much so that I was convinced the reality show-within-a-show Gigolos (Marlo is a bashful fan) was the real deal for most of the movie. I also loved the drive into Brooklyn being relegated to jump cuts, each new jump playing a different Cyndi Lauper track on an album, which feels very bibliographical and authentic. The details of Cody's story feel sharply developed and authentic, and that's the biggest draw of this movie. It's an unvarnished look into the realities of motherhood and each little detail helps further contribute to the larger portrait of Marlo's exhausted life. The supporting characters do get a bit of short shrift here, kept as one-dimensional peripheral portrayals. I was expecting more from her husband Drew since their relationship and the platonic valley they've found themselves stuck in is another significant aspect. However, the movie is really about the relationship of Marlo and Tully and how they build up one another. Marlo even sees herself in the younger nanny, and she's also wistful of a time that her body more closely resembled that of Tully's flat tummy and compact derriere.

    Theron continues to establish with role after role what a phenomenal acting chameleon she can be. I know we gush about Cate Blanchett, Amy Adams, and Kate Winslet as the finest actresses of their generation, and I feel like Theron deserves to be in that same hallowed Pantheon. She gave one of the best performances I've ever seen in 2003's Monster and I think she was deserving of nominations for work as varied as a one-armed post-apocalyptic feminist warrior. Theron gained fifty pounds for this beleaguered role, which is an impressive commitment, but she doesn't just let the weight gain serve as the focal point of her performance. She uses every exhausted muscle to communicate Marlo's plight. When she's slumped over in a chair and just rips her off stained shirt, you feel her utter defeat and desperation ("Mom, what's wrong with your body?" one child asks). This is a woman who is tired to the bone. She's taking everything life gives her and soldiering onward, afraid to speak up. This is best voiced when she describes her relentless day and staring into a closet and thinking, "Didn't I just do this?" Theron's renewed vitality as mother, wife, and most importantly, person, is a rewarding development to tag along with. Theron's breadth of tenderness, sadness, and hard-won insight is easily relatable and emotionally engaging.

    The one thing that holds me back from fully embracing Tully is a late story decision that I'm still wrestling over. It feels a bit like tonal whiplash and I immediately felt like it was completely unnecessary and that I was happy with the movie already being told. It left me jarred although I admit this decision helped provide better context for some unexpected turns in the middle between characters. Having deliberated for a couple of days, I can see how this decision plays into a larger sense of theme and character, while also tapping into something primal about motherhood and the emergency lifelines needed and provided. I'm warming to Cody's decision and can see the rationale behind it. Still, there will be plenty of audience members that will be left questioning the thought process here.

    Tully is the third collaboration between Cody and Reitman and they bring out the best in one another. After two duds in a row, I was worried that Reitman had become all too mortal after his 2006-2011 run of amazing films. It's reassuring to find Reitman back in finer form and to also experience the maturing growth of Cody's exceptional writing. I wish there was more with the supporting characters but this is a character study of our main momma. The late plot turn will divide audiences (I've already identified with both sides) but it serves the film's larger focus on the well-being and recuperation of Marlo. Tully is a funny, compassionate, and unflinching movie about the perils of motherhood and the steps we all need to take to activate a little necessary self-care.

    Nate's Grade: B+
  • Breaking In (PG-13, 2018)

