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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I will use this opportunity to review the first two films as well, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In Sorcerer’s stone, we are introduced to Harry Potter, Hermione, and Ron during their first year at Hogwarts school. Potter gains his reputation as an expert at quidditch, and the three of them solve their first mysteries as Harry Potter begins to gain a sense of who he is. In Sorcerer’s Stone, the three continue into t their second year; there is not much of a difference in the look and feel of …

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As Astra

Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is an astronaut who has a reputation for being able to push himself to get the job done. He lives in a world where space travel is relatively common; going to the moon to launch to Mars to use as a jumping-off point for a trip to Neptune is commonplace. McBride is given an assignment – to travel to the vicinity of Neptune to find out the source of a series of electromagnetic pulses that are destroying space stations; they are tied to a spacecraft that is headed by McBride’s father. The film is an interesting …

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High Life

At the beginning of the film, Monte (Robert Pattinson) is outside a space station, working, and talking to baby Willow, who is inside watching and listening to him through a control panel screen. There are rich, brilliant shots of a garden.  We don’t know why they are there or if there is anyone else around, but we do know that there is a special bond between the two of them. I won’t say any more about the film, because one of its crowning achievements is how it takes care in revealing the true story of what is happening while moving …

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Rampage

Rampage: Davis (Dwayne Johnson) is a war veteran who made a career change and became a primatologist. He communicates pretty well by using sign language with a gorilla (George). In outer space, an experiment goes awry, and an explosion results in a mysterious substance falling to earth in three different places. The substance causes genetic mutations resulting in rapid growth and increased violence. George inhaled the substance, as did two other creatures, and soon those extremely HUGE monsters descend upon Chicago. Davis serendipitously meets the person responsible for creating the substance, and together they plan to find a way to …

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Ant-man

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has just been released from prison. He has a daughter who his ex-wife won’t let him see until he straightens up, gets a job, and finds a decent place to live. He is conned into engaging in a heist that seems foolproof and that he hopes will help him change his circumstances. Through a series of events that I won’t reveal, he becomes Ant-man with the ability to shrink in size at will and simultaneously exude enormous strength. While I don’t think it measures up to the best of the Marvel comics films, such as the …

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The fifth movie in the franchise finds the tyrannosaurus dinosaur to be bigger, badder, smarter, and harder to kill than the in the previous sequels. Chris Pratt is back as Owen, a dinosaur trainer. He and his maybe-girlfriend Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) return to the island to try to rescue the dinosaurs that have been roaming the island freely since the demise of the Jurassic World theme park in the previous sequel. A volcano has begun erupting and threatening to send the dinosaurs back into extinction. The rescue of several of the dinosaurs includes bringing some of them back to …

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2001: A Space Odyssey

This film has been re-released in a 70 mm format created from the original negatives. The result is supposed to be a film that looks like it did when it first came out. I don’t remember seeing it when it first came out, but I have to say that I was completely blown away by the beauty and intensity of the film. The basic story begins with a story of the dawn of man when apes first became upright. A mysterious black box appears in the landscape. Cut forward to the future when a spaceship is headed to Jupiter to …

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Ready Player One

Tye Sheridan is Wade Watts, a teenager who lives in a place called the Stacks in Ohio in the year 2045. The majority of people play in Oasis, a virtual reality world that operates a lot like an Xbox or other video game. Whenever life gets you down, you can don the virtual reality glasses and pass the hours as an avatar of your own creation (Wade’s avatar is Parzival). The creator of Oasis (played by Mark Rylance) dies and leaves a challenge for players: Gather 3 keys to unlock the ultimate prize and inherit the wealth of Oasis. What …

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Annihilation

Lena’s (Natalie Portman) husband (played by Oscar Isaac) has been missing for over a year when one day he suddenly turns up at her door and, shortly after that, begins bleeding internally. During the ambulance ride, they are waylaid, and she wakes up to find herself at a strange facility. The lead psychologist Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) has been trying to investigate a shimmer that has descended upon a lighthouse near New Orleans and is growing larger. Lena decides that she has to join an expedition to understand what is happening inside the shimmer. The movie is fascinating. The …

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Black Panther

I loved this film! Chadwick Boseman plays T’Challa (the Black Panther). At the start of the film, he goes back to his home country of Wakanda to assume the role of King after his father dies. The film chronicles his quest to retain leadership over the country once he encounters an old nemesis. There is no question that the film represents a defining moment in the Marvel Comics (MC) enterprise and (okay, maybe just a bit hyperbolic) even in cinema. While its action scenes are satisfying and the special effects impressive, what elevates Black Panther are its well-developed characters and …

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