Deadpool 2

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Ryan Reynolds returns as the Merc with a Mouth, who this time must defend a young mutant from a time-traveling soldier named Cable. Deadpool 2 offers more laughs, fourth wall breaks, and action than the first film, and pays off almost as well. The first film was definitely a game-changer for R-rated blockbusters and superhero films and didn’t flinch to go for all the laughs and content it had too. This time we’re reminded once again why Ryan Reynolds is so great as Deadpool, and the R-rating and comedic style definitely pay off. Deadpool constantly makes references to other movies and always reminds us that we’re watching a superhero movie, poking fun at the structure and familiar faces from other films in the genre. Reynolds always delivers as the comedic mercenary who he was born to play. He won’t only make you crack up every minute, but he’s also got an emotional arc in this movie which without a doubt works. If you loved Josh Brolin as the menacing but layered CGI villain Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, then he isn’t finished fighting supeheroes this year yet — here he plays Cable, who is also given a strong motive (as well as a CGI arm) and Deadpool even pokes fun at the fact that he feels straight out of a Terminator movie. I wouldn’t say he’s as good as Thanos, but Cable definitely shows his strength in battle and that he’s got emotional motivation too. Another standout is Zazie Beetz as Domino, who’s superpower is that she’s lucky. I know that sounds laughable on paper (Deadpool even calls it “not cinematic enough”), but wait until you see her in action. Also expect some funny and unexpected cameos, some you may catch and some are so brief you may miss them.

Deadpool 2 definitely tries what most sequels try — bring back what made the first film great and up the ante. Most of the time this works, and I’d even say a lot of the aspects of the film are better than the first movie. The development for the main character of Deadpool and of the themes and story overall work better than the first movie (which was great but had the somewhat familiar origin story formula), and the directing and characters work better this time around for the most part. It’s also definitely funnier than the first movie, even though a few jokes go on for a little too long, there are many lines that will have the entire audience bursting into laughter. Sometimes the script and pacing feel a little uneven, but in the end you can forgive that because of the purely over-the-top and insane fun you’ll end up having. Whether or not you follow the X-Men universe, the Deadpool movies offer a unique feel to the superhero genre and do not flinch to be as raunchy as they want to be. Audiences will definitely have a fun time with Deadpool 2, as Reynolds brings back all the fun we wanted from the character, with great laughs, action, pop culture references, and enjoyment like we loved in the first movie, and also remember to watch the mid-credits scene that’s funnier than any of the other Marvel post-credits scenes.

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Avengers: Infinity War

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Six years ago, at the age of 10, I started this website, hoping to share my love of movies with the world, and my first review was for a film I had recently watched and loved — that film was The Avengers. I can’t believe it’s been so long since then, and growing up with this franchise, it’s amazing to see how it’s grown from 6 superheroes fighting an alien army to the extraordinary team-up of Infinity War. Marvel has always been my favorite film studio around, as their blockbusters always astound viewers and bring us together a few times a year. Their movies have rocked my world and are the reason I got so into action and superhero blockbusters. And after 10 years and 18 films, the buildup of the Marvel universe has finally paid off as Thanos begins his journey to find all 6 Infinity Stones in order to wipe out half the universe. If you’re not familiar with any of Marvel’s movies, don’t count on the film to help you catch up, and it doesn’t only require you to watch The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, it also brings together the events of Captain America: Civil WarGuardians of the GalaxyDoctor StrangeThor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther. The cast is exceptional, as they are in every Marvel movie — Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, and Chris Pratt all reprise their roles (among many others) as the heroes who have become among my favorite film characters through the decade. It’s plenty of fun to see these characters interact — particularly those who meet for the first time, such as Iron Man and Doctor Strange, Thor and the Guardians, and Spider-Man and Star-Lord. Like I said, many plot details involve knowledge from the previous film so I strongly recommend you watch all the previous Marvel films before watching this one. The humor is also a big part of many Marvel movies and here it once again doesn’t disappoint. Every member of the enormous cast does an excellent job bringing their characters back to the big screen, but the standout is the one we haven’t seen much of before — Josh Brolin as Thanos. Thanos is not only a threatening villain but also a complex one who is developed thoroughly and isn’t just another CGI alien trying to get control of the universe. He also shows complex emotions and sees his actions not as acts of villainy, but acts of sacrifice to save the universe.

