Archive for 4 Star Rating

Roth Films, Walt Disney Pictures,

Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Harris Dickinson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sam Riley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, Robert Lindsay, David Gyasi, Jenn Murray, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Judith Shekoni

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is the sequel to the 2014 film Maleficent. You can read my review of that film here:. Aurora (Elle Fanning) is now ready to be married to her true love, Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson) and the hope is that with the marriage of the Aurora who was raised by Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and Philip who was raised by his mother, the Queen (Michelle Pfeiffer) that the two kingdoms can be united (The human world and the world of the faeries), and that there can finally be peace. But when the king is struck by another curse, it appears that the split between the worlds cannot be healed and all out war is the only option.

This is a very strong follow up to the original film, and it still follows the same story line of the first film which is somewhat different than the fairy tale we thought we knew. As in the first film, there is no pure good or pure evil and life is a lot more complicated that that. Again this story is Angelina’s film, and though both Michelle and Elle turn in fine performances, again Angelina is truly the star and it’s her movie! She is well prepared to carry the film and in this movie she really shines, even more than in the first. There are really great war scenes in this film, and yet there is a lot of laugh out loud humor and it’s bound to be spell binding for both young and old. This is truly and awesome performance and it is very well done. The imagery is spectacular, and the minor characters are outstanding (and very cute) and some tributes to the original film (both the animated and the first Maleficent film) are really good. The special effects and CGI are outstanding, and this is a film well worth watching on the big screen! I am including the extended trailer for your enjoyment:

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Big Beach Films, Depth of Field, Kindred Spirit,

Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Aoi Mizuhara, Shuzhen Zhao, Gil Perez-Abraham, Jim Liu, Han Chen, Diane Dehn, Ines Laimins, Yongbo Jiang, Hong Lu, X Mayo, Becca Khalil

This is a story of a young Chinese lady, Billi (Awkafina) who is struggling to survive in New York City on her own. Billi is close enough to her parents, but trying to survive on her own without their help. She is still close to her Grandmother in China, and keeps in touch with her as her dreams fall by the wayside one by one. When her Grandmother is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, the family uses the excuse of Billi’s cousin’s (who lives in Japan) snap wedding to make a trip home to China for one last visit to her Grandmother. Her parents don’t want Billi to go because of her hard times with the finances, but Billi goes anyway. The family has decided to lie to Grandmother and not tell her about the cancer. The journey brings a lot of pain and joy to the entire family as they all are together for this side celebration while trying to hide the sadness of the fact that this may be last time they ever see Grandmother again.

This film was really wonderfully done. It is a touching story that is very, very Chinese. This is really a Chinese story, and the culture and customs are really interesting for an American guy like me to see. Sometimes life is really different. This film was advertised as a Comedy, but one look at the trailer lets you know that this is going to be a very heart touching dramatic piece for sure. I was right. Although some of it is really funny at times, it still really tugs the heart strings a LOT. I remember the laughs and jokes we had at my own Dad’s funeral a year ago, while feeling the sorrow at losing a parent, but remembering as well the good times and fun we had. This is the same way, as the family is really happy to get together, and see each other, and it’s too bad it’s a such a sad occasion that brings them together. It was also interesting to note that this is a biographical story loosely based on Writer and Director Lulu Wang’s real life story of a visit to China to visit her Grandmother under similar conditions where they used a mostly fake wedding as an excuse to go home to visit her Grandmother who they determined not to tell about her cancer in a similar fashion. Also, it was very, very difficult to get this movie even made, as Lulu found American producers would not touch it because it was too Chinese with all Chinese characters, and a LOT of the dialog is in Chinese and subtitled, while Chinese producers would not make it either because it was too American. I think after the success of “Crazy Rich Asians” it was finally able to be made. (This is merely my opinion, and probably wrong as obviously this movie took a long time to come to fruition, but it is a good thought). At any rate, it was an extremely moving movie, and very much worth the cost of a movie ticket to see this excellent story. I really enjoyed this film, and I would highly recommend it, as likely it is one of those films that is hard to find and is a hidden gem that may be way off your radar. If you can get a chance to see this film, I can really highly recommend it. I want to also mention that this was a great vehicle for Awkwafina. This is really her movie, as it should be, and she and Grandmother really carry the movie without only a little help from the rest of the cast. Not that they were not good, as well, but Awkafina really knocked this one out of the park. She was really funny in “Crazy Rich Asians” and that led to a hosting role on “Saturday Night Live which she also nailed, but his is a very serious and very somber role which shows her amazing acting ability and she really nailed it. I suspected she was a really good actress, but this one really shows she is no shallow actress only capable of playing a silly fool character. The really gave 100% to this role and she was awesome. I hope she is give the recognition she certainly deserves from this movie, as it so well well written, directed, produced, and performed that I consider it a must see. Enjoy it. I really did!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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1212 Entertainment, CBS Films, Double Dare You (DDY),

Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Dean Norris, Gil Bellows, Lorraine Toussaint, Austin Zajur, Natalie Ganzhorn, Austin Abrams, Kathleen Pollard

