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‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’: A Spirited Comic Book Sequel

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(2017—Director: James Gunn) ★★★ 1/2  (out of 5 stars) The first Guardians of the Galaxy came out in August of 2014. It surprised many with its playful tone and the charisma of its ensemble. With James Gunn returning to write and direct, the sequel (subtitled Vol. 2) delivers the same characters and amps up the …

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Love in the Time of Genocide: ‘The Promise’ Review

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(2017—Director: Terry George) ★★★ (out of 5 stars) For much of his career, Irish writer-director Terry George drew from his experiences of the Irish “Troubles” to craft absorbing tales of perseverance in an oppressive landscape. This ranges from Daniel Day-Lewis and Pete Postlethwaite getting framed and imprisoned for a crime they didn’t commit in 1993’s …

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

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(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 …

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The Perils of Corporate Omniscience: The Circle Review

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(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 …

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The Challenges of Parenthood: ‘Gifted’ Review

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(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 …

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

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(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 …

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

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(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 …

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

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(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 …

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

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(2017- Director: Bill Condon) ★★★ (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 …

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‘Logan’: Hugh Jackman’s Send-Off as Wolverine

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(2017- Director: James Mangold) ★★★ 1/2 (out of 5 stars) Many have credited 2000’s X-Men for spearheading the second generation of comic book cinema that has largely taken over the entertainment industry today. Moviegoers acquainted themselves with other comic book properties arriving on the big screen while also making successful the eight succeeding X-Men installments. …