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“Fab” Fantasy Gives Way to Sweet Yet Average Romance in ‘Yesterday’

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(2019—Director: Danny Boyle) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★ (out of 5 stars) “A world without The Beatles is a world that’s infinitely worse.” — Liz (Sarah Lancashire) to Jack Malik (Hamish Patel)  Potential spoilers below Ever since the summer of 2000, I have loved The Beatles. They were the only music I listened …

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‘Dark Phoenix’: A Pitiful Farewell for Fox 2000’s X-Men Franchise

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(2019—Director: Simon Kinberg) — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★½ (out of 5 stars) “You’re not like the other doctors.” … “No, and you’re not like the other patients.” — Young Jean Grey (Summer Fontana) and Prof. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) Potential spoilers below Ever since the release of the first film back in …

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‘King of the Monsters’: Titan Duels Space Out Bloated Human Drama

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(2019—Director: Michael Dougherty) — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★½ (out of 5 stars) “You’re a monster.”  “If I had the two of you as parents, I would’ve run away from home too.” — Chief Warrant Officer Jackson Barnes (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.) to Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) and Dr. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) …

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John Wick vs. the Assassin Underworld in ‘Ch. 3—Parabellum’

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(2019—Director: Chad Stahelski) — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★★½ (out of 5 stars) “Si vis pacem, para bellum.” — Winston (Ian McShane) “There are rules. They are the only thing that separate us—” “—from the animals.” — The Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) and Winston (Justice Smith) Potential spoilers below In 2014, actor Keanu …

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‘Pokémon: Detective Pikachu’s’ Serviceable Mystery Shows Promise for the Future

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(2019—Director: Rob Letterman) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★ (out of 5 stars) “Should I talk about the fact that your childhood bed is a Pikachu bed? … “It’s a coincidence.” … “I’ve never been so flattered and creeped out at the same time.” — Det. Pikachu (voiced and facial motion captured by Ryan …

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‘Long Shot’: Fair Rom-Com Chemistry Soon Gives Way to Lazy Vulgarity

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(2019—Director: Jonathan Levine) — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★½ (out of 5 stars) “Is he high?” … “He is wasted, and he’s also just stupid.” — U.S. Secretary of State Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), to staffer Maggie Millikin (June Diane Raphael), regarding Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen)  Potential spoilers below Director Jonathan Levine spent …

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Confronting Loss With Kindness & Service to Others in ‘Okko’s Inn’

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(2019—Director: Kitarō Kōsaka) — by Renard N. Bansale — Low ★★★★ (out of 5 stars) “Hananoyu’s hot spring water rejects no one.” — Grandmother/Obā-chan Mineko Seki (Harumi Ichiryûsai, dubbed by Glynis Ellis) to granddaughter Oriko “Okko” Seki (Seiran Kobayashi, dubbed by Madigan Kacmar) Potential spoilers below In the list of directors perceived as “the next …