BlacKkKlansman

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The true story of Ron Stallworth, an African-American detective who sets out to infiltrate and expose the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

Spike Lee returns to form with the most culturally relevant film of the year that’s also a unique and compelling story on its own. This insane true story is told with dark humor but also resonance by the end. John David Washington makes a name for himself as Stallworth who is charismatic but also courageous and warmhearted. Adam Driver also stands out as the Jewish officer who takes on the task of infiltrating the Klan using Stallworth’s name. Lee makes the writing humorous but also very dramatic and affecting at times, as well as some suspense when the undercover cops are trying to keep their identities concealed. All these reactions — laughs, emotion, and thrills — are all blended perfectly to create this powerful biopic that won’t lose your attention until the end. Even though a couple scenes are written out too long and could’ve used less screentime, the movie knows when to pace itself well and keep you guessing at what will happen next. Not only is the production great as well as the main cast and Lee’s stylish and memorable direction, but also the themes the movie has that apply to the past as well as the present. The final moments of the film will leave you shaken at the consequences of ignorant hate that is still seen today, and maybe we can take away a message from this film about how we should treat those of another race or ethnicity fairly. With BlacKkKlansman, Lee not only crafts a dark and humorous story that’s engaging throughout, but will also leave an impact with its depiction of the issues our country (and our world) still faces today. With this movie’s theme of showing how we must let go of our hate and treat everyone equally, Lee has achieved relevance on a level higher than any filmmaker this year. That is why BlacKkKlansman, though not the best film of the year, should be seen by all and not be missed while it’s on the big screen.

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Sorry to Bother You

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In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a universe of greed.

Sorry to Bother You marks the directorial debut of Boots Riley, who offers his unique voice to a world crowded with single-genre pictures meant to please a wider audience. Riley knows how to make a film his own and dive into many genres, like dark comedy and character-driven drama. He offers dialogue that doesn’t hold back on being extremely dark and bizarre yet humorous and entertaining. The movie gets so weird that eventually everyone will just have to sit back and enjoy whatever new ideas the director throws at you. This is a film that knows when it’s okay to move outside the lines of regular filmmaking and screenwriting, and try something new. Lakeith Stanfield was able to yell the titular phrase in the movie Get Out is now in the spotlight as the lead role of Cassius. He’s skilled, talented, and keeps the viewer into the film with his wide range that he brings into Cassius. Tessa Thompson once again proves herself as Cassius’ fiance Detroit and Armie Hammer has a phenomenal supporting role that’s hilarious and full of energy. The music is vivid and adds another layer to the film, and the writing is always unexpected and engaging. The movie knows when to be impactful, haunting, and thrilling but at the same time doesn’t take itself too seriously and still completely works on both aspects. While this movie is very unique, some may not like this movie or find the insane aspects to be laughable. It’s not a film for everyone, but thankfully my audience loved it so maybe you will too. Sometimes the ideas in different acts of the story don’t really act together to present a common goal or clearly feel interconnected, but I still enjoyed Sorry to Bother You from start to finish. It’s odd and nonsensical but presents itself as a deep story about people living in the modern world, and about the love, hate, hard work, and statements these people express every day.

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Mission: Impossible – Fallout

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Ethan Hunt and the IMF must race against time to prevent global chaos after a mission gone wrong.

What most action franchises are missing by the sixth installment is the jaw-dropping thrills, and wracking action sequences and the passion and dedication from a lead star that Tom Cruise still delivers after 22 years. Like expected from this series, the action is like nothing before, with realistic stunts requiring little to no computer generated effects that only a star like Cruise would be willing to pull off. Whether it’s on a motorcycle, helicopter, or jumping off a plane, Cruise’s love for authenticity pays off and every scene is not only shot unbelievably and must be watched on an enormous screen, but the suspense and incredible sound editing will keep you on the edge of your seat. Tom Cruise achieves what no action star would achieve, let alone at age 56, and not only does he leave a mark with his name in action history, but the writing for his character is better than it was before in the series. Henry Cavill is a great addition to the franchise who has notable chemistry with Cruise and a very well-written character. Simon Pegg is once again great comic relief, and Ving Rhames is a memorable supporting character who’s been in these movies for as long as Cruise has. Rebecca Ferguson is also a pleasing return from Rogue Nation and so is Alec Baldwin as the new secretary of the IMF.

Director Christopher McQuarrie, who returns from the previous installment, once again proves that he’s got a terrific realization of the scale and excitement of the Mission: Impossible franchise and delivers top-notch fights that will glue your eyes to the screen throughout the whole runtime, even though some moments don’t reach the heights of Cruise climbing the Burj Khalifa or holding onto a plane in the previous movies. The story is filled with twists and turns that will keep you guessing. However, my main problem with the film is also in the story — it often borrows too much from the 5th movie, Rogue Nation. For example, Solomon Lane returns after being the main villain from the last movie, but nothing new is done with his character to make his return feel necessary. However, the exciting action is what has made this series so much fun over so many years and is why fans of Cruise and the genre should not miss this one on the big screen.

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