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"Made of much better pieces than most horror-comedy throwbacks."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Filmmaking collective Astron-6 went their separate ways a couple years ago, but promised they would each still be making a lot of the same sort of throwback comedy/horror and that they'd probably work together when there was a good fit. With "Psycho Goreman", Steve Kostanski captures a lot of the bloody 1980s-style fun of the old group, and if it seems to fare a little worse at straddling the line between doing a thing well and making jokes about that thing, I suppose that it's inevitable that this film might fall victim to accelerated nostalgia." (more)
"Zamunda Deserves Better"
2 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "In the wake of the enormous amount of critical acclaim and audience goodwill generated by his brilliant performance as Rudy Ray Moore in “Dolemite is My Name” and his Emmy-winning stint hosting “Saturday Night Live,” one might have hoped that Eddie Murphy would have used the resurgent interest in his career to do more original and challenging projects—at least more ore original and challenging than the array of unnecessary sequels/remakes, puerile family films and assorted instantly forgettable comedies that inexplicably made up the majority of his filmography. Alas, if “Coming 2 America,” the long-awaited sequel to his 1988 favorite and his first post-“Dolemite” film, is any indication, it appears that those hopes have already been somewhat dashed upon the rocks of mild laziness and empty nostalgia." (more)
5 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "The surprisingly strong opening weekend box-office for the “Tom and Jerry” boondoggle served as a clear indicator that there was such a pent-up demand for big-screen family entertainment that people were even willing to undergo all the risks out there for something as crummy as that. Now I am not saying that I quite recommend returning to the multiplex experience quite yet but for those are comfortable to making such an excursion with their families, it is a good thing that there is a film out there far more deserving of such efforts in the form of the new Disney production “Raya and the Last Dragon.” While such recent efforts from the studio such as “Onward” and “Soul” have attempted to break free of the usual formulas with middling-at-best results, this one effortlessly subverts most expectations of what one might find in such film—no songs, no romantic byplay (however chaste), not even a true villain, so to speak—and then supplies enough wit, style, energy and emotion so that you won’t even miss those familiar elements." (more)
"Worth however many tickets the park charges."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "It's tempting to search the internet to see if the romance (of sorts) in "Jumbo" is a thing common enough to have a name, especially since it has one of those "based on a true story" credits that one naturally half-suspects to be trolling. It's probably not a good idea, though, because once one does that, it's not much of a leap to what a person should do if someone in their life falls in love with a machine, and this is a movie about not knowing the answer." (more)
"It's a good thing one doesn't really care about this sort of movie's story."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "You probably don't get more than a minute or two into "Blithe Spirit" before the flashy colors, imminent broad slapstick, and maybe slightly exaggerated sound effects tell you that this movie is going to work hard to make you laugh. That is no bad thing - it beats the cases when filmmakers seem determined that any comedy that occurs should seem unintentional - but something like this could occasionally do with being sly as well. All that obvious effort means that even randomness has a hard time catching one by surprise." (more)
"Not what it should be and all the better for it."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Come for the science fictional premise, stay for the brutal means by which Julie Delpy gets you there, although I'm not exactly complaining about that. Movies like "My Zoe" are so often focused on the ethics of an innovation as to make the science separate from the everyday life that it will eventually impact. Instead, the ugly divorce and lingering torture that follow are precisely articulated enough that one may forget the two recognizable names in the opening credits who will play a big part in the film's back half." (more)
"Nowhere woman."
2 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "There’s a Facebook group called “Capitalist Dystopia Stories Rebranded as Heartwarming Bullshit.” It provides links to news bits like the recent one in which a seven-year-old girl is selling lemonade to help pay for her brain surgery. I don’t know how we got to be a society that isn’t horrified by this." (more)
"The First Cut Is The Deepest."
4 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "“The Stylist” is a horror movie, make no mistake about it, but it is not quite the Grand Guignol-style grossest that one might assume it to be after hiring its premise. Instead, it is a more ambitious dive into the mind of a character who has clearly undergone so much psychological damage throughout her life that most viewers will find their hearts constantly breaking for her, even during the times when she is driven to unspeakably brutal acts." (more)
"Frantic but fun."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... ""Hidden Man" is the third of writer/director/co-star Jiang Wen "bullets" trilogy, with a detour to Hollywood to be part of "Rogue One" in between, and it's got to be sort of an odd sensation, doing this sort of sprawling epic in the shadow of the sheer amount of resources Disney was throwing at "Star Wars". It almost seems to have Jiang trying to do too much even without making more than the usual effort to include a Western audience, making for a packed, frantic, but often pretty enjoyable bit of period action." (more)
"A lot of movie(s)."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "I doubt know if it works this way in China or if the "Brotherhood of Blades" movies were big enough to merit it, but "A Writer's Odyssey" feels like when someone scores a surprisingly big hit and gets to make their dream project without a lot of people saying no. It is two or three different ambitious movies merged into one by means of a high concept that needs just as much attention on its own, and is as a result predictably all over the place. It is, at least, the sort that can't help but be intermittently entertaining because filmmaker Lu Yang is swinging so big and so much is going on." (more)

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