Review: LITTLE WOMEN

By Laurie Coker

Rating: A+

Director Gretta Gerwig has a knack for capturing the essence of women – beyond femininity and frills. In Little Women, the beloved novel by Louisa May Alcott, the titular women are vivid and beautiful, and their story has seen many film adaptations. Gerwig’s version has a current feel and while she stays true to the crux of the story, she shifts the trims the tale, tweaks the timeline and adjusts the characters' weight, and presents a vibrantly watchable and timely story. A solid cast of powerful and talented women and men afford Gerwig the opportunity to create an adaptation that Alcott would likely love.

Review: JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL

By Laurie Coker

Rating: C+/B-

Welcome to Jumanji a game where anything can happen and it does in the latest film starring Dwyane Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black. Our avatar heroes return, joined by others in this unnecessary sequel to the 2017 reboot of the original Jumanji starring Robin Williams.  Like its predecessor, Jumanji: The Next Level is full of video gaming action and crazy shenanigans. One might ask why? The simple answer – MONEY. ‘Tis the season to take the family to the movies and the box office will brim with those curious fans. The cast, which now includes a few new players, brings on the chuckles.

Review: TROOP ZERO

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

Great performances by the adult cast, vibrant and exciting performances by the kids, and an undeniably sincere heart elevate this otherwise all-too-familiar band of misfits/underdogs movie. Most adult movie goers of different generations have already seen this formula. For my generation, it is The Bad News Bears. For later generations, The Sandlot is huge. Now this particular movie isn't about baseball, but it is certainly about a group of kids who don't fit in and can't seem to do anything right. Well, regardless of its lack of originality, Troop Zero works well enough as a heartfelt and entertaining piece for the whole family.

Review: SPIES IN DISGUISE

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

This charming and amusing family film offers an inventive, breath of fresh air to the otherwise old-fashioned genre of espionage thrillers. Based on Lucas Martell's animated short, Pigeon: Impossible, Spies in Disguise offers family-friendly entertainment with some modern and progressive messages. Actors Will Smith and Tom Holland lend their awesome voice talents and vibrant personalities to the lead characters in this joyfully unique animated movie. The movie probably won't win any animated film accolades next year, but is definitely worthy of some attention and admiration.

Review: INVISIBLE LIFE

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Brazil's entry for Oscar's Best International Feature is a powerful and tragic glimpse at human history. Because our world has been mostly male-dominated, there are many stories out there concerning this impact on the lives of women. Though this particular story is fictional, it definitely rings true in that the folly of men has oppressed the lives and happiness of women in our world. This intimate portrait of two sisters is a tragic example of the effects toxic masculinity has had on any culture.

Review: BAD BOYS FOR LIFE

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

The "Boys" are back, but this time they are battling age and some ghosts from the past. Seventeen years have passed since audiences last rode with detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett. And even though they lack the stamina of their younger versions, the dynamic cop duo still have the comedic chops and a definite excitement for their beloved characters. Bad Boys I and II director Michael Bay has not returned, but that's okay. Younger bloods Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah show much talent and proficiency when it comes to incendiary action and wildly hilarious gags.

Entertainment News: GRACE AND FRANKIE

Entertainment News: GRACE AND FRANKIE

Rise up for the penultimate season. Grace and Frankie Season 6premieres globally on Netflix  January 15, 2020. Source: Netflix In Grace and Frankie, Jane Fonda (“Grace”) and Lily Tomlin (“Frankie”) star as two women whose lives are turned upside down when...

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Austin Screening Pass Giveaway: DOLITTLE

Austin Screening Pass Giveaway: DOLITTLE

Source: Universal Pictures

TVR is giving away passes to an advance screening of this movie in Austin, TX, scheduled for Saturday, January 11 at 10:00 a.m.  NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY. Must be 18 or older to enter. See this movie early and free of charge before it opens in theaters!

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Review: TROOP ZERO

Review: TROOP ZERO

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

Great performances by the adult cast, vibrant and exciting performances by the kids, and an undeniably sincere heart elevate this otherwise all-too-familiar band of misfits/underdogs movie. Most adult movie goers of different generations have already seen this formula. For my generation, it is The Bad News Bears. For later generations, The Sandlot is huge. Now this particular movie isn’t about baseball, but it is certainly about a group of kids who don’t fit in and can’t seem to do anything right. Well, regardless of its lack of originality, Troop Zero works well enough as a heartfelt and entertaining piece for the whole family.

read more…

Cinematters: NY Social Justice Film Festival 2020 Review: ALWAYS IN SEASON

Cinematters: NY Social Justice Film Festival 2020 Review: ALWAYS IN SEASON

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 4 (Out of 4 Stars)

For my second film of the festival, I chose this highly recommended documentary which not only details some of the history of lynching, but also questions whether or not this horrific practice still occurs. Written and directed by Jaqueline Olive (who co-wrote with Don Bernier), Always in Season mostly focuses on the shocking death of seventeen year-old Lennon Lacy, a North Carolina African-American found hanging in what initially appears to be a suicide. However, nearly everyone close to.the young man cannot at all believe Lennon killed himself and some unisual and inconsistent clues of his death reveal possible foul play.

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Review: BAD BOYS FOR LIFE

Review: BAD BOYS FOR LIFE

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

The “Boys” are back, but this time they are battling age and some ghosts from the past. Seventeen years have passed since audiences last rode with detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett. And even though they lack the stamina of their younger versions, the dynamic cop duo still have the comedic chops and a definite excitement for their beloved characters. Bad Boys I and II director Michael Bay has not returned, but that’s okay. Younger bloods Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah show much talent and proficiency when it comes to incendiary action and wildly hilarious gags.

read more…

Multiplatform Video Release: LILYANA

Multiplatform Video Release: LILYANA

Source: ABRAMORAMA LIYANA is a genre-defying documentary that tells the story of five children in the Kingdom of Eswatini who turn past trauma into an original fable about a girl named Liyana who embarks on a perilous quest to save her young twin brothers. The...

Review – On DVD & Streaming September 9th: YESTERDAY

Review – On DVD & Streaming September 9th: YESTERDAY

By Laurie Coker Rating: B+ Yesterday were the Beatles and today, only a glimmer remains – or no memory of them all. Director Danny Boyle takes his viewers on an enchanted journey in this twist on the music of the Fab Four. Written by Richard Curtis, Yesterday offers a...

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