    Just in time for Mother's Day weekend comes two eminently bland, safe, and unmemorable movies that g... read moreenerally waste their female stars. On the other side, Breaking In is a mundane, low-budget home invasion thriller that disappears almost instantly from memory. I'm struggling to even come up with enough to say in this review that isn't just repetitions of the word "boring." Gabrielle Union (Bring it On) plays a mom who brings her two children to visit the estate of her recently deceased, estranged father. Also visiting is a trio of stupid robbers searching for a hidden stash of money. They take the kids hostage though keep them locked in a room and in little danger. Union's determined mother must break in and save her children. It's a thriller without anything genuinely thrilling to experience, as each chase or near miss hums along ineptly and tediously, finding the least interesting conclusion. There are no well-drawn suspense set pieces to quicken the pulse, no clever escapes or near-misses, no intriguing villains with strong personalities, and no entertainment to be had through its strained 88 minutes. There are glaring plot holes, chief among them why doesn't she just flag down a car and call the police rather than hack it alone. Depressingly, Breaking In is actually directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) who seems to have exhausted any sense of _b_style and excitement he may have had earlier in his directing career. It feels like nobody really cared about the movie they were making, and that lack of enthusiasm and effort translates into one very boring and very poorly written and executed thriller. Union deserved a better showcase but, then again, the audience deserved a better movie too.

    Nate's Grade: D+
  • Rampage (PG-13, 2018)

    - by fb100000124099262
    I will see The Rock in any movie, whether that be the rated R failure that was Baywatch or the enter... read moretaining family flick, Jumanji. At this point, he's more than the "franchise viagra" he was once deemed, he's probably the biggest movie star in the world, in terms of consistently opening films to a big number. Rampage will likely go down as one of his more forgettable films, but even in saying that, it's hard not to appreciate some of the more ridiculously entertaining moments of this action adventure. Centering around The Rock's Davis Okoye and his pet/job/friend George the Ape, Rampage follows a few species who have been physically enhanced because of a faulty genetic testing experiment gone wrong. The story? Well there isn't really one. It's essentially just the world's biggest actor trying to save the worlds biggest ape (aside from Kong) from destroying half of Chicago while also being attacked by a huge lizard/crocodile/alligator/whatever the heck that was. It's the prototypical turn your brain off silly action adventure film, but it's not quite fun enough (or dumb enough) be get my vote. There's nothing great and nothing horrible (besides some awful subplot scenes involving Jake Lacy and Malin Akerman. Phew, glad that's over. In all, Rampage is enough stupid fun with a Negan-esque performance from Jeffrey Dean Morgan, some great monster action, and another shining performance from The Rock. But let's hope this one doesn't get a sequel.

    6.0/10
  • A Quiet Place (PG-13, 2018)

    Solid horror movie. You've seen movies very similar to this before. Indestructible creatures, the ... read moreend of days, it's been done. Think The Mist, and other movies like that. What separates this movie from The Mist, and makes it a 4/5 and the Mist a 2/5, is the original concept of using sound (or more precisely, the absence of sound) as the backdrop for the fear. Anxiety mounts as you hope and pray the characters (and yourself and your partner sitting next to you) stay absolutely quiet. Even small noises become very unsettling. The atmosphere works, and there are almost no breaks or relief from the tension. The other factor which elevates this film is the family dynamic. It feels real. There is love between mom and dad. The kids feel like family members. The family is bound by both tragedy and survival, and while there are holes to find if you want to look for them, and the conclusion is pretty ordinary and typical (think Signs), I enjoyed this film. But the end could have been profound or more powerful, and instead it was a bit underwhelming. Good movie, almost great.
  • Black Panther (PG-13, 2018)

