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Godzilla vs. King Kong Review: An Appreciative Look

Slight Spoilers Ahead


We have had “The Thrilla in Manila,” “The Rumble in the Jungle,” “The Brawl in Montreal” and now we have what I’m calling “King of Titans” in “Godzilla vs Kong”!

The fourth installment in the MonsterVerse franchise directed by Adam Wingard packs a titanically large punch (pun intended) when these two giant monsters collide to see who bows to who. Whether you are a fan of Godzilla or Kong entering this film for the first time does not matter. The film will leave you wanting more of each respected titan and will bring a new level of appreciation for them.

From the opening credits of the film the viewer can see the breakdown of the monsterverse, and each fight leading up to Godzilla and Kong facing off for the first time in the franchise. Godzilla is not new to brawling with various other monsters with unique abilities and strengths, but he soon finds out Kong is in a different class all his own.

The experience of such a monumental fight was very nostalgic for me. I can remember being 10-12 years old and loving to see monsters clash with one another. I remember not being able to decide which was my favorite of all the creatures ever imagined, but my top two were definitely Godzilla and Kong.

Before viewing the film, I admit to not having any expectations for it being more than another monster film. That quickly turned once Godzilla was on the screen. 

Even if you have seen the previous movies from the monsterverse, there is something about Godzilla that draws the kid out of you. Seeing him makes you remember his classic roar and his dragon breath and gives you the feeling that Kong will have no chance in this fight since he is known more for defeating titans.

Our favorite titans have to share screen time in this one and could not hog all the glory from the film even though they are the main event. The cast was well rounded but did not give enough of a lift to the film to make it a perfect monster movie.

The classic conspiracy theorists join together to provide some comical relief between what everyone tuned into watch. The film did have a classic villain plotting some secret scheme for the world. Although considering monsters were destroying cities with their earth-shattering fights, I cannot say I blame him for trying to find a way to overpower them and put humanity on top again.

Sadly, this is one thing in the movie I could have done without. I caught myself thinking many times through the film that I could do without the people in it. Unfortunately, that would only make it a 40-minute movie and not a full-length feature.

The story that was built around the fight was a sci-fi adventure which had holes with no explanations. I do want to be fair and say that perfect science was not the main focus and dealing with sci-fi is not always the easiest thing. Still the ideas for the origins of the titans was given a good effort.

Overall the film is worth watching due to its epic battle scenes. The movie moves from fight to fight like a boxing event. Each fight is a round on its own and you can never really tell who will win in the end. You could say you have ringside seats to one of the most action-packed fights of all time. You will find yourself cheering for both combatants and not wanting either to lose because of the heart they both show. 

‘Overboard” Returns with a New Modern Flavor

“Overboard” is a modern retelling of the original ‘80s flick of the same name, but this time with some creative liberties for the younger audience. The plot stays remarkably faithful to the original storyline, even with the new additions.

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Eugenio Derbez and Anna Faris in Overboard

“Overboard” surrounds the family of Kate (Anna Faris), a single mom who struggles with multiple jobs, medical school, and three daughters. On a call to clean up the carpet of a wealthy yacht owner, Kate meets the spoiled man, Leonardo (Eugenio Derbez).

Within a few hours of working on the yacht, Kate and Leo are at ends with each other. In a fit of rage, Leo throws Kate off his boat along with her expensive supplies, leaving her thousands of dollars in debt.

When a tragic accident strikes, Leonardo is abandoned in town with amnesia, prompting Kate to get her revenge. She shows up to the hospital he is staying at and claims Leo as her husband. Thus starts a train of comedic antics with Leo and Kate’s family and friends.

In comparison with the original, “Overboard” takes a larger focus on supporting characters. Where the first film centered on a spoiled woman trying to take care of three rowdy boys, this film follows Leo while he balances both three daughters and his job as a construction worker.

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Mel Rodriguez as Bobby and Eva Longoria as Theresa in Overboard

The more expansive cast makes the whole of characters more connected and entertaining. Kate’s friend Theresa (Eva Longoria) and her husband Bobby (Mel Rodriguez) open up a wide outlet for the family to expand upon. Much of the comedy derived from this film is connected with characters such as Leo’s coworkers.

“Overboard” decided to add the interesting scenario of Leonardo’s extended family. In a rather strange and almost brutal turn of events, Leo’s sister Magdalena (Cecilia Suárez) convinces her family to stop looking for him by faking his death. While it does add a better excuse than the original film’s reason of abandoning the rich woman, Magdalena becomes basically a villain where there really didn’t need to be one.