PLEASE NOTE: This link to Amazon is for a documentary about the book series “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” not the feature film that was just released. The series of books has been around for many years, but the movie is brand new and is not yet offered on Amazon”

The years is 1968 and Nixon is struggling with the Viet Nam War problem, but in this small Pennsylvania town, life is still pretty simple. The story revolves around a dead girl, child in a very rich and famous family who owned the factory that keeps the town alive, who has a deep dark secret. Four teens while exploring the deserted “haunted” mansion of the Bellows family discover a book, written by Sarah, which one of them takes home. Once the book is outside the house, all hell breaks loose and people are dying one after another in this suspenseful horror story.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark comes from an anthology of books, and follows the general format of things like Tales From the Crypt or Urban Legends, but the way it is put together is really very well done. This is an extremely scary film, using all kinds of methods to scare the daylights out of us. Yes, there are loud sounds that startle you, but there are also some really creepy stories with lots of scares that build from the intensity bit by bit. It’s just a well done story. Now, the down side of all this is that it really is designed for the teens, that’s for sure. They actors are young, and the story is about the angst of bullying and typical high school problems, so it’s really aimed for a young audience (hence the PG-13 rating). However, it was really well enough put together, that as a “senior” (citizen) I was also pulled into the horror elements of the story. It’s a dang good ghost story when you get right down to it. I did enjoy this movie, and though it is billed as a suspense thriller, which it is, it also is a darn good horror film as well and really satisfied the horror fan in me. I enjoyed this movie, and I recommend it if you’re a horror fan. I think it was well worth my patronage.

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Paramount Pictures, Raimi Productions,

Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark, Ross Anderson, Jose Palma, George Somner, Anson Boon, Ami Metcalf, Tina Pribicevic, Srna Vasiljevic, Cso-Cso, Colin McFarlane, Annamaria Serda, Savannah Steyn

Haley (Kaya Scodelario) is a self driven swimmer trying to make a name for herself in the sport. Her sister has married and headed off to the Northwest. The family is broken since Mom and Dad split up, and they don’t speak often. But a Category 5 hurricane is heading straight towards the little Florida seaside town where Haley grew up, and the sisters have not been able to reach their father to verify if he was somewhere safe. Haley recklessly heads to his condo, only to find he is not there and his truck is gone So Haley heads out to their old home next to the shore where he must be, only to hit the storm head on. Once at the house, with the water rising very fast, Haley finds that the town is abandoned and the town is quickly going under the storm surge and is filled with angry and hungry alligators that would love to have Haley for lunch. There’s no way out.

This is a bit of and unlikely story for many reasons, but it is a passable horror film if you gloss over the details and just enjoy the ride. The suspense and the action are top notch, and the scares are many. Like Jaws did for sharks, this film will fill your nightmares with snapping alligators. In fact, neither sharks nor alligators enjoy hunting humans for prey, but they make very horrific bad guys in this film. It is very fast paced and filled with extreme tension and suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Often, in horror films like this, the story is rather far fetched, but if the action and suspense are intense as they are in this film, I don’t really mind. I enjoyed this movie and had a nice time watching it on the big screen, and I do recommend this movie to folks that love to be scared to death and really get into highly charged suspenseful material like this. Well done, and I liked it.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Atomic Monster, New Line Cinema,

Linda Cardellini, Roman Christou, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Raymond Cruz, Marisol Ramirez, Patricia Velasquez, Sean Patrick Thomas, Tony Amendola, Irene Keng, Oliver Alexander, Aiden Lewandowski, Paul Rodriguez, John Marshall Jones, Ricardo Mamood-Vega, Jaydan Valdivia

A social worker receives a strange warning from a desperate mother wanting to protect her children, but she doesn’t pay attention to it as it seems too strange to believe. Soon she and her own children are drawn into a supernatural world where La Llorona is looking to replace her lost child. Thing go from bad to worse as they strive to fight this evil curse as the story blends modern day social work with an ancient curse in this chilling thriller horror film.

We have been spoiled of late with some top rate intense horror films, but New Line Cinema usually does a pretty decent job of bringing true horror to the big screen, and this film wasn’t a disappointment. Granted, there is a lot of competition out there lately as good horror films are arriving almost weekly, but this one does really stand out in a way similar to “The Nun” from a some months back, as it’s a really creepy story based on a very old legend. This film is actually a part of the same universe of films as the entire Conjuring series, and is comparable to the other films. There are a few references to the other films, and it shares a few of the characters, particularly notable is the priest Father Perez is from the first Annabelle film. The suspense is immense, as you would expect, and the horror is really unsettling. Scary, dark, and terrifying, this film does it’s job and is very well made. If you are a fan of horror, this is a film you must see, since although it is not the best of the series, it’s certainly good enough to command your attention. I found this film really intense, and I did enjoy it, and found it a bit different than the run of the mill serial killer flick. This was one movie I really enjoyed, and I certainly recommend it for horror fans like myself.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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