    - by fb1025970122
    When your movie opens in Oakland you automatically enlist this inherent cool factor that appeals to ... read morethis child of the eighties, especially considering I've watched The Defiant Ones, Straight Outta Compton, and Boyz n the Hood in the last week. Opening the film with a brief history of the fictional nation of Wakanda, its origins, and how the Black Panther came to be a symbol for the monarchy that reigned over it and a hero to the people who resided within it director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed) then drops us into this unsuspecting setting of Oakland, California in the early nineties where we are served a series of events that establish the basis for what will fulfill the drama that occurs in Marvel Studios' Black Panther. This is a smart move on the parts of both Coogler the director and Coogler the co-writer who, along with Joe Robert Cole (American Crime Story), roots the beginning of his film in the zeitgeist of hip-hop; when rap was finding its footing and when the world began to take notice of what was being said within the genre. This is most definitely intentional as Coogler no doubt means to draw the comparison so as to confirm any doubt that Black Panther isn't a movement within itself. Though there have been black super hero movies before (in this analogy Blade would be your Sugarhill Gang) Black Panther is more than a defining moment as there has never been anything this explicitly black in or about a super hero movie before. Black Panther doesn't just star an African-American in the lead role as the titular hero, but it is about black culture, about black heritage, and conveys the highs and lows, the good and bad of this world of which I have no rightful place to really speak and so I will trust that when the many black people I do know who have seen the film say it is a real *moment* for their culture and for society in general I will trust that it indeed is. On the other hand, the question is how does Black Panther rank in terms of being a piece of entertainment despite Coogler inherently making this about more than just entertaining the masses? Well, it's another in a long line of reliable if not completely singular Marvel movies that tend to only break the mold every once in a while. Granted, Marvel has been on something of a hot streak lately mixing up the genres of which inspire their fare (2017 was especially strong) and Black Panther is no different in this regard as it, by default of its source material, feels fresher than anything the genre has had to offer in some time even if the potential of all the positive factors going on within the film never seem to be fully realized.

    read the whole review at www.reviewsfromabed.com
  • Black Panther (PG-13, 2018)

    Black Panther is a thing of beauty. What's really satisfying is that it is visual story telling at i... read morets best, and in my mind, one of the most engrossing and thoughtful action films coming out from the Marvel Cinematic Universe that breathes deep characterizations, fresh conversations and envisions new directions. Black Panther is fresh, unique and deep. Although the representation may be African, set in a fictional nation in Africa called Wakanda, the script is nuanced, multi-layered and transcends cultures. Black Panther resonates well with the global audience because it's a film that has a brave, convincing and intelligent script which offers a two-hour escapism into a fantasy world. As you leave the theatre, you leave with hope to walk strong in a troubled world, and be inspired to believe in a better future. The ensemble cast is nothing short of amazing: everyone unique, beautiful and talented. Marvel seems to always get its casting so perfect for its cinematic universe: always finding that very actor for that very role, so much so you can't imagine the character being anyone else other than that actor: case in point, I can't imagine Chadwick Boseman not being the regal and noble King T'Challa. The audience would be able to find visual catharsis in the story, especially through any one of the character arcs, men or women. Women would be inspired and feel empowered by the strength of Queen Mother Ramonda, the leadership of General Okoye, the spunk and intelligence of the teenage Princess Shuri or the idealism and independence of Nakia. Without a doubt, the big bouquet goes to Ryan Coogler - for his direction and screenplay - which borrows too from biblical themes of redemption, forgiveness, sacrifice, death and resurrection, and Shakespearean settings. Not forgetting the crew, indeed a work of artistry and great passion. The sets are a pungent of colours and simply magnificent - especially the waterfall coronation scene. Even the costumes. The focus on detail is simply astonishing. Phew. Without leaving any spoilers, regarding the antagonist Killmonger, Michael B. Jordan delivers some of the best lines of the film - which brings chills down our spines when we weigh how easily smart young people today are being radicalised, and how thin the line is between good and evil when the world falls into the hands of anarchists and fascists completely deceived by their misguided sense of right and wrong. Clearly, this film is a step in the right direction for the wellness of the future in filmmaking. This is a milestone, and a gamechanger.
  • Black Panther (PG-13, 2018)

    - by fb7817787
    Let's get something straight, right off the bat. This was going to be huge, no matter where you stoo... read mored. After all the hyperbole and media attention and passive-aggressive social media infighting, this movie struck a cord that is both surprising and quite obvious. Black Panther is the lore rich and spectacle-driven extravaganza that was promised. But it also gives a strong narrative and deep characters to anchor the experience. No, Black Panther is not the first superhero film helmed by a person of African descent. The media tends to forget that Blade and its sequels happened and yeah that's a bit upsetting considering what it did for the genre. But there's no getting around it - a big budget picture on this scale with an all-black cast is new and unique.