This movie is successful at bringing the 1987 story to 2018, it is essentially the same exact movie. They have added unique scenarios, such as Leo teaching the youngest daughter Olivia (Alyvia Alyn Lind) to ride a bike, that kept the story feeling fresh. It was even better when they used the bike scenario later in the film as a way to amplify the grief in a scene.

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Eva Longoria as Theresa and Anna Faris as Kate in Overboard

Where the cast as a total did when in connecting with the audience, the character of Kate felt rather lackluster. The original film’s spoiled wife and poor father had a strong chemistry that made their relationship much more meaningful. In contrast, Kate as a person felt much more the spoiled partner than Leo ever did. There could have been better effort done by Anna Faris on expressing Kate’s emotions.

As with the content of “Overboard” on its own, it is a well put together romantic comedy. Where the relationship of Leo and Kate was lacking, it was made up in Leo’s love for his children and friends. The comedy is spot-on most of the time, making interactions enjoyable for the audience. For a continuing remake on a 1987 film, “Overboard” presents itself as a worthy competitor.

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Kurt Russell with Goldie Hawn in Overboard (1987)

‘Ferdinand’ sells light-hearted peace at the right time of year

Animated film shows how to stop fighting, smell the flowers

If you find yourself wanting to see “Star Wars,” but the theater is sold out, consider seeing “Ferdinand.” It is an animated comedy about a lovable, peaceful bull that will have the audience laughing and falling in love with gentle Ferdinand.

Blue Sky Studios (the creators of “Ice Age”) produced “Ferdinand” with a cast that includes John Cena (as the voice of Ferdinand), Kate McKinnon (Lupe), Gina Rodriguez (Una), Anthony Anderson (Bones) and Peyton Manning as Guapa (one of the bulls).

The animated film takes place in Spain and begins with a young Ferdinand carrying a bucket to water a single red flower. The other bulls his age make fun of him and want him to fight, but Ferdinand has no desire to fight.

Like the Disney short film “Ferdinand the Bull," this movie was inspired by the children’s book “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson.

The creators of the film also introduced other heart-warming characters, including a goat, and a little girl, Nina. Nina and Ferdinand develop a friendship much like Fern had with Wilbur in “Charlotte’s Web.”

One of the comedy highlights of the film is a dance-off between some snooty German horses and a group of bulls. Other funny moments including a bull in a china shop scene and Ferdinand playing peek-a-boo with a baby in the town. Other characters that bring comedy to the story are a Scottish bull, Angus, who can’t see because his eyes are covered by his hair, three hedgehogs – Una, Dos and Cuatro – and a goat named Lupe.

Besides just bringing laughter, “Ferdinand” sends a lesson of not judging someone by their appearance.  His reaction to being stung by a bee while in a crowded village has the town convinced that he is a scary beast. After he is taken away from his home, all Ferdinand wants is to go back home to where he can be himself, instead of being what is expected of him just because he is a bull.

The movie also delivers a message of peace. Ferdinand refuses to fight — and while he is the largest and strongest bull on the ranch — he only uses his strength to protect others and to make sure no one is left behind.

Ferdinand’s gentle heart and message of nonviolence, even when the other bulls think that fighting is the only way, is a lesson to us all.

*****

“Ferdinand”
4 out of 4 stars
Rated: PG
Running time: 1 hour, 47 minutes
Cast:  John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Cannavale, Gina Rodriguez, Anthony Anderson and Peyton Manning
Director: Carlos Saldanha

34 years later, ‘Blade Runner’ still develops a cult following

Executive producer Scott, director Villeneuve deliver for the fans

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From producer Ridley Scott and director Denis Villeneuve – BladeRunner 2049, starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford.

34 years later, ‘Blade Runner’ still develops a cult following

"Blade Runner 2049" takes place 30 years after the events of the first cult classic. For “Blade Runner” fans, it delivered masterfully.

Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner for the LAPD, stumbles on a secret during his investigation at the start of the film. What could've been an average "find-and-apprehend-the-suspect" investigation turns into something more when his suspect's final words lead him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who's been missing for 30 years.

In the course of his investigation, Officer K finds a secret about the replicants. Lieutenant Joshi, played by Robin Wright (“House of Cards” and “Forrest Gump”), wants to erase it. If the news ever got out, it can break the world as they knew it. As K struggles to comply with his orders, his conflicting emotions with each new piece of information grows.

