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Sunday, June 17, 2018


Everyone’s favorite family of superheroes is back in “Incredibles 2” – but this time Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is in the spotlight, leaving Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell) and Dash (voice of Huck Milner) to navigate the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life. It’s a tough transistion for everyone, made tougher by the fact that the family is still unaware of baby Jack-Jack’s emerging superpowers. When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the family and Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) must find a way to work together again—which is easier said than done, even when they’re all Incredible.

Director: Brad Bird

Cast: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Samuel L. Jackson, Huck Milner, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Jonathan Banks

Release Date: June 15, 2018

Genres: Animation, Action, Adventure

Rated PG for action sequences and some brief mild language

Runtime: 1h 58min

Incredibles 2 delivers a crowd pleasing following up to the 2004 original.  The original film is a classic on many levels so there was an incredibly high standard left to meet.  Additionally, in the 14 years since the first film came out there’s been a massive change in the movie landscape with superhero films ruling the box office.  So the biggest question is whether or not a sequel would be as relevant or impact full as the first film.  Writer/Director Brad Bird pulls off the monumental task with relative ease.  Bird delivers a visually striking film that keeps the stylish visuals from the first and expands on it.  The film picks up right after the first film ends and moves easily into the plots of the sequel which is filled with dense topics like marriage equality and gender politics.  It’s script runs a fine balance of generally digestible joy and deeper themes while never becoming a bore.  The voice cast from the original film all slip back into their roles without missing a step.  Newcomers Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener mesh well with the cast even if their characters are slightly under served which is one of the films few missteps.  Still, Incredibles 2 pulls off the rare feat where the sequel is a worthy follow up to a classic.  


Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Tag & Incredibles 2

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for a promising double-bill of Tag and Incredibles 2.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
First on my agenda, Tag.
A group of friends continues a game of tag from their high-school days three decades (and counting) into their adult lives.
While Tag's story is "inspired by actual events" rather than "based on a true story," it seems a great deal of it skates hilariously (or alarmingly) close to the truth. Based on a a group of friends from Spokane, Washington, who really have been playing the same game of tag for over 30 years, some of the picture's most outlandish tags are the ones that really happened.
Tag is a comedy, but it's more amusing than laugh-out-loud hilarious. The likable cast includes Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms, and Jon Hamm, yet I found the characters--at best--bland, and--at worst--pretty lousy people, which made it hard to enjoy their exploits. In fact, as I exited the theater, the first thing I did was jump online to check the IMDB/Rotten Tomatoes scores to see if the movie had left anyone else as flat as it had left me. (At this writing, it's got a 7.1 on IMDB and 56% on RT, so I guess it has.) The story is fascinating, and a few cool tunes pop up, but with such a terrific cast it's hard to think it shouldn't be better than it is.
Tag clocks in at 100 minutes and is rated R for "language throughout, crude sexual content, drug use, and brief nudity."
It's good for a few summer afternoon laughs and an eyeful of Jeremy Renner, but otherwise Tag is most definitely not "it." 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Tag gets five and a half.
Next up: the long-awaited sequel Incredibles 2.
In an effort to have the superhero ban lifted, Elastigirl is tapped for some high-profile missions while Mr. Incredible keeps the home fires burning.
Incredibles 2 is a sequel that is well worth the 14-year wait. The characters haven't aged onscreen, but they've aged very well in popular culture, with the stay-at-home-dad angle being a nice touch for 2018. The film's action sequences are exciting and well-choreographed, with nary a one dragging on too long. (Are you paying attention, Avengers?) Incredibles 2 features bright, crisp animation, top-notch voice talent, charming characters, and clever laughs. There's an awful little short called "Bao" that runs before the movie, so, unless you really love the pre-show or you want to grab a favorite seat, give yourself an extra five minutes to get to the theater.
Incredibles 2 runs 118 minutes and is rated PG for "action sequences and some brief, mild language." 
Be advised there is one scene featuring a strobe-light effect that may adversely affect some viewers.
Incredibles 2 is a fantastic family film that (at least on first viewing) seems even better than the original. Only time will tell if it ages as well. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Incredibles 2 gets nine.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Ocean's 8 & Hotel Artemis

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for Oceans 8 and Hotel Artemis, or, how best to waste some of the most talented, interesting, and beautiful actors working today.

Spoiler level here will be mild, almost nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers. (I'm giving away one (1) cameo from Oceans 8. If you don't want to know, read after you've seen it.)

First on the docket: Oceans 8.