    Picking up from his introduction in Captain America: Civil War, T'Challa returns home to ascend the throne of Wakanda. The isolated, wealthy, and powerful nation thrives by its use of vibranium, which the country mines and hordes for its own use. Though there may be others who desire both the vibranium and the throne of Wakanda itself for greater ambitions... Chadwick Boseman always brings his best to the screen and he has been one of my favorites since his criminally underwatched turn in Get Up (which you should totally watch when you have the chance). His Black Panther is a refreshing change from many Marvel/Disney heroes - instead of hammy, sarcastic bluster, he keeps cool and calm and the bullshit to a minimum. There are also a number of excellent supporting female characters that impress with Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, and Letitia Wright leading the way. A friend of mine pointed out that Black Panther actually succeeds better at feminism than The Last Jedi, which tried to make that a central theme of the new sequel trilogy. Black Panther's female warriors and scientists are tough, hard-as-nails, and do their fucking job. You have to give credit where it's due. Of course, Black Panther has a worthy adversary in the form of Michael B. Jordan's Killmonger, a pretender to the throne who wishes to end Wakanda's isolation and use its vibranium as a weapon in a new war that would allow persons of African descent to subjugate the world. T'Challa opposes this and wishes to change the world via public outreach and scientific exchange. These opposing worldviews call to mind the dynamic between Charles Xavier and Magneto and it is a comparison that Jordan has openly invited.

    Black Panther is not quite perfect, to be fair. The special effects in the third act look a bit cheap and dated. (Think 2005.) A few of the action sequences, such as the car chase, go on for too long and the CGI Rhinos were pretty fucking stupid and felt out of place. And I'm not quite sure if I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and call this the best standalone MCU movie ever - even recent entries such as Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 have a bit more oomph, but then again, those are "bigger and better" sequels and may not be entirely congruous. I look forward to seeing a similar sequel to Black Panther, so you should go ahead and take that as a recommendation. It certainly lands in the better half of the MCU. It may be important to note that the success of Black Panther has outsized implications for the entertainment industry at large. Movies will now be marketed to a more diverse group of demographics. But more personally to a large chunk of the international population, this was a movie for THEM and not what Hollywood usually hunts (i.e. guys who look like me.) And that's probably for the best.
  • Life of the Party (PG-13, 2018)

    Just in time for Mother's Day weekend comes two eminently bland, safe, and unmemorable movies that g... read moreenerally waste their female stars. Melissa McCarthy has proven herself one of the most funny and dynamic performers in comedy, but Life of the Party is a listless and groan-inducing back-to-school comedy that feels tonally off, adopting the persona of its tacky, talky, and awkward middle-aged mother. You would think the premise would lead to plenty of R-rated shenanigans, but instead the film adopts a very sedate PG-13 atmosphere, dulling the wild collegiate experience into something so predictable and safe as to be completely inoffensive. It feels like a caricature reminiscent of a feature-length rendition of a Saved by the Bell: The College Years. McCarthy falls back on tired, corny jokes that don't attempt to be anything else, and the supporting cast is left to gasp and grasp for anything to spark laughs (special credit Gillian Jacobs for doing everything possible as "coma girl"). McCarthy is best when given room to improvise and discover interesting odd angles for jokes, but she also needs a stronger comedic vision, and that's not going to come from husband/co-writer/director Ben Falcone (Tammy). It feels like they had a general outline for a comedy and, in grand collegiate tradition, pulled an all-nighter and sloppily finished a serviceable draft. I chuckled about four times, mostly involving an exuberant Maya Rudolph and the one clever structural payoff revolving around a much younger fraternal hookup. Mostly, Life of the Party lacks a sense of stakes, credibility, surprises, development, and laughs, though the middle-aged mothers in my preview screening lapped it up, so take my opinion with a grain of salt if the trailer seemed moderately appealing for you.

    Nate's Grade: C-

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