Executive producer Ridley Scott, who directed the 1982 original, shows in great detail how the world has changed since fans last saw Deckard. Denis Villeneuve (“Prisoners,” “Arrival,” “Sicario”) directs this installment.  Breathtaking cinematography from Roger Deakins shows a world that is dead — but filled with artificial life. The movie’s soundtrack adds to the surreal landscape, yet ties the original to the sequel with seamless precision.

Hampton Fancher returns as script writer, with Michael Green as partner. Gosling once again proves to be a phenomenal actor despite his recent loss at the Oscars to Casey Affleck. Ford returns to a role that helped put him on the map. This time around, Ford brings it since we all want to know what Deckard has been up to.

Fans of the first “Blade Runner” — no matter which cut they watched — will be more than satisfied with this film. It touches on a new world — with new characters and familiar, returning faces — and fans will love the engaging story behind it. Those divided over the first film might not like this film. They are probably hoping for more action and less time spent on dialogue and character development.

“Blade Runner 2049” is a feast for the eyes. At its core, it resonates with not only the soundtrack and visuals, but emotionally at the heart as well.

Latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” not worth the money

“Dead Men Tell No Tales” effects can’t help writing

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Granted ”Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is not based on any of the true events of the mid-1600s.

Yet, it does shed some light on the period most people do not have much knowledge on.

The fifth movie of the franchise further develops on loose plot points from the previous four films.

This time Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is faced with a conflict from years ago — Spanish Capt. Salazar (Javier Bardem) is this feature’s nemesis as Sparrow tricked him a long time ago to escape.  

“Dead Men Tell No Tales” does not bring the hype as it has before. It is not a terrible movie, just not one to watch for more than the cost of a DVD.

Save your money, folks. 

“Dead Men Tell No Tales” does have some entertaining plot points and dry humor, just not enough to put the newest addition in the standings with the previous films.

Although it does have cameos from the original cast members (Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley) from the first couple of films, it seems to be a forced narrative to bring a full swing back to the beginning.

Who allowed this story to be produced, let alone written? In terms of quality, the CGI effects are very detailed and exquisite, but special effects are not enough to change the tone.

 

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales"

☆ ☆ ½ out of 5

Cast: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Kaya Scodelario, Brenton Thwaites

Directors: Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg

Running time: 2:09

Rated: PG-13 for sequences of adventure violence, and some suggestive content

‘Logan’ faces pain, grief in Jackman’s final movie

Latest installment treats grizzled hero with appropriate seriousness, sincerity

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In this sendoff to Hugh Jackman’s performance as Logan, this film stands tall as not only an exceptional superhero movie, but as an emotional story about people holding close to whatever they has left.

Set in 2029, the story follows a scarred and beaten Logan, also known as Wolverine, as he reluctantly escorts a young girl, Laura (Dafne Keen), and Logan’s old mentor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), across the country, searching for a mutant haven, Eden. This Logan is far more grizzled than ever before, overwhelmed by loss and despair. He suppresses his pain through drinking or evasion from facing his sorrow.

Meanwhile, Logan, Laura, and Charles are being hunted by a corporation who believe they own Laura. Laura is a mutant with Logan’s abilities, who was raised to be a killing machine before she escaped the facility with the help of some nurses. The corporation quickly dispatches its hit squad, led by Pierce (Boyd Holbrook).

The film takes a far more serious and poignant approach with its story and the emotional ramifications the characters endure. Where one superhero film may be light-hearted and inconsequential with its stakes and threats, “Logan” treats death and characters constantly being hunted with far more dramatic impact.

Moviegoers need not to see the past X-Men movies to fully understand the backstory of “Logan.” The film offers plenty of information and dialogue that informs the audience of the events that transpired in the new past.

Charles is a powerful psychic mutant, but is now suffering from Alzheimer's and repeated seizures. Logan looks after Charles, and whenever Charles tries to help Logan confront his pain, Logan tries to brush it off or tell him to stop talking, before the grief overwhelms him. Grief is a key component to “Logan” and one of its many strengths. Characters who try to avoid their problems or face them the wrong way, all learn to let the pain pass through them, and let them keep pushing forward.

One of the few weaker aspects of the movie would be that it is the last film with Wolverine. This becomes a flaw for the future of the franchise given the ambiguity of what exactly happened between the 1980s and now in the new timeline. The previous timeline, which featured the first three X-Men films, had many of the X-Men die because of their war with Magneto.

Now those films have been undone, it is unclear if a mutant war ever happened. The new timeline implies a large scale massacre of mutants through 2029, the movie’s present.

