MOVIE REVIEWS

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Monkey Man swings high as a combo of action and drama

Academy Award Nominee Dev Patel leaps to the action genre for his directorial debut in “Monkey Man” from Universal Pictures. Oscar Winner Jordan Peele serves as executive producer, while Patel co-writes the screenplay with Paul Angunawela and John Collee. The film takes inspiration from the legend of Hanuman, an icon embodying strength and courage.

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The First Omen breathes new in life into a spooky franchise

The renowned horror franchise Omen has recently received a prequel titled “The First Omen” from 20th Century Studios. The film is directed by Arkasha Stevenson, who co-wrote the script with Tim Smith and Keith Thomas, and is based on a story by Ben Jacoby. In the sixth installment of the franchise, the plot revolves around Margaret Daino, portrayed by Nell Tiger Free, an American woman sent to work at an orphanage in Rome, where she discovers a sinister plot to bring forth the birth of the Antichrist. Margaret develops close relationships with Luz Valez, played by Maria Caballero, and young orphan Carlita Scianna, played by Nicole Scarce. However, when Father Brennan, portrayed by Ralph Ineson, warns Margaret of a conspiracy within the church, she begins to experience unsettling events, testing her faith and sanity.

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Sting spins up an impressive horror debut

Writer & director Kiah Roache-Turner delivers a solid feature debut with “Sting” from Well Go USA. During a stormy evening in New York City, a mysterious object descends from the sky and shatters the window of a dilapidated apartment building. The object, an egg, contains within it a peculiar little spider.

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The American Society of Magical Negroes fails to conjure up enjoyment

After getting his feet wet in the world of acting, Kobi Libii makes his feature writing and directing debut with “The American Society of Magical Negros” from Focus Features. Struggling bi-racial artist Aren (Justice Smith) crosses paths with bartender Roger (David Alan Grier) at his latest art show, who sees some potential in Aren and informs him that he is a member of The American Society of Magical Negroes, a group aiming to safeguard African Americans by appeasing White individuals.

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Titans duke it out in Godzilla vs. Kong: The New Empire

Director Adam Winglans returns to the big screen with two monstrous titans in “Godzilla vs. Kong: The New Empire” from Warner Bros. Pictures. The script, penned by Terry Rossio, Simon Barrett, and Jeremy Slater, is the fifth film in the Monster Verse franchise. Additionally, it is the 38th film in the Godzilla franchise and the 13th film in the King Kong franchise.

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Sleeping Dogs is a snooze fest without a bone

Renowned Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe continues to build upon his esteemed career with his latest cinematic endeavor, “Sleeping Dogs.” Adam Cooper made his directorial debut with the film and co-wrote the script with Bill Collage. The film is an adaptation of the novel THE BOOK OF MIRRORS by Romanian writer E.O. Chirovici.

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Clichés withstanding, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire keeps the franchise alive

Director Gil Kenan and co-writer Jason Reitman continue to keep a beloved franchise alive in Columbia Pictures “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.” In the previous film, Phoebe (McKenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), the grandchildren of the late Ghostbuster Egon Spengler, defeated Gozer. As a result, they have relocated from Summerville, Oklahoma, to the New York City firehouse. Under the guidance of their mother, Callie (Carrie Coon), and Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd), who are now dating, they continue to bust ghosts.

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Romance, the 80’s and crime fill the enjoyable Love Lies Bleeding

Director Rose Maud has switched genres, trading horror for a romantic crime drama in her second film, “Love Lies Bleeding.” Glass and Weronika Tofilska wrote the script, and A24 produced the movie. The story takes place in 1989 and revolves around Lou (played by Kristen Stewart), a reclusive gym manager, who falls in love with Jackie (played by Katy O’Brian), an ambitious bodybuilder heading to Las Vegas to chase her dreams. However, their passion ignites violence, and they get pulled into the web of Lou’s criminal family, led by her father, Lou Sr. (played by Ed Harris).

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Arthur The King is a royally entreating crowd pleaser

Following last year’s action comedy “The Family Plan,” Mark Wahlberg is teaming up again with director Simon Cellan Jones for a heartwarming true story titled “Arthur The King.” Lionsgate is releasing the movie with Michael Brandt as the screenwriter. The screenplay is based on the book “Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home” by Mikael Lindnord.

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Donnie Yen swaps his martial arts skills for his dramatic talent in “Polar Rescue”

Donnie Yen, the legendary martial artist, breaks his usual butt-kicking role and showcases his dramatic talent in “Polar Rescue,” a film by Well GO USA, directed and written by Lo Chi-Leung. In this movie, Yen plays Ah De, a man with a seemingly idyllic life with his wife, Xuan (Cecilia Han), and their two children. However, after a minor argument with his son, the boy goes missing, and the situation escalates as local authorities are called to search for him.

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Robot Dreams is a beautiful film about the power of friendship

The 96th Academy Awards ceremony, a highly anticipated event, has garnered significant attention across the globe. In this context, I would like to highlight a lesser-known film titled “Robot Dreams,” which was nominated for the Best Animated Feature category. The film, written and directed by Pablo Berger, is an adaptation of Sara Varon’s 2007 comic of the same name. Despite its nomination, this film may have yet to receive widespread recognition among mainstream film enthusiasts, as it has only been released in France and Spain. However, NEON Film Studio acquired the distribution rights to release the film in North America during the summer.

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Ordinary Angels is a heartwarming gem

Two Academy Award winner Hilary Swank leads the inspirational drama Ordinary Angeles from Lionsgate. Jon Gunn directed the film, while Meg Tilly and Kelly Fremon Craig wrote the screenplay. Sharon, portrayed by Swank, is a hairdresser from a small town in Kentucky. She is a strong-willed individual but struggles with alcohol addiction. Her boss, also her best friend Rose, played by Tamala Jones, wants Sharon to live up to her full potential. However, she grows tired of Sharon’s constant misbehavior.

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