How to make a movie about Dracula feel new, or at least new-ish? The Invitation addresses this by telling a very familiar story about a very familiar character through the eyes of Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel), an African American toiling away in the States as a waitress. Her job sucks and with her mother’s recent death, misses having connection to a family. The answer to her ennui arrives when she completes a DNA test and discovers she’s actually a long-lost relative to the white-as-can-be Alexander family in England. Her best friend Grace (Courtney Taylor) cautions her not to go, but nobody ever listens to their best friend’s advice in these movies.
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Gotham: a city beset with drugs and crime. The police are overwhelmed and have sought the help of a vigilante known as Batman (Robert Pattinson). Bruce Wayne, the man behind the mask, is more than willing to oblige. After two years, he has instilled fear into the city’s criminals, but criminal activity is on the rise despite his actions. Within this hellish landscape emerges a man dressed in green and the city’s power structure in his sights. On Halloween night, he brutally kills the mayor, but isn’t satisfied with committing murder. Instead, he leaves behind ciphers, a card addressed to Batman and the words “No More Lies” scrawled on the victim’s face. With each successive murder, the Riddler (Paul Dano) exposes the corruption at every level of Gotham. For reasons known only to himself, he seeks revenge upon the people in Gotham’s power structure, including the mayor, the police commissioner, district attorney (Peter Sarsgaard) and a “rat” who helped them all put a gangster behind bars years ago. Surprisingly, millionaire and philanthropist Thomas Wayne is also implicated by the Riddler, making Bruce a target as well.
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In this prequel sequel, Gru (Steve Carrel) is intent on joining the Vicious6, a group of super villains who have deep-sixed their leader, Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin). Even though the minions have given Gru nothing but unwavering loyalty and dedication to his cause, he doesn’t believe that the minions are ready for prime time. What 11 & ¾ year-old kid doesn’t need some help becoming a supervillain? As for Wild Knuckles, he’s furious that the team he founded tried to kill him. If you haven’t guessed, Minions: The Rise of Gru is about loyalty. Well, it’s about loyalty in those moments when it isn’t hilariously funny.
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