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‘Captive State’: A Hazy & Fragmented Update on Alien Invasion Sci-Fi

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(2019—Director: Rupert Wyatt)  — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★½ (out of 5 stars)  “Strike the closed zone. Light a match. Ignite a war.” “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”  Potential spoilers below Aliens exist, and they wish to conquer our world. Resist, and the last thing you see before they cause you to burst into a cloud of blood …

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‘Captain Marvel’: An Engaging, If Somewhat Fleeting MCU Throwback Prequel

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(2019—Directors: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★½ (out of 5 stars)     “Name a detail so bizarre a Skrull could never fabricate it.” … “If toast is cut diagonally, I can’t eat it.” — Carol Danvers/Vers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Agt. Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Samuel L. Jackson) Potential spoilers below When Avengers: Infinity …

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‘The Hidden World’: A Sturdy & Rousing Trilogy Finale

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(2018—Director: Dean DeBlois) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★½ (out of 5 stars)     “They don’t have a leader—just a boy.” — Grimmel the Grisly (F. Murray Abraham) on Hiccup, Chief of Berk (Jay Baruchel)  Potential spoilers below Greetings, cinema of 2019! Back in my review for Incredibles 2, I mentioned how the 2008 DreamWorks animated action comedy Kung …

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If Renard Voted for the 91st Academy Awards (2018)

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— by Renard N. Bansale — Potential spoilers below The 91st Academy Awards take place this Sunday. Betting contests on who will win and debates on who should win rage until the moment each category’s presenter reads the card from the sealed envelope. I just stick by my personal picks (strictly from the final list of nominees), accept the presumed …

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Renard’s Top 10 Scenes of 2018 in Cinema

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— by Renard N. Bansale — Definite spoilers below One of my favorite film sites, the B+ Movie Blog, has an annual tradition I greatly appreciate: On the Saturday before the annual Academy Awards, he publishes articles on his five favorite moments from each Best Picture nominee (see here). I love that tradition because he cuts through all the awards …

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Renard’s Top 10 Underrated Films of 2018

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— by Renard N. Bansale — Potential spoilers below It is never the films themselves, but rather the perception of them that is overrated or underrated. Once more, a brief glance at the opposite end of the spectrum: Renard’s 10 Most Overrated Films of 2018: Aquaman (dir. James Wan) Avengers: Infinity War (dir. Anthony Russo & Joe Russo) (review here) …

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Romance Fights to Survive Across the Iron Curtain in ‘Cold War’

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(2018—Director: Paweł Pawlikowski) (watch trailer here) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★★ (out of 5 stars)     “Two hearts, four eyes, oy oy oy. / Crying all day and all night, oy oy oy.” “Believe in yourself.” … “I do. It’s you I don’t believe in.” — Wiktor Warski (Tomasz Kot) and Zuzanna “Zula” Lichoń (Joanna Kulig) Potential spoilers …

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Adam McKay & Christian Bale Storm Through the Fog of Politics in ‘Vice’

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(2018—Director: Adam McKay)  — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★★½ (out of 5 stars)  “You are the President. War is yours.” — Vice President Richard “Dick” Cheney (Christian Bale) to President George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) Potential spoilers below Three years after The Big Short propelled writer-director Adam McKay from comedy auteur of the 2000s to Academy Award-winning fervent …

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‘If Beale Street Could Talk’: Intense Romance Colorfully Blends With Black American Struggle

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(2018—Director: Barry Jenkins) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★★ (out of 5 stars)  “You ready for this?” “I’ve never been more ready for anything in my whole life.” Potential spoilers below Few will forget that infamous moment (see here and here) at the tail end of the 89th Academy Awards. Writer-director Damien Chazelle’s smash musical drama La La Land …