If Where The Crawdads Sing was only about a girl living in the North Carolina marsh who, after being abandoned by her entire family, learned how to survive and grew up to become a successful nature illustrator, the movie would have been a compelling one. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t have anywhere near the confidence that Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) has in herself. Instead of following through on the themes of independence and self-reliance, the story chooses a safer approach by including a plethora of subplots that are under-cooked and unconvincing.
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Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis tells the story of a performer who, if you’re versed in American popular culture, needs no introduction. This movie, however, is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill biopic. While the movie does a decent job of recounting the key events of Elvis’ life, it intends to remind us of how exciting Elvis was as a performer. Mission most definitely accomplished there, as Austin Butler and director Luhrmann amazingly channel the electricity of Elvis on stage, when he was at his best. The movie also tries to refurbish Elvis’ image by addressing criticisms of racism and cultural appropriation. Even though the movie’s attempts were made in good-faith, I doubt they will likely win over any new converts.
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Set in 1978, a child killer nicknamed The Grabber (Ethan Hawke) has been terrorizing a Colorado suburb. Under the guise of a hapless magician, he snatches kids in broad daylight, spraying an intoxicant into their faces before cramping them into his black van. A middle-schooler named Finney (Mason Thames) eventually becomes his target and finds himself trapped in a soundproofed basement. When Finney is alone, a phone on the wall rings. This is curious as the phone is disconnected. On the other end is the voice of another boy Finney knew. Subsequent calls are from the other boys who’ve gone missing, five in all. Initially they give Finney advice on how to not play The Grabber’s “game”, which has been lethal for them. They then proceed to coach him on things he can do to try to escape.
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