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‘Alien: Covenant’—Michael Fassbender(s) Steals the Show

(2017—Director: Ridley Scott) ★★★ 1/2  (out of 5 stars) (Potential spoilers below) 2017 marks the fortieth year in the career of celebrated director Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, The Martian). Scott at the moment appears to devote the majority of his interests and seasoned talents in returning to the roots of Alien, his 1979 commercial breakthrough, through a more intelligent …

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Family and Heartbreak: ‘This Is Us’ Review

— By Carly Twehous — Randall is a moderately successful lawyer, with a wife, two daughters, and an estranged, terminally ill biological father who’s now living in the guest bedroom. Kevin is the dreamer of improbable dreams, whose face is plastered on every billboard across America, but loses a piece of his soul every time he steps in front of …

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Too Little, Too Late: 13 Reasons Why

— By Carly Twehous — [Warning for spoilers and discussion on suicide.] Since it hit Netflix last month, 13 Reasons Why has been a subject of debate, discussion, and deliberation among both critics and the general audiences. Whether negative or positive, 13 Reasons has caused quite a stir, given its graphic depiction of suicide in the final episode. School districts …

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The Perils of Corporate Omniscience: The Circle Review

(2017—Director: James Ponsoldt) ★★ (out of 5 stars) One of The Circle’s first trailers, released last December, starts off with a modified version of the scene in which Emma Watson’s character undergoes an interview for a job at the titular Internet corporation. The interviewer presses her, “You’re most scared of…?” to which she replies, “Unfulfilled potential.” In that case, the …

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The Challenges of Parenthood: ‘Gifted’ Review

(2017—Director: Marc Webb) ★★★ (out of 5 stars)   Parenthood is difficult, especially on where a parent should steer their young children, given the talents they have begun to show. Do parents raise their children in a conventional way or do they throttle them towards the first talent they recognize or one that runs in the family? Is the correct …

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A Monster House…in Space! – ‘Life’ Review

(2017—Director: Daniel Espinosa) ★★★ (out of 5 stars) With the Alien franchise delivering a new installment in a few months and just a few years removed from the emotional and visual roller-coaster that was 2013’s Gravity, I felt positive about this new ensemble sci-fi thriller directed by Swedish director Daniel Espinosa (Safe House, Child 44). It boasts an international ensemble cast, …

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A Pleasant Surprise: ‘The Case for Christ’ Stands out Among Christian Films

(2017—Director: Jon Gunn) ★★★ (out of 5 stars) Preachy, typically fideistic stories with unrestrained acting and incompetent filmmaking are often the norms in Christian films. As such, they easily become the fodder of mainstream and high-brow filmgoers, discouraging Christians worldwide. Fortunately, this is mostly not the case with The Case for Christ, a biographical drama about its real-life protagonist—today a Christian …

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With Great Power: ‘Daredevil’ Season One Review

–By Carly Twehous– “I’m not seeking forgiveness for what I’ve done, Father,” Matt Murdock intones in the dark confessional. “I’m asking forgiveness for what I’m about to do.” Such a statement carries a profound desire to do what is right, coupled with a bleak acknowledgement of a world that perverts even the most noble intentions. Matt Murdock is a blind …

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Freedom Lies Beyond the Zoo: ‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’ Review

(2017—Director: Niki Caro) ★★★ (out of 5 stars) The Holocaust film is an example of a subgenre whose towering signature work arguably set an insurmountable bar for future similar works. Say “Holocaust film” and nine out of ten people will immediately think of the 1993 Best Picture-Oscar winning drama Schindler’s List, which many would argue no later Holocaust film has matched. …

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Ever Just the Same, Barely a Surprise: ‘Beauty & the Beast’ Review

(2017- Director: Bill Condon) ★★★1/2 (out of 5 stars) Reviewing films like this remake of Disney’s 1991 animated classic tends to frustrate me as a film critic who desires for films to stand as apart as possible while also cementing a unique footprint within all of cinema. That’s a tough outlook, especially since the success of 2010’s Alice in Wonderland and …