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Sunday, June 4, 2023



High school student Sadie Harper and her younger sister, Sawyer, are still reeling from the recent death of their mother. They're not getting much support from their father, Will, a therapist who's dealing with his own intense pain. When a desperate patient unexpectedly shows up at their house seeking help, he leaves behind a terrifying supernatural entity that preys on families and feeds on the suffering of its victims.

Director: Rob Savage

Cast:  Sophie Thatcher, Chris Messina, Vivien Lyra Blair, David Dastmalchian, LisaGay Hamilton, Marin Ireland, Madison Hu

Release Date: June 2, 2023

Genre: Horror, Mystery,Thriller

Rated PG-13 for terror, violent content, teen drug use and some strong language

Runtime: 1h 38m

The Boogeyman is a solidly crafted, well acted horror film which never takes full advantage of either by leaning too much on old school tropes.  Rob Savage's direction is more than capable of establishing mood and setting up scares throughout.  Those looking for a direct adaptation of King's original short story will likely be disappointed since the film only uses a small bit of it as a jumping off point before turning into a fairly predictable monster film that's been done plenty of times beforehand.  It's a shame since the original story was effectively unnerving and delivered a memorable ending that would have made this film something special.  Instead, the script uses increasingly predictable tropes and beats ultimately wasting a pair of strong performances from Sophie Thatcher and Vivien Lyra Blair.  Thatcher's turn in particular is deeply committed that you just wish she had better material to work with.  The Boogeyman isn't a terrible film by any stretch of the imagination but its definitely a forgettable experience that never lives up to its potential.  


Friday, June 2, 2023



After reuniting with Gwen Stacy, Brooklyn's full-time, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is catapulted across the Multiverse, where he encounters a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence. However, when the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles finds himself pitted against the other Spiders. He must soon redefine what it means to be a hero so he can save the people he loves most.

Director: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson

Cast: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Vélez, Jake Johnson, Jason Schwartzman, Issa Rae, Karan Soni, Daniel Kaluuya, Oscar Isaac

Release Date: June 2, 2023

Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

Rated PG for sequences of animated action violence, some language and thematic elements

Runtime: 2h 20m

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the kind of sequel that ups the ante on pretty much everything that made the original so special.  The fact that it manages to do so with incredible ease while never losing touch with its emotional center is an impressive feat.  Visually, it’s an aggressive hodgepodge of animations styles thrown at the screen with reckless abandon.  It’s an optic assault on the senses which makes every shot and sequence impossible to fully appreciate on a single viewing due the level of detail and depth contained in every frame.  The action is kinetic and frenzied in its own way with each new set piece and character offering a very specific sort of visual style and approach.  Directors Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson could have leaned on the visuals and delivered a middling story, but they manage to keep the story grounded with its character and their relationships.  Shameik Moore and Hailee Steinfeld make up the film's emotional core with both delivering stellar voicework throughout.  Moore's voice gives Miles a believable and relatable tenor to his interactions something that really shines in the quieter moments with Lauren Vélez and Brian Tyree Henry who play his parents.  Steinfeld's character is given a bit more depth this go around with the added pathos making her far more interesting.  The supporting spiders are all given their moments to shine but Karan Soni as Spider-Man India and Daniel Kaluuya as Spider Punk leave the biggest impression.  Oscar Isaac as Spider-Man 2099 and Issa Rae Spider-Woman both have important roles, but you get the sense that both characters will get a bigger focus in the third entry which this film sets up with a tantalizing cliffhanger that'll give people of certain age flashbacks of Empire Strikes Back or Star Trek The Next Generation's The Best of Both Worlds so be forewarned.  


Wednesday, May 31, 2023



A former American intelligence specialist is given the longest sentence for the unauthorized release of government information to the media about Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections via an email operation.

Director: Tina Satter

Cast: Sydney Sweeney, Marchánt Davis, Josh Hamilton, Benny Elledge, John Way

Release Date: February 18, 2023

Genre: Drama

Rated TV-MA

Runtime: 1h 23m

Reality is a lean, laser focused adaptation of Tina Satter's stage play "Is This A Room".  Satter's debut film leans heavily into its stage roots by using a minimalist approach from start to finish.  Outside of a few visual flourishes here and there, mostly to denote redacted dialogue, Satter keeps her focus on the dialogue and performances.  This approach puts the film's success squarely on Sydney Sweeney shoulders as it asks her to carry an unglamorous, dialogue heavy role.  Sweeney proves more than capable as she delivers a role that's incredibly nuanced as we follow the character's wide ranging emotions.  It's naturalistic turn that's believable from start to finish as she processes the character's thoughts as the layers of the interrogation pull back more and more information.  Her interplay with Marchánt Davis and Josh Hamilton, who play two FBI agents, serves as fascinating tennis match that moves seamlessly between cordial, probing to outright aggressive from moment to moment.  The three share an impressive bit of chemistry together as they go back and forth during the interrogation, it’s a chilling unsettling experience that reminds us how powerful dialogue can be in the hands of talented performers.  


Sunday, May 28, 2023

Cindy Prascik's Review of Air


My dear readers, with continued apologies for my sporadic content, here I am pleased to share some thoughts on Ben Affleck's Air.

Hoping to compete with the biggest names in its field, a shoe company courts a future superstar as the face of its brand.

Spoiler level here will be mild for the film, with no accounting for what a reader might know of actual events.