“Logan” is a gripping story and a violent action drama. Film studios should take note that violence and profanity isn’t the sole solution to making superhero films feel refreshing and engaging.

“Logan” is a film that deserves to be R-rated. It benefits the movie by showing the ramifications and stakes the characters must undergo. But if future superhero films follow with R ratings by being violent or profane just for the sake of it, these films will suffer.

The balance is needed between family-friendly and lighthearted and an adult approach to certain stories if the writing calls for it.

“Avengers” films can be more of a joy ride, “Guardians of the Galaxy” films should be witty and sarcastic. But when films such as “Batman v. Superman” actively try to be serious and dreary, they lose the effect of the dramatic moments.

When a film is dark and moody 100 percent of the time, the scenes or moments that should be treated seriously lose their weight, as they are buried in the sea of gray filters and melancholy voices.

“Logan” is one serious film that is appropriately adult. It is dealing with characters who are suffering and hate themselves for who they have become. The film paces itself with heartwarming moments, humorous scenes and layered characters.

“Logan” has set itself high on the scale of superhero films —  that future films should learn from. Its meaning, impact and the appropriate tone, this story about the X-Men’s most iconic hero, gets the treatment it deserves.

Get in theaters and see ‘Get Out’

New horror movie takes terrifying approach to extreme racial issues

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"Get Out" is a fresh thriller written by Jordan Peele, whose story is about an extreme demonstration of racial prejudices.

The film begins with Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a black photographer who is dating a white woman, Rose (Allison Williams), as they pack for a trip to meet Rose’s parents. Soon after their arrival, Chris starts to notice black people acting strangely, along with a multitude of racial micro aggressions from the white community.

Peele’s movie is complete with hypnotism, themes addressing identity and appropriation and ultimately playing on the token “white girlfriend;” simultaneously illustrating the hypocrisy of white people.

This being Peele’s first ever directorial debut. Peele’s intent was to make a twist on the 1975 movie, “The Stepford Wives,” a horror film about a “picturesque” that in truth converted all their women for humanoid robots. “Get Out” features a picturesque family, but the story’s main protagonist discovers a horrific truth. For a comedic writer and director such as Peele to transition from comedies “Key and Peele” and “Keanu,” to a psychological thriller “Get Out,” is risky.

But the risk paid off. Peele’s hyperbolized themes on cultural appropriation and the idolization of black culture emitted laughs and screams from the audience.

When the white people in the town start complimenting Chris on his physique or “overcoming cultural obstacles,” they start to idolize Chris’ race. Not Chris himself, just traits that they lack or desire to steal from him.

Even when Chris was met in a life-threatening situation, one of the white people claimed he was “not like the others. I don’t care about your race.” In a racially motivated scheme to steal Chris’ identity, even the perpetrators are claiming to be race-blind.

Peele successfully blends creepy overtones with Rose’s family and comedic wit from Chris’ friend, Rod. Rod is a Transportation Security Administration agent and quickly smells trouble with Rose. His loyalty and quick instincts ultimately saved Chris from his impending doom and made audiences easily love his character.

One of the black victims in the suburb is Andre or renamed “Logan” (Lakeith Stanfield). Andre was kidnapped in Rose’s neighborhood and was later hypnotized, married to an older white lady, and completely lost himself in the process. Lakeith Stanfield’s performance was outstanding. The quick switches between Andre and Logan was the most impressive example of a soul conflicted, establishing a chilling tone.

"Get Out" recognized unknown actors and talent, delivering eerie reflections on the psychology of racism: placing black people as objects, rather than as human beings. Peele’s dip into the horror genre completely revolutionized the scream scene and has delivered a film ahead of his time.

Revenge is sought, betrayal is executed in ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’

Violent, layered, and action packed, this second instalment further opens up this peculiar world of assassins

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The first “John Wick” was more focused on revenge, and also gave glimpse at an intricate world of hitmen, and how Wick was amongst the deadliest, and characters all around Wick were terrified of him. In the first film, Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), the father of Wick’s target, aptly described him: “John Wick wasn’t exactly the boogeyman, he was the man you sent to kill the boogeyman.”

The intense, visceral action of “John Wick” has become a staple of this new franchise, and the film, more than once, implements clever fight scenes and chases that set these films apart from other, more run-of-the-mill action flicks.

Following the events just weeks after the first “John Wick,” “Chapter 2” pits the legendary assassin against double-crossing contracts, dozens of skilled killers, and shows the audience an even deeper look into the complex world this assassin organization.

