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Shakespeare’s final days, directed & starring Kenneth Branagh. A true art film detailing his painful life after Globe Theater burned. A man grieving for his son, pining for another man & struggling with a loveless family. Such great sadness. Great acting, the story kinda soft. B

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The last X-Men film before Disney grabs the reins. The story of Jean Grey’s rescue of a space shuttle in distress & its repercussions. Add in an albino alien Jessica Chastain & you’ve got a mess on your hands. Not a great X-Men movie but not the worst either. Just okay…C+

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Two Oscar winners & an Oscar nominee star in this dark violent & disturbing movie about a woman who invites town kids to her basement for underage drinking. She gets creepier & creepier and then the film goes off the rails in a very bad way. Huge waste of talent & my time. D

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Brilliant bio-pic about one of our greatest music stars. Edgerton is fantastic as Elton John & his singing voice is just fine. A brave performance for sure. Hyper-reality shows crazy life full of addictions but also great music and plenty of flamboyant craziness. B+

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Ear shattering & mind-numbing sequel of sorts to 2014 film. B-list cast (including the Verizon guy!!) does the best they can. Seventeen of these giant creatures are being hunted by one group and trying to be saved by another. A paper-thin plot for sure. Loud & stupid. D

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Guy Riche (?) directs Will Smith & an unknown cast in this adaptation of an animated classic. Lots of $$ spent on special effects, very little on the story. Tone deaf songs & scenes that might be too much for younger viewers. Only the princess, Smith & flying carpet were good. C+

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Unheard of movie, w/ unknown stars deservedly getting critical praise. Compared to Superbad, it tells the story of 2 brainiac high school girls who’ve worked hard to find that even those that didn’t, succeeded! One last chance for fun takes great twists & raunchy turns. B+

Only On HULU

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CATCH 22 on Hulu gives us an updated version of the classic Heller novel with assists from George Clooney in front of, and behind, the camera. I’m over halfway through & like it a lot, though dark. Hope to finish it tonight in time to review on Murph & Andy tomorrow afternoon. “A”

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The 3rd installment of an unlikely trilogy gives us another high body count, endless amounts of ammunition beautifully choreographed violence & ever so sparse dialogue. I missed even a small amount of story. Same old, same old but nothing new here. Even Halle Berry didn’t help! B

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If you think you know Dr Ruth, you don’t. ASK DR. RUTH is a fascinating look at an incredible woman who survived the holocaust, was an early proponent of abortion rights, homosexuality and she educated most of the world about sex. A great story and very well told. An easy A!

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Leave your brain at home for this one. A dull & unfunny movie that will remind you of a far better film, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Competing con artists team up & hijinks follow. Slapstick & stupid jokes don’t work. Sue laughed more than she should have! Waste of Hathaway. C- 

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Dennis Quaid’s career might have ended for those unfortunate enough to see this movie. A young couple buy a home from Creepy Quaid who seems intent on showing up everyday. Then he goes over the edge, killing people & trying to rape the wife. Disturbing and disgusting. Don’t! D

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A crazy plan to build a fiber line between KC and Wall St to get trading info a fraction of a second early to makes for a nice premise but it fails to tell a compelling story. This could’ve been a fun caper film but the writing & direction fall short & waste a talented cast. C+

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The freaky pairing of Rogen & Theron in a romantic comedy gives us the year’s first laugh-out-loud comedy. A hard R for the language but damned funny. She is Sec. of State and ready to run for President. She used to babysit Rogen and hires him as her scriptwriter. So wrong. B+

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No offense to Fr. Tom in Guthrie Center but the Easter weekend ended on the highest note w/ this long lost, never released ‘ 72 concert film. A great reminder of the talent we lost last year. One of our greatest singers, at her peak singing the gospel music she loved. Wow! A

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The “almost” ending to the most epic film series ever (22 movies over 11 years)! A very, very good film that balances action, grief & strong humor brilliantly. Nice touches from Hulk, Iron Man Captain America, Thor, the women of Marvel & the kitchen sink. Good not Great. B+

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Many Christian films are not that great, but this one is top-notch. With a strong true story & a B-level cast, everyone brings their A-game. In 2015 a middle schooler fell through the ice on a pond & suffered catastrophic injuries but amazingly survives. Powerful. Kleenex! A

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In a nutshell, the new Hellboy…Hell No! I liked the first two movies a few years ago but this new version is over the top bloody, violent & sick. Trying too hard to be hip & funny but the tone just falls flat. Stupid story, horrible fx plus disturbing & disgusting ending. F

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My high hopes for this reboot were dashed early. Run-of-the-mill horror film w/ a few nice scares & some disturbing creepiness. Clarke is excellent as the dad & Lithgow effective as the neighbor who knows the secret. Reviewed the original 4/22/89 with 7 out of 10. This time a C-!