Air isn't the sort of film that's going to set the world on fire, but it's an engaging story, well told and well acted. As the shoe company's brass and bolts, the reliably watchable trio of Matt Damon, Jason Bateman, and Ben Affleck carries the movie effortlessly. Viola Davis nearly steals the whole show as the mother of the athlete they court to represent their company. The broad popularity of the titular product makes it unlikely anyone's watching Air without knowing how it turns out, but the movie manages to maintain tension all the same (a feat Affleck also achieved admirably with Argo). Rounded out with a stellar 80s soundtrack, Air is the most enjoyable movie I've seen in a good, long while.

Air clocks in at 111 minutes and is rated R for language.

It won't be the talk of awards season, but Air is a satisfying exercise elevated by a familiar and likeable cast. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Air gets eight.

Air is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Until next time...

Friday, May 26, 2023



The youngest of King Triton's daughters, Ariel is a beautiful and spirited young mermaid with a thirst for adventure. Longing to find out more about the world beyond the sea, Ariel visits the surface and falls for the dashing Prince Eric. Following her heart, she makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, to experience life on land.

Director: Rob Marshall

Cast: Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Daveed Diggs, Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay, Noma Dumezweni, Art Malik, Javier Bardem, Melissa McCarthy

Release Date: May 26, 2023 

Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Musical, Romance

Rated PG for action/peril and some scary images

Runtime: 2h 15m

Rob Marshall's live action The Little Mermaid is a colorful and lively remake that's elevated by a strong cast and lavish visuals.  This newest entry into Disney's live action remake cash cow isn't as inventive as 2021 Cruella instead it hews closely to the original which gives it an old fashion feel throughout.  There is a matter of changes like the much talked about change in the main characters race and a larger variety of ethnic diversity all around in addition to some lyrical tweaks, song deletions and additions.  Unless you are a diehard traditionalist these changes don't really affect the central story much, if at all, and are far less distracting than the realistic versions of Sebastian, Flounder and Scuttle which takes some getting used to.  Changes aside, the film doesn't take long to hit its stride with wonderfully staged versions of classic songs like Part of Your World and Under the Sea which allows Marshall to splash a kaleidoscope of color and energetic camera moves that make those moments pop.  Ursula's Poor Unfortunate Souls already has hints of Chicago's When You're Good to Mama built into the song which perfectly pairs with Marshall's repertoire.  The songs and staging are excellent, and the cast is led by luminous Halle Bailey in what is sure to be a star making role.  Bailey possesses a natural onscreen presence which makes her performance undeniably likeable, especially once she starts belting out those classic songs.  She keeps your attention throughout, even in the film's latter half which starts to drag noticeably.  Jonah Hauer-King isn't able to match Bailey's turn as he comes off as bland and forgettable even with a solo song.  Melissa McCarthy is scenery chewing machine as Ursula with the aforementioned Poor Unfortunate Souls serving as her showcase.  Daveed Diggs, Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina turn in solid voice work as Sebastian, Flounder and Scuttle even though the random rap added for the latter feels a little out of place.  Javier Bardem isn't tasked to do much outside of sound stern and fatherly which does with general ease.  Together the cast keeps the film entertaining even though it loses steam as it moves into its final act which makes its extended runtime even more of headscratcher.  A bit of editing would have helped this film keep its energy going from start to finish.  That being said this live action redo of The Little Mermaid stands above most of the other adaptations due in large part to a well matched director and actors.


Tuesday, May 16, 2023


Sonny Vaccaro and Nike pursue basketball rookie Michael Jordan, creating a partnership that revolutionizes the world of sports and contemporary culture.

Director: Ben Affleck

Cast: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Marlon Wayans, Chris Messina, Chris Tucker, Viola Davis

Release Date: April 5, 2023

Genre: Drama, Sport

Rated R for language throughout.

Runtime: 1h 51m

Air runs the gamut of sports underdog tropes as it dramatizes the truth story of how Michael Jordan and Nike started their legendary business relationship. Ben Affleck’s direction injects the film with a breezy, retro feel by using archival footage and music to place it firmly in a very specific place in time.  In lesser hands, this could have been a very bland and paint by the number dramatization that wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting as it is since we all know how it ends.  The film’s biggest asset though is its cast which is made up of likable actors led by Matt Damon.   The role of Sonny Vaccaro is perfectly suited for Damon’s talents since it requires an air of authentic sense of self-determination, drive, and vulnerability.   He delivers the kind of performance that makes some of the more grandiose and self-aware speeches hit with more emotional impact than they would in the hands of a lesser actor.  The supporting cast is made up of familiar faces like Jason Bateman, Marlon Wayans, Chris Tucker and Affleck who all share the kind of lived-in chemistry which make their interactions believable.  Chris Messina is fun even though he’s jarringly over the top as legendary sports agent David Falk.  Viola Davis and her real-life husband, Julius Tennon, play Jordan’s parents with the kind of levelheaded parental energy the roles call for.  Jordan himself is only shown from behind and has very minimal dialogue with archival footage from his career and life serving as most of his presence in the film.  The script smartly focuses the story on the Nike side of this story since Jordan is such a well-known figure.  There are moments, though, where the script rushes some of the behind-the-scenes machinations and relationships a bit too much to make you believe they would take such a massive risk.  These issues are sort of baked into the genre along with the predictability of it all, but Air does an impressive job of making it all so easy and engaging to watch.


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