One of the most notable aspects of the first “John Wick,” was the fast and smart “gun kata-esque” fight scenes, which “Chapter 2” is far from lacking. “Gun kata” is a fictional term of fluent gunplay mixed with martial arts, that has been seen in movies such as “Equilibrium” (2002), and has been refurbished and grounded in the “John Wick” series. Where “Equilibrium” would have their shooters make impossible shots and unnatural finesse, John Wick uses his close quarters combat and gunplay in a more realistic and visceral way.

Wick will take precise shots at any angle, and able to take down foes through advanced jujitsu before finishing them off, typically with two shots to the head and heart. These scenes are one of the two most fascinating and entertaining things about this new franchise, the second being the unique and layered world of hitmen.

These killers have very strict rules to maintain order between thousands of assassins across the world. Gold coins, for example, are used as a currency amongst the assassins and their resources, and also function as a badge of their status as hitmen, allowing them access to secret areas, munitions, contacts, and more.

John Wick, however, is forced back into action due to one other rule that keeps these killers from chaos: a “Mark.” This special locket represents an obligation between one member to another, and can be initiated whenever the one who offered the “Mark” deems necessary. Wick used the “Mark” to first “get out” of the organization, but he had to do so by striking a deal with Santini D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio).

Wick is fully aware that D’Antonio is an untrustworthy member of the assassin’s organization, who wants to take the seat amongst “the Table,” the leaders of the organization. Each seat is occupied by a representative of each country that has an assassin branch, though D’Antonio desires the seat his father once held, his sister, Gianna (Claudia Gerini), is the one who is about to inherit it. Wick is reluctantly forced to make the deal, and is quickly thrown into a bloodbath, made from those who attempt to stop Wick.

Reeves’s performance is somewhat better than it was in the first movie, mainly because Wick’s dialogue has been shortened to sparse conversation and one-liners. The film wisely takes the route of Wick being a man of action, rarely words. The revenge-double-crossed plot isn’t really new to Hollywood, but the movie’s focus is largely on the world around Wick, and the paths Wick takes to reach his targets.

The first film was a relatively simple revenge story, but what made the narrative interesting was how fully aware everyone around Wick were of how dangerous and relentless he is. Though Wick isn’t as feared as he was in the first film, the fear is replaced with a strange respect and comradery between the assassins, especially towards Wick. Even the assassin, Cassian (Common), who has a recently deepened hate towards Wick, still treats him with professional respect and honor.

“John Wick: Chapter 2” is fully aware of what kind of film it is, and instead of other “self-aware” action films that are obsessed explosions, nonsensical violence, and recycled uninteresting plots, “John Wick” keeps a level-headed pace in action, violence, and story.

‘Yu-Gi-Oh: The Dark Side of Dimensions’ Revitalizes its television counterpart

Old characters make a valiant return with a deck full of new cards

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As the years go by, Seto Kaiba (Eric Stuart) still struggles with his dethroning as the world’s greatest duelist. KaibaCorp has developed a new a new headquarters in space in hopes that Kaiba can complete his chase back to the top. There is one missing piece. The Pharaoh and the millennium puzzle are gone.

Time has passed since Yugi (Dan Green) won the ceremonial duel against Atem to send his spirit back to the spirit world. Along with his friends Joey (Wayne Grayson), Tristan (Greg Abbey), Tea (Amy Birbaum), and Bakura (Ted Lewis), Yugi prepares for life after high school and what they are going to do with their lives. While they finish their education, Kaiba commissions an excavation of the millennium items to find the puzzle so he can bring the pharaoh back to reality.

While the overall story of the movie was enjoyable, it seemed cluttered. The plot of the story could have easily been a whole other season to the television show.

As a fan of the show and the card game, the movie was quite disappointing when it came to the logic of the duel itself. The movie introduced dimension summoning which sounded like a great idea. One problem is they only grazed the surface of how to play the style of dimensions which left people lost as they kept track of the duels and points.

Bringing back the original voices for the characters was brilliant, especially for longtime fans of the franchise. Each actor succeeded in bringing back the life of the characters from the show.

New character Aigami (Daniel J. Edwards) brings an aspect back to Yu-Gi-Oh that hasn’t been prevalent since the Battle City tournament and finals when the pharaoh fought Marik Ishtar. Aigami’s tone was set very early in the movie and kept developing all the way until the final credits.