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Yet another excellent, thoughtful look at the ugliness of racism. Rockwell & Henson take what could’ve been “not so great” and take it to a high level. Both are fantastic. In the crazy world, we live in, it’s nice to see a movie with strong values and a well-told story. A

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The intersection of chick flick & art house film, the strong cast & well-told story makes this a thumbs up for me. Set in Hamburg during WWII cleanup, Brits Clarke & Knightley take over a German architect’s home but allow him to stay. An inevitable love triangle ruins the fun. B

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Disappointed by this new version. It’s like Disney & Tim Burton tried too hard to make it bigger than it needs to be. Starting w/ the cast…Keaton (not good), DeVito, Farrell, Eva Green & Alan Arkin?! This is Dumbo. It’s a simple story at heart. Good movie but not great. B

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Dev Patel stars as a man hired to kidnap a soon-to-be bride & return her to a former boyfriend in THE WEDDING GUEST. A taut thriller that takes several unexpected twists & manages to entertain from start to finish. Probably not in town for long so hurry to see it. A-

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With low expectations, Alita surprised me. Set in 2563 after the “Fall,” Alita, a cyborg, is pulled from a trash heap & rehabbed. This entirely computer-generated character is excellent. If the storytelling could equal technology, it’d be great. Still good. B.

Top Box Office (US)

The weekend of June 14-16, 2019

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‘Men in Black’ & ‘Shaft’ Become Latest

Summer Sequels to Disappoint

It was another disappointing weekend for a pair of new sequels as both Sony’s Men in Black International and WB’s Shaft were both unable to reach even the slimmest of studio expectations heading into the weekend. The weekend is down significantly compared to last year when Incredibles 2 bowed with a record-shattering $182.6 million opening and next weekend will turn to Pixar once again, looking to Toy Story 4 to turn the tide.

Sony’s release of Men in Black International debuted with a disappointing $28.5 million from 4,224 locations. By comparison, this is the lowest opening in the franchise by over $20 million as all three of the previous installments opened with over $51 million. The $110 million production joins a slew of recently released sequels to not only under-perform based on pre-weekend expectations but severely under-performing based on previous films in the franchise. Entering the weekend the film received mostly negative reviews and opening day audiences gave the film a “B” CinemaScore, which is hardly a ringing endorsement. The film played to an opening weekend crowd that was 56% male with 53% of the overall audience coming in aged 25 or older.

Murder Mystery 

PG-13

Drama/Mystery ‧ 1h 37m

A New York cop and his wife go on a European vacation to reinvigorate the spark in their marriage. A chance encounter leads to them being framed for the murder of an elderly billionaire.
Release date: June 14, 2019 (USA)
Directors: Kyle Newacheck, Anne Fletcher
Production company: Happy Madison Productions
Screenplay: James Vanderbilt
Producers: Adam Sandler, James Vanderbilt, Allen Covert, Beau Flynn, James D. Stern, Tripp Vinson

 

The Highlight’s of Some Movies Opening Around the Country

The Week of June 17, 2019

Check your local listings to see what movies are opening around you!

Toy Story 4

Certificate G 100 min   –   Animation | Adventure | Comedy | Family | Fantasy

When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.

Director: Josh Cooley

Stars: Keanu Reeves, Christina Hendricks, Tom Hanks, Jordan Peele

Child's Play

Certificate R 90 min   –   Horror

A mother gives her son a toy doll for his birthday, unaware of its more sinister nature.

Director: Lars Klevberg

Stars: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Hamill, Gabriel Bateman, Brian Tyree Henry

Anna

Certificate R 119 min   –   Action | Thriller

Beneath Anna Poliatova’s striking beauty lies a secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill to become one of the world’s most feared government assassins.

Director: Luc Besson

Stars: Sasha Luss, Helen Mirren, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

Certificate PG-13 119 min   –   Documentary

This artful and intimate meditation on the legendary storyteller examines her life, her works and the powerful themes she has confronted throughout her literary career.

Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Stars: Toni Morrison, Hilton Als, Oprah Winfrey, Russell Banks

A Great Place To Watch A Movie Around Des Moines, Iowa