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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Hidden Figures & Underworld: Blood Wars

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for a pair of unlikely bedfellows: Hidden Figures and Underworld: Blood Wars.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
First up: Hidden Figures.
A trio of female, African-American mathematicians helps put America's first man in orbit.
Things you've probably guessed about Hidden Figures: It boasts excellent performances from Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and a noteworthy supporting cast, and tells a compelling story about some unsung heroes of the early space race. Something you might not have guessed: Hidden Figures is actually a lot of fun, like, legitimate, ear-to-ear smiling fun. That's not to say the movie is without its disturbing and serious moments--the early sixties weren't a super-easy time for women or people of color in these United States--but overall I am shocked by how entertaining this picture is. Hidden Figures goes light on the math-ey details (thank goodness) and instead presents a lively tale of three determined ladies who changed the face of the nation for the better and forever. Cut with snippets of historical footage, the movie provides a timely and important message about the harmfulness of prejudice, the value of everyone's contributions, and, yes, even the importance of the right bathroom facilities.
Hidden Figures runs 127 minutes and is rated PG13 for "thematic elements and some language."
Hidden Figures sheds welcome light on a little-known bit of American history in uplifting fashion, kicking off 2017 in fine form. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Hidden Figures gets seven and a half.
Fangirl Points: Taraji (one of my best girl-crushes), and Aldis Hodge!
Next on the docket: Underworld: Blood Wars.
Betrayed by her own kind, a world-weary Selene is drawn back into the Vampire/Lycan war.
The most recent Underworld installment has a cheap television feel to it, right down to the "previously on..." segment that kicks it off. The story is unimaginative, with dialogue straight out of a 14-year-old's AO3 fanfic, officially may file this movie under "so awful it's almost great." The rehash of previous installments is a waste of time--you wouldn't have trouble following this empty-headed nonsense even if you'd never seen an Underworld movie before--and the picture suffers a few dull spells where the lovely Kate Beckinsale is nowhere to be found. Theo James does the best he can with his silly, underwritten role, and Bradley James is a brooding highlight who appears poised to carry the franchise forward, should anyone feel that's really necessary. Blood Wars has a properly gloomy look and feel, with a melodramatic score and a good deal of stylized, slow-mo action, but it's always a bit disappointing when flippin' vampires and flippin' werewolves end up taking each other out with plain old handguns. Highlight/lowlight of Blood Wars: A Vampire Elder, in all his gravitas, sends off one of his warriors with a smirk and a smack on the ass, just like your garden-variety first-base coach.
Underworld: Blood Wars clocks in at 91 minutes and is rated R for "strong, bloody violence and some sexuality."
Blood Wars is dopey fun, as unnecessary a sequel as ever there was. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Underworld: Blood Wars gets five.
Fangirl Points: Theo James, ever since he had deadly relations with Lady Mary Crawley!
Until next time... 

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