Review: FIRST MAN

By Renee’ C.

Rating: 4.5 (Out of 5 Reels)

A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong (Ryan Reynolds), and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969 (IMDB).

This film is a stunningly beautiful and intense ride through the life of Neil Armstrong as he traverses obstacles in order to be qualified to command the first flight to the moon in 1969. Read more »

Review: THE HATE U GIVE

By Mark Saldana 

Rating: 4 (Out of 4 Stars)

2018 has already given us three great films which deal with the African-American experience: Sorry To Bother You, Blindspotting, Blackkklansman.  Going into this film based on a young adult novel, I began to wonder if cinema had a fourth to offer.  The answer is an empathic yes!  Not only is The Hate U Give  quite possibly the best film of the year, it is definitely the best movie based on a YA novel.  While the movies I mentioned above do deal with the Black American experience, their scopes are more narowed down to certain specific aspects of adult life.  This movie encompasses so much about what is wrong with the United States and the treatment of its Black people, as told from the perspective of a young African-American teen. Read more »

Review: GOOSEBUMPS 2: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN

By Laurie Coker

Rating: C-

A sure-fire way to measure the quality of a kid’s movie is to attend with a seven-year-old and a fourteen-year-old. I attended the screening with my granddaughter and her older brother. At first, the little one (her nickname is Chiquita or Little), did not want to go. I had taken her to The House with a Clock in the Walls, and the creepy dolls freaked her out. We gave her American Dolls one Christmas, and she hid them all in her mother’s closet. She worried about the dummy, Snappy in Goosebumps 2 having seen the trainer. After a little negotiation and the draw of pre-screening activities, we settled in. She watched attentively, while her brother and I sighed a bit at the film’s limited storyline and over-played special effects. Read more »

Review: FIRST MAN

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 4 (Out of 4 Stars)

Most people know that Neil Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon, but don’t ever consider how stressful and emotionally trying it was for him and his family to get there.  The new film from acclaimed director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land) offers audiences an intimate and pensive look at the man who helped NASA defy the odds and got humanity to the lunar surface.  As Armstrong, Ryan Gosling gives a restrained, but highly effective performance that wonderfully captures the personality of the soft-spoken, but highly intelligent astronaut. Read more »

Fantastic Fest 2018 Review: BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE

Closing Night featured Drew Goddard’s “Bad Times at the El Royale

 

By Liz Lopez

Rating: B-

Six years after writer-director Drew Goddard’s big-screen debut (“The Cabin in the Woods”) comes his follow up film, “Bad Times at the El Royale,” featuring a retro-looking resort hotel and casino as a prominent character. It has a line running through the middle that appears to serve as a state line between California and Nevada. This mystery thriller set in 1969 will remind viewers of scenes from films dating from a wide era, 1930 – 60s, perhaps closer to 70s (judging from a couple of costumes worn by the hotel guests). Production designer Martin Whist crafted a lovely vintage looking set, especially in the lobby and then the juke box, oh my! It definitely provides a visual of what the venue may have looked like in its heyday and yet other areas do look like the hotel could use a good face lift.   Read more »