Overall, Yu-Gi-Oh: The Dark Side of Dimensions is a good movie to watch if you’re a causal fan of the show. For the card game fanatics, this is an average picture. This film is definitely worth watching if you enjoy the great conversations and connection between the original characters.      

“A Series of Unfortunate Events” revitalized in delightfully dark Netflix series

Comedic, strange, and endearing, the latest adaptation of the famous novels offers a unique experience for viewers

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Netflix’s latest original series offers a peculiar adaptation of a quite peculiar book series, and gets it all right. The series follows the three orphaned Baudelaire children: the eldest sibling Violet (Malina Weissman), middle child Klaus (Louis Hynes), and their infant sister, Sunny. Violet is technologically savvy and constantly problem solving through her jerry-rigged inventions, Klaus is the epitome of bookworm, seeing patterns and clues through various notes and texts, while Sunny speaks through baby gibberish which only Violet and Klaus understand, and has four front teeth that allow her to bite through anything in seconds. These children are faced with heartbreak and devastation as they try to survive a world that keeps pulling them from guardian to guardian as they are hunted down by the malicious Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris).

Weissman and Hynes are expressive and believable as two of the three Baudelaire children, they give their characters a certain look of intelligence and perception that was a steady idea readers would have in their mind when reading about the two problem solving. Sunny is given subtitles for her infant murmurs and sounds, which comically adds a strange depth to the child, such as her expertise in poker, and her love for works by composer Tito Puente.

Harris’ performance as the infamous villain Count Olaf is a treat that never gets old. Both intimidating, clumsy, and sarcastic, the sinister character is put in the right hands of the hilarious Harris. It is impressive when an actor is able to portray an evil character who’s also a bad actor. Harris will be consistently cruel and unknowingly goofy, and be able to switch into the poorly acted caricatures that Olaf disguises himself as.

The show has the novels’ signature narration and wordplay reimagined through the investigative observations of Lemony Snicket (Patrick Warburton), himself. His dialogue is weaved to be philosophical, remorseful, and always full of intrigue. Even if Snicket spoils the fate of a character, he only spoils it because the vast majority of the audience can sense such inevitabilities. Meanwhile there seems to be a sort of meta narrative, but less fourth-wall breaking to the real life audience, and more so that Snicket is on his own adventure, which seems to relate to the Baudelaire’s woeful adventures.

One main complaint that can be made isn’t the shows fault at all, just that there are so many dense or incompetent characters who are completely oblivious to the obvious truths the children see. But the story of both the books and the Netflix series uses these annoyingly unhelpful characters to push the children to want to problem solve on their own.

Their family banker Arthur Poe (K. Todd Freeman), shrugs off any revelations or facts the children present to him as simple child imagination, completely unaware of the clear threats in front of him that face the children. This leaves viewers frustrated to the point where fast forwarding seems like a viable option, when sitting through scenes that devote 15 or so minutes that can be summed up as the children saying something true, and the adult characters smiling and saying “Oh you kids and your wild imaginations!”

There’s a balance between writing characters to be purposely incompetent and the scenes remaining engaging, and characters being unbearably incompetent for the audience. But the show handles the characters in such a way that it fully acknowledges how oblivious some characters are, it pokes fun at them, and both Snicket and the Baudelaire children quickly catch on and point out how ridiculous some people are.

Some people argue that making fun of tropes or flaws in a narrative, but still going through with those tropes or flaws can feel contradictory and lazy of the narrative, but in this “Series of Unfortunate Events,” these flaws are used to encourage characters that would be otherwise helpless to make their own decisions and forge their own path as much as they can. With witty narration, effective comedy, and fascinating main characters, Netflix’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is worth the time for this strange story.

‘Hidden Figures’ explores fascinating lives of black women scientists

A recent movie that is bringing light to the real stars of the space race

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Hidden Figures is a romanticized look into the true story of the brilliant minds who sent the United States into space, as well as some of Civil Rights movement’s greatest steps forward.

The movie showcases the careers of three immensely talented African American women working for NASA during the space race of the 1960s. Katherine Johnson was a brilliant mathematician who calculated the safe landing trajectory of the Friendship 7, the first space craft to safely house an American astronaut into and back down from Earth’s orbit. Dorothy Vaughan was the head of the female, “colored calculators,” and lead the programming team with the induction of the computer into NASA. Mary Jackson assisted in the design of multiple shuttles, as well as being one of the first African American’s to study in a segregated, all-white Virginian High School for expanding her engineering degrees.