The action is always spectacular, with gorgeous visuals and setting painting the screen in every shot. The stakes are always high for the Avengers and the fate of humanity, and the unpredictability takes the film to surprising places. Many have criticized Marvel’s villain problems or lack of risk-taking, but their villains this year — both Thanos and Killmonger — have become the best in their universe, and Infinity War may be the biggest risk ever taken for a blockbuster. Years of buildup over so many films — it could have gone wrong early on if any of their movies failed — but so much faith and effort was put into this project and it pays off perfectly. None of it feels unbalanced or crowded, and though my one complaint is that a few of my favorite characters ended up getting no development, and a few of the arcs from the previous films weren’t quite carried on, it’s forgivable because of how much action is already going on and how the main focus of the film is developing the villain. Infinity War is so much to take in not just because it’s different from any Marvel movie, but because it’s different from any movie that’s been released before in cinemas. With Infinity War, Marvel will not only have fans clapping and cheering, like I found myself doing in many of the awesome moments in the film, but they also break ground in the opportunities of high-budget filmmaking and create something truly unique for audiences to enjoy. Not to mention that incredible and shocking ending that’s one of the most brilliant cliffhangers in cinema history.

Avengers: Infinity War is not only another step up for Marvel, but also an achievement for Hollywood and action films that’s bigger than anything a studio has produced before. The gripping conflict, action, visuals, and entertaining cast and humor will satisfy all who have been waiting for so long, and assembles the world’s favorite movie characters for an epic battle you won’t forget.

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A Quiet Place

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This apocalyptic horror film focuses on a family who is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound. Starring in the main roles are John Krasinski (also the director of the film) as the father of the family, and Emily Blunt (his real-life wife) as the mother. With A Quiet Place, Krasinski not only crafts a great edge-of-your-seat thriller with plenty of scares for wide audiences and horror fans to enjoy, but also makes excellent use of suspense with the sound, directing, and acting. Every noise is made to feel loud enough to pose a threat and surprise us at certain moments, and the sound editors knew very well which sounds they needed to make louder than others and how loud each sound needed to be. The tension is built effectively in every scene, as we get character development with each member of the family while the danger around them quietly builds. Small moments like a lamp falling and breaking or a toy making a sound will frighten you, and whenever it gets too noisy you’ll even start getting stressed just by the thought of what what be about to happen to our characters. None of the intensity feels fake and you’ll definitely be as anxious as the characters in some of the most scary scenes in the film. Krasinski and Blunt are both splendid as the parents; Krasinski’s character clearly showing fright but also leadership of his family through the everyday hours and protecting them with everything he can. His love for his children is the strongest part of the film and his acting is always spot-on. Blunt also can’t be ignored; she’s a fearful and also protective mother who demonstrates pain and terror excellently.

A Quiet Place is not only a great showcase of acting and directing but doesn’t forget to be an entertaining horror flick; you don’t have to worry about this one being too boring or stretched out even though most of the film is in sign language rather than spoken dialogue as the device the family uses to survive against the creatures. The visual images are always conveying of the conflict and emotions the family faces, and we though we never see too much about how the creatures got there or what’s going on in the rest of the world, that’s what makes everything more mysterious. My one problem is the ending, which though I didn’t have something strong against, I feel the ending had a more light and even comedic feel to it, and I hoped it would’ve stopped at a place a little more powerful, like the rest of the film. Otherwise, horror and science fiction fans won’t bed disappointed by this short but noteworthy thriller that won’t fail to keep you thrilled and entertained.

The film poster shows a close-up of Emily Blunt in-character with her hand over her mouth.

Ready Player One

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In the year 2045, reality is harsh so everyone is escaping to the virtual reality of the OASIS. When the creator of the OASIS dies, he plants an easter egg within the game which one must find in order to inherit his fortune, which sends Wade Watts on a journey to win the competition and ensure a bright future in both reality and the OASIS.

