I want to sue the people behind Nefarious for fraud. This is not because something in the trailer wasn’t in the movie. No, Nefarious is fraudulent because the advertising campaign behind it implies that it is a horror movie, and it is not. At least not in the literal sense. The movie is actually a Christian pro-life diatribe in the guise of a horror movie. Maybe people who fall into that category believe in their hearts and minds that the topics discussed in this movie are horrific. If that’s true, then I guess there will be plenty of opportunities for them to shout “alleluia” and “amen” while they watch this movie. If the intent of the filmmakers behind Nefarious was to convert the unwashed, it fails completely due to the disgusting shots it takes at the other side. I don’t know what appeal this movie would have to those who consider themselves righteous, since it basically preaches to the already enraptured choir. While Nefarious is a well-made movie that features decent acting, competent direction and realistic sets, the argument it makes is pure lunacy, at least in the viewpoint of this lapsed Catholic. As if that weren’t enough, the movie features a shocking cameo at the end of the movie by a fringe media figure that left my jaw agape with utter disbelief. (As much as I want to, I refuse to spoil it. I have movie critic principles to uphold.) Not Recommended. Unless you’re morbidly curious, then have at it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
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This is the end of the road for the Guardians of the Galaxy. After pitching in to defeat Thanos and working as intergalactic mercenaries, the team has decided to hang up their guns and put down roots on Knowhere. You remember Knowhere, right? You know, the place that’s actually the severed head of a dead god. The place where Thor gave the Soul Stone to the Collector (Benecio Del Toro) at the end of Thor: The Dark World for safekeeping. The place Thanos destroyed after taking the Soul Stone from the Collector in Avengers: Infinity War. The place with Howard the Duck. Yes, MCU lore is dense. Thirty-two movies into the MCU saga (thirty-three if you include this one), you either jump-ship or swim. I’m still swimming, although the boat has been taking on water the last couple of years.
Continue reading “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”
Strange World is a confoundingly boring adventure story set on another planet that is very similar to Earth. (Vaguely Familiar World would have been a more appropriate title.) While the movie does include weird creatures and trippy visuals, it fails Science Fiction 101 by being neither engaging nor exciting.
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The internet is a place where things that are strange, stupid or both thrive like weeds. In one corner you have TikTok, where members challenge themselves to do incredibly dangerous things like swallow a spoonful of cinnamon without drinking any water, punch unsuspecting people in the back of the head or construct a flamethrower from a lighter and an aerosol can. In another corner there is the website Creepy Pasta, where the stories and videos of a fictional being named the Slenderman influenced two teenage girls into murdering one of their friends. (Luckily, she survived.) We’re All Going to the World’s Fair considers what an intersection of those two worlds would look like, who would be interested in it, and what the ramifications would be.
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In The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) are two working-class jamokes from Brooklyn who leave their steady jobs to start their own plumbing business. When they reveal that they’ve put all of their savings into a corny-yet-catchy television commercial to promote themselves (with stereotypical “a-this and a-that” phrasings) I thought, these guys are living the American dream. They should be commended for doing something so risky, given how most small businesses fail within the first year. So when their own family openly derides the brothers at the dinner table for being idiots, I was a bit stunned. Is this the message we really want the future business owners in the audience to hear?
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When you really need a doctor, who do you choose? The young, baby-faced one who’s only been a resident for a couple of years, or the older doctor who has fought countless battles with sickness and death and won most of them? Experience matters, so I take the older doctor whenever I can. Same would go for an exorcist. I don’t want the young whippersnapper, I want the grizzled veteran who cracks jokes while in the presence of a demon just because it pisses it off. That is exactly the kind of priest Father Amorth (Russell Crowe) is. He’s been involved in more possessions than he can count. He’s so savvy he can tell within a matter of minutes whether a man is actually possessed or faking it. And if the afflicted is faking it, then Amorth is happy to oblige with a little of his own.
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Once upon a time, in the land known as America in the Go-Go Eighties, there lived a man named Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon). He worked for Nike as a talent scout, searching far and wide for talent to sign up to promote basketball shoes. Though he toiled day and night, his efforts proved fruitless. Then, in 1984, the answer to his prayers emerged. A young collegiate basketball player named Michael Jordan had risen to national prominence by helping North Carolina win the NCAA championship with an amazing shot in the closing seconds. He was subsequently drafted by the Chicago Bulls and tasked with not only leading them out of obscurity, but to NBA championship glory. Even though he was only eighteen years old, this didn’t phase him in the least. Everyone agreed it was only a matter of when he achieved greatness, not if. No, the biggest question surrounding Jordan was which company he would choose for a highly-lucrative shoe marketing contract.
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The life of Edgin (Chris Pine) is a tale of misfortune and woe, sung in a pleasing tenor. In the fantasy realm where Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves takes place, he formerly was a member of a peacekeeping group known as the Harpers. The Harpers worked with the Red Wizards to keep things orderly. One day, he became disenchanted with his role and turned to thievery. For reasons I don’t want to divulge here, his wife was killed by Red Wizards. Edgin turned into a drunk and all-around lousy father, but fortunately for him, a warrior named Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) took pity on him. She decides to help him raise his daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman) for reasons never really made clear. The two are not romantically linked, even though that probably would be the case in any other movie they appeared in. (I also suspect this was done to remain true to the spirit of the D&D game, a favorite of nerds who probably avoid mushy romantic stuff at all costs.)
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Like many movies about drug addiction that have come before, A Good Person asks for our sympathy. To my surprise, it got it without a struggle. It tells the story of Allison (Florence Pugh), a young woman who became addicted to prescription painkillers after a fatal traffic accident. Physically, she seems fine. Allison moves about normally when she chooses to and has no visible scars. Mentally, she’s in an entirely different place. She spends her days in her house with the curtains drawn, lounging around, conspiring ways to obtain a refill of her expired prescription. Her mother Diane (Molly Shannon) pops over unannounced, throws open the curtains and shrilly demands that her daughter get her act together. Nobody ever told Diane that the last thing a drug addict wants is a high-energy pep talk.
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Once upon a time, in a quiet suburb in New Jersey, Burt (Paul Dano) and Mitzi Fabelman (Michelle Williams) take their son Sammy to see his first movie. He’s apprehensive about the experience, so they do their best to explain it to him. For an engineer like Burt, movies are nothing more than a magic trick the projector plays on your brain. Mitzi, a classically trained pianist, says that movies are dreams that you remember. Their views on movies, while worlds apart, are both correct. Sammy didn’t realize it then, but he will spend the rest of his life reconciling the perspectives of his parents on his journey to becoming a Hollywood film director.
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