They each had extensive skill that made them crucial parts of their teams. Through engineering, computer science, and mathematical genius these women proved their worthiness past the shrouds of institutionalized racism inherent in high-level STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields of the time, blazing a trail for non-white women into powerful, professional positions.

During its 127-minute run time, the movie tackles the discrimination experienced by women and people of color brilliantly, examining various levels of prejudice without dehumanizing the people implementing the racist acts. From the dispersed “colored” and “whites” signs that fit eerily in the scenes.

Throughout the film the film-makers tip their Hollywood hats to the effects of Martin Luther King Jr., the Woolworth lunch counter sit-in, and the Freedom Rides. The filmmakers did not use blatant racist attacks like beatings or thrown around slurs that we often see recreated from history, however they highlighted the more roundabout, and subtle ways in which discrimination takes place. This allowed the film a deeper expression of the skewed cultural norms for prejudice of the time.

The biggest downfall of the movie was the short run-time. Though the plot was not distractingly rushed, it barely touches base before moving from one development to the next. For a home-run film like this, the creators could have taken a more leisurely stroll in the lives of these amazing women, and the other important people involved in the first American flights into space.

Vibrantly witty, exceptionally well-acted, and gorgeously filmed, this movie will educate on prior Civil Rights battles while allowing one to recognize the intricacies of the fight for equality.

“Passengers” Introduces Audiences to Unique Sci-Fi Suspense Love Story

Despite controversies surrounding its premise, the film excels in empathy and humanity delivered by the two star-studded leads

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Though "Passengers" has received some backlash for what some see as disturbing themes, the film does handle the subject, the characters controversial actions, and overall narrative and development in an appropriate manner. "Passengers" follows the story of two civilians on board a spaceship transporting them to a distant planetary colony, after a malfunction in the ship, one of them, James “Jim” Preston (Chris Pratt) wakes up from his “hibernation stasis” nearly a century too early.

It isn’t spoiling anything that hasn’t already been shown in the trailers, and widely talked about in the media, to say that Preston makes a difficult decision to wake up another passenger, Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence). A majority of moviegoers and critics alike latched onto this character’s mistake, and the consequences that followed it, and labeled it as bordering on Stockholm Syndrome, where an abducted or captured victim develops a relationship with their captor, mostly along the lines of the romantic. But this is not the case for these two condemned "Passengers".

Preston had been alone on the ship for over a year, almost losing his mind in the isolation and repetition of his life aboard the limited vessel. He first tried to get back into “hibernation” but his pod wouldn’t function, along with other multiple attempts to put himself back asleep, he accepted his fate early on, to die alone on the ship. After hanging out at the bar with the android bartender, Arthur (Michael Sheen), going to every expensive restaurant of every nationality, playing games, and exploring the outside of the ship while tethered in a spacesuit, Preston became miserable and almost suicidal at his doomed life.

When Preston makes his choice, he doesn’t make it on a whim, he contemplates, he refuses to do it, he weighs every option, and still continues to try to refuse the idea. But, knowing he is making a huge mistake and destroying this person’s future, he awakens Miss Lane.

The performances are particularly impressive by the limited cast, showing audiences a range and variety of emotions that had never truly been portrayed by the leads Pratt and Lawrence. Pratt usually plays a sarcastic, wise cracking, smart mouth as seen from his performance in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Jurassic World (2015), and the Magnificent Seven (2016). But here Pratt portrays a conflicted and desperate man with a heart of gold: when he’s happy he looks genuinely joyful, when he’s going through a range of conflicting emotions, you see it on every inch of his face, every delivery of his lines.

Though "Passengers" has received some backlash for what some see as disturbing themes, the film does handle the subject, the characters controversial actions, and overall narrative and development in an appropriate manner. "Passengers" follows the story of two civilians on board a spaceship transporting them to a distant planetary colony, after a malfunction in the ship, one of them, James “Jim” Preston (Chris Pratt) wakes up from his “hibernation stasis” nearly a century too early.

It isn’t spoiling anything that hasn’t already been shown in the trailers, and widely talked about in the media, to say that Preston makes a difficult decision to wake up another passenger, Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence). A majority of moviegoers and critics alike latched onto this character’s mistake, and the consequences that followed it, and labeled it as bordering on Stockholm Syndrome, where an abducted or captured victim develops a relationship with their captor, mostly along the lines of the romantic. But this is not the case for these two condemned "Passengers".