Whether it’s animatronic sharks or dinosaurs, or recreating D-Day and World War II’s most frightening battles, or creating some of the most iconic action scenes and heroes, Steven Spielberg has always found ways to break ground, and here he presents us with another cinematic achievement. Ready Player One is an experience unlike any thing I’ve seen before. Like the characters in the film, you are pulled from your reality and into the OASIS as you race past worlds and characters based on your favorite films. You’ll see the DeLorean from Back to the Future, the Iron Giant, the Xenomorph from the Alien films, and many more that I won’t spoil but will definitely give your entire audience nostalgia. But it’s not the tributes to pop culture that makes this film so memorable. The visuals are gorgeous and the virtual reality is created so meticulously, scenes of cyber races, fights, and dances are absolutely unforgettable. Watching this in IMAX 3D doesn’t feel any more like looking at this movie than it did being inside this universe which is so wonderfully built. Tye Sheridan has always been a great actor and here he shines in the lead role of Wade, as well as his virtual avatar named Parzival. He’s got great chemistry with Artemis, another avatar known in real life as Samantha, played by Olivia Cooke. Also part of the cast is Ben Mendelsohn as a menacing businessman, as well as Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance as the creators of the OASIS. The story is filled with heart, and we get more of the Spielberg dynamic we’ve seen before of smart kids against greedy adults, without it feeling recycled or predictable. The adventure our characters embark on is gripping and the action scenes are no less marvelous than they should be. Spielberg has always been so great at creating wondrous worlds to behold and journeys to join the protagonists on, and it’s no less than a visual masterpiece with a soulful story and a theme about how virtual reality may impact us in the future, both good and bad.

Ready Player One is the kind of film blockbuster cinema was made for — it’s original, heartfelt, and beautifully directed, and you don’t have to be a video game fan to appreciate and enjoy the story, everyone can love this film. It’s the most fun film experience I’ve had so far in 2018, and I recommend you watch it on the biggest screen possible, preferably in IMAX 3D. You can bet Spielberg will never stop breaking the boundaries of cinema and giving viewers an incredible time at the movies — and that’s a truth in reality.

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Love, Simon

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Simon is a teenager who has a loving family and a great group of friends, and he’s doing great in school, but he’s got one big secret: he’s gay. One day, Simon becomes pen pals with a boy at his school who comes out anonymously and tries to find out who he is, but soon another classmate finds out about Simon’s secret and threatens to reveal it to the whole school.

Love, Simon tackles what is obviously an important topic in our world, but would it be able to capture these themes realistically or would it try too hard to be a “message” film? Thankfully, it’s the former that we get here. This movie doesn’t get too unbelievable trying to convey the struggles of gay teens to come out to even the people closest to them, and instead presents it as a realistic story of a teen living life in the closet. It’s less about accepting others for being “different” but more about accepting yourself for who you are and being yourself. Simon feels like a person teenagers can relate to if they’ve ever struggled with their sexuality or identity, or if you’ve ever had a secret you’ve felt uncomfortable sharing with others. Nick Robinson is superb as Simon, delivering a humanly nuanced performance as a character you could believably buy as an everyday guy with a secret. His acting is very well-realized in every scene and he brings out a very heartfelt character to follow. Also great is Katherine Langford (who you may remember as Hannah Baker from the powerful Netflix series 13 Reasons Why) as one of Simon’s best friends, as well as Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel as Simon’s parents.

Love, Simon has a clever story and smart way of tackling its themes, with nearly every scene entertaining and many moments being touching, and though it’s a topic not everyone may love, it’s important to discuss in today’s world, and thankfully it doesn’t feel like propaganda for equality, and instead like a touching and authentic teen love story. We see the love Simon gets from his family and his friends, and one of the most powerful moments is when Simon reminds us that he’s still him, no matter how he chooses to live. Many scenes may get some viewers emotional, especially the heartwarming ending that everyone, regardless of sexuality, can be touched by. It’s a film that even as a critic I can agree is not just a movie with a good message to the world, but also a great film with a powerful story, as we feel for our protagonist as he goes through the film, and ultimately Love, Simon is worth checking out, even though it’s mostly centered towards teens, it’s funny, touching, and emotional for those who choose to see it.

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A Wrinkle in Time

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Meg Murry is a young girl whose astrophysicist father disappeared four years ago. One day she learns from three magical travelers that she can find her father if she embarks on a journey of self-discovery across the universe, accompanied by her brother and her classmate.