Debbie Ocean carries on the family tradition with an all-female crew, because in 2018 Hollywood, gender-bent versions of old movies pass for new content. For the record, let it be noted that Karina and I had the idea for an all-male Charlie's Angels YEARS ago and will expect full credit when the time inevitably comes. (It's gonna be All Chris, too: Evans, Hemsworth, and Pine or Pratt...we're still agreeing to disagree there.)

Oceans 8 isn't really a good movie, nor is it a terrible movie. The one thing it absolutely *should* be is a fun movie, but, sadly, instead it's rather dull. Bad news out of the way first: These characters are AWFUL...caricatures unworthy of the least of the actresses to embody them, nevermind the goddess that is Helena Bonham Carter. The dialogue is especially awkward at the start, though it improves slightly as the movie progresses. The humor is also spotty, occasionally amusing is about as good as it gets. Even the heist itself is a letdown; it seems clever, yet its execution never feels as edge-of-your-seat as it should.

The good news is Oceans 8 is a pretty easy watch despite all that, thanks to terrific eye candy. If you're thinking I mean the lovely ladies, you're right, but the picture is also set during the annual Met Gala and is filled with all the unique and stunning fashions for which the event is famous. Then there's Richard Armitage, certainly not hard on the eyes. Call me shallow, but the combination was more than enough to hold my interest. If looking out for cameos is your bag, Oceans 8 has plenty of those too, so keep those eyes open. (Move over Kardashians, my favorite was Junior's Cheesecake!)
Oceans 8 clocks in at 110 minutes and is rated PG13 for "language, drug use, and some suggestive content."

With a lesser cast, Oceans 8 would be a passable but forgettable bit of summer escapism. Even as sub-par as it is, there are worse things than than watching some of Hollywood's best actresses punching below their weight. 

Of a possible nine Weasleys, Oceans 8 gets four and a half.

Next up: Hotel Artemis.

In riot-plagued 2028 Los Angeles, a nurse runs a secret, members-only hospital for criminals.

Dear reader(s): Though it's nearly impossible to do in the Internet age, I went into Hotel Artemis cold, save for one headline that crossed my Twitter feed early yesterday: "What Made Jodie Foster Agree to Star in the Worst Movie of the Year?" So...lowered expectations, then?

I feel like I can't be the only one who's at least a little bit over the whole dystopian thing, but Hotel Artemis seemed an interesting enough idea, and a cast that features Jodie Foster, Jeff Goldblum, Sterling K. Brown, Zachary Quinto, Sofia Boutella, and Charlie Day sounds can't-miss. Sadly, like Oceans 8, Hotel Artemis gives its incredible talent only cookie-cutter characters to work with. Even the good guys are unlikable, though (with very limited screen time) Jeff Goldblum is a delight as one of the baddies. If you're squeamish about violence or language, you'll want to check in somewhere else, but if you don't mind a side of blood and F-bombs with your action and criminal machinations, Hotel Artemis is the place for you.

Hotel Artemis runs a quick 93 minutes and is rated R for "violence and language throughout, some sexual references, and brief drug use."

Hotel Artemis takes an interesting premise and turns it into a by-the-numbers thriller. It's not fair to call it the year's worst movie, but it's certainly nowhere near its best. 

Of a possible nine Weasleys, Hotel Artemis gets five.

Until next time...

Saturday, June 9, 2018


When Ellen passes away, her daughter's family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. 

Director: Ari Aster

Cast: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, Gabriel Byrne

Rated R for horror violence, disturbing images, language, drug use and brief graphic nudity

Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery

Runtime: 2h 7min


Hereditary is a classic horror film fans dream.  Ari Aster, who wrote and directs, is clearly a fan of 70’s and 80’s horror films and he mines a handful of tropes to deliver an emotionally mature and nerve grinding experience.  Aster’s film is a slow burn decent into madness.  It’s efficient and effective as it sets up the film’s plot by dropping tidbits of information here and there.  It demands the audience’s attention, asking them to pay close attention to little details.  At its center is Toni Collette who delivers an incredible performance.  Collette gives the kind of performance that’s sure to join the annals of horror performances like Jack Nicholson in The Shining or Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby.   Milly Shapiro fills the creepy kid quotient leaving an impression in a limited performance.  Gabriel Byrne is appropriately worried throughout while Alex Wolff is increasingly terrorized.  Hereditary is one of those films that linger with you after you leave the theater, usually the hallmark of the best kind of horror films.

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