Preston had been alone on the ship for over a year, almost losing his mind in the isolation and repetition of his life aboard the limited vessel. He first tried to get back into “hibernation” but his pod wouldn’t function, along with other multiple attempts to put himself back asleep, he accepted his fate early on, to die alone on the ship. After hanging out at the bar with the android bartender, Arthur (Michael Sheen), going to every expensive restaurant of every nationality, playing games, and exploring the outside of the ship while tethered in a spacesuit, Preston became miserable and almost suicidal at his doomed life.

When Preston makes his choice, he doesn’t make it on a whim, he contemplates, he refuses to do it, he weighs every option, and still continues to try to refuse the idea. But, knowing he is making a huge mistake and destroying this person’s future, he awakens Miss Lane.

The performances are particularly impressive by the limited cast, showing audiences a range and variety of emotions that had never truly been portrayed by the leads Pratt and Lawrence. Pratt usually plays a sarcastic, wise cracking, smart mouth as seen from his performance in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Jurassic World (2015), and the Magnificent Seven (2016). But here Pratt portrays a conflicted and desperate man with a heart of gold: when he’s happy he looks genuinely joyful, when he’s going through a range of conflicting emotions, you see it on every inch of his face, every delivery of his lines.

Preston’s a human being who makes mistakes and knows he is, and he has to live with the pressing regret, and audience’s both hate and feel sorry for the character. Would anyone else make this kind of decision? In that kind of scenario, knowing they’d either go insane, die alone, or commit suicide, Preston’s choice is pretty understandable, and there’s a unique sympathy and empathy that is rarely, in film, this tough to feel towards the movie’s benefit. So Preston chooses to do what he selfishly wanted because he’s a human and makes mistakes.

Lawrence has shown some acting chops in the past, ranging from the disturbed mind of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games (2012), the sporadic and bipolar Tiffany from Silver Lining’s Playbook (2012), to her somber and stern portrayal of Mystique in X-Men First Class (2011). This time around Lawrence’s character, Lane, is a humorous, knowledgeable, and well-spoken individual. As her character develops and her feelings towards Preston swerve back and forth, Lawrence delivers a convincing range of expression and attitude that sets the tone for every scene that faithfully follows Lane’s current, and empathetic, mood.

The controversies of "Passengers" would have been understandable if it weren’t for the movie’s self-awareness of its premise, humanizing Preston’s poor decisions and Lane’s varying changes of heart; and the rich dynamic between these two characters and the film’s two leads.

The ending to "Passengers" felt a little too pleasant. To describe the feelings of the very end of the film without spoiling it: Preston’s decision of a selfish and condemning choice at the beginning of the story, should have concluded with him making a selfless and redeeming choice. The ending wasn’t bad in any way, it was actually quite heartwarming and unexpected, but an ironic hero sacrifice would have felt more appropriate. Besides that, the rest of the film is intriguing, the performances are spectacular, and the story is believable.

Preston’s a human being who makes mistakes and knows he is, and he has to live with the pressing regret, and audience’s both hate and feel sorry for the character. Would anyone else make this kind of decision? In that kind of scenario, knowing they’d either go insane, die alone, or commit suicide, Preston’s choice is pretty understandable, and there’s a unique sympathy and empathy that is rarely, in film, this tough to feel towards the movie’s benefit. So Preston chooses to do what he selfishly wanted because he’s a human and makes mistakes.

Lawrence has shown some acting chops in the past, ranging from the disturbed mind of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games (2012), the sporadic and bipolar Tiffany from Silver Lining’s Playbook (2012), to her somber and stern portrayal of Mystique in X-Men First Class (2011). This time around Lawrence’s character, Lane, is a humorous, knowledgeable, and well-spoken individual. As her character develops and her feelings towards Preston swerve back and forth, Lawrence delivers a convincing range of expression and attitude that sets the tone for every scene that faithfully follows Lane’s current, and empathetic, mood.

The controversies of "Passengers" would have been understandable if it weren’t for the movie’s self-awareness of its premise, humanizing Preston’s poor decisions and Lane’s varying changes of heart; and the rich dynamic between these two characters and the film’s two leads.

The ending to "Passengers" felt a little too pleasant. To describe the feelings of the very end of the film without spoiling it: Preston’s decision of a selfish and condemning choice at the beginning of the story, should have concluded with him making a selfless and redeeming choice. The ending wasn’t bad in any way, it was actually quite heartwarming and unexpected, but an ironic hero sacrifice would have felt more appropriate. Besides that, the rest of the film is intriguing, the performances are spectacular, and the story is believable.

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