A Wrinkle in Time had some big names in its cast, a popular source material, and lots of ambition which was evident from the intriguing trailers — so why did Disney go ahead and make a safe children’s movie with the same plot they always use instead of something that families can love too? Ava Duvernay is not a bad filmmaker, she did a fantastic job directing Selma so I had faith that I could really enjoy this film. However, the overuse of visuals, waste of great cast members, and 100% familiarity and predictability of the plot offer nothing new that will resonate. Storm Reid is great as the young Meg who is curious, rebellious, and learns to embrace who she is. However, the rest of the actors, while great, aren’t used to the movie’s advantage. With names like Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling, we’d surely get some great leading faces, but not only are they not present for a good amount of the film, but the actors are just being the typical persona of how they usually portray their characters. Oprah is of course just there to inspire people, Witherspoon is funny but really just there to charm, and Kaling is extremely annoying as a character whose only dialogue is famous quotes from historical figures or celebrities. The cast’s (and the film’s) greatest strengths are Chris Pine and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who have been promising in nearly everything they’ve done. We’ve come to know Pine as Captain Kirk and more recently, Wonder Woman’s love interest, and Mbatha-Raw is a rising talent most notably in her role in Black Mirror. Here they play the most remarkable parts of the film; an ambitious scientist who loves nothing more than his family, and the wife and mother whose life is left with a void after her husband’s disappearance. They are both terrific to watch on-screen, yet so underused, and this part of the story could have been used more dominantly but in the middle of the film it’s ditched for the classic formula we see in nearly every film. Other familiar faces include Zach Galifiankis and Michael Pena, but they too are forgotten and we spend more time with the generic love interest played by Levi Miller and the irritating younger brother by the name of Charles Wallace.

A Wrinkle in Time had a lot going for it, and though lots of it feels like a missed opportunity, there are some things it gets right. We’re ultimately left with a theme about being your best and embracing your faults, because in the end, we can all do great things. Kids will love this message and be empowered by this theme, but to everyone who’s seen a movie before, it’s all the same. An ordinary kid who feels isolated from everyone else is pulled into a magical journey and learns to be a hero and a better version of themselves, and falls in love and the way. Sound familiar, right? It feels like this could’ve been something unique but instead used the same recycled formula for a new generation. Even Star Wars has a significantly similar plot to this one. The CGI and green-screen don’t feel real and intimate enough either, and at the end, it doesn’t seem like much of the story had a point either, just a bunch of names and concepts thrown at you that don’t have some sort of resonance and thrills to offer. Some may argue this movie celebrates female empowerment and diversity, but is that enough to make a good movie? That part should be the icing on the cake that can be added to something great.

Your kids may be enamored and entertained by the messages this film has to offer, but if you’re over 10 years old, A Wrinkle in Time will leave you thinking about nothing but the potential that was missed here. This should’ve been something families will talk to their kids about and recommend to friends, but in the end, we’re left with a familiar story accompanied with forgettable execution. Ava Duvernay and Disney should’ve learned, like their protagonist, to embrace their faults and improve upon what’s done before, and trust me, I’ve seen lots of great Disney movies, but this one just doesn’t add up to something I’d recommend to anyone going to the movies with friends or a date. On the bright side, there’s still Black Panther and Annihilation out there for whoever hasn’t seen those yet.

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The Oscars (90th Academy Awards)

The Oscars were this Sunday, and of course I made sure to tune in and watch it live! Jimmy Kimmel hosted for the second time in a row, and there were lots of surprises as memorable moments and winners. In case you missed it, here is the full list of winners:

Best Picture: The Shape of Water
Best Director: Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water
Best Actor: Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour
Best Actress: Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney – I, Tonya
Best Original Screenplay: Get Out
Best Adapted Screenplay: Call Me By Your Name
Best Animated Feature: Coco
Best Original Score: The Shape of Water
Best Original Song: “Remember Me” (from Coco)
Best Cinematography: Blade Runner 2049
Best Film Editing: Dunkirk
Best Production Design: The Shape of Water
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Darkest Hour
Best Costume Design: Phantom Thread
Best Animated Short: Dear Basketball
Best Visual Effects: Blade Runner 2049
Best Sound Editing: Dunkirk
Best Sound Mixing: Dunkirk
Best Documentary Feature: Icarus
Best Documentary Short: Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Best Live Action Short: The Silent Child
Best Foreign Language Film: A Fantastic Woman (from Chile)

These are the winners of this year’s Oscars! Now I bet you’re all dying to find out my thoughts! Usually a write a paragraph or two beneath the winners list about my thoughts, but this time, I decided to try something different: a YouTube video! So, here is my latest video talking about my thoughts on the ceremony, I’d love if you all checked it out: