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10th January
2020
written by Adam

The crew of a deep sea mining and drilling company is forced to abandon their rig roughly 6 miles beneath the ocean’s surface, but, finding safety and sanity won’t come easy, and, what if they’re not alone at these depths? Directed by William Eubank and Written by Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad this claustrophobic quest to cross the ocean floor and get home is like so many adventures….just a little different. Be it outer space, shrunken down inside the human body, or now plunging to unfathomable depths, the formula is tried and true, a cascading chain reaction that necessitates action/reaction and drives the next action/reaction; and, in this case, it mostly works, clunky as it may be, sometimes purposely poking itself in the eye to force levity and re-assure the audience “hey, we’re hip, we’re cool, we don’t take this that seriously, neither should you, it’s all in fun.” So, with critical ego’s checked at the door the real herculean works are pulled off by the ensemble which includes a crew cut and significantly less catatonic Kristen Stewart, a doughy and comedic T.J. Miller, and the weathered Vincent Cassel all doing their darnedest to give us the first tastes of panic of the new year while drawing heavily on the vibe of Alien (1979) but falling far short of Ridley Scott’s terror, alas, once the evil that lurks below is finally revealed an audible groan from the checked critic ego waiting at the door can loudly be heard, as if to say, “Really? And it’s not Cthulhu? Come onnnnnn, groan!!! Eye roll.” And yet, here we are, potentially matinee material, or a rental/stream later. 2020, ready or not, here we come! Underwater is rated PG-13.

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20th December
2019
written by Adam

Rattled and nearly exterminated, the surviving Resistance face the next wave of terror to take over the galaxy, The Final Order. Meanwhile, Rey (Daisy Ridley), following the Jedi path remains psychically tethered to Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) of the Sith path. What results when their paths meet again, will history repeat itself? This is the final chapter of the Skywalker saga. Back in the hands of Director J.J. Abrams with main writing credits going to Chris Terrio and Abrams this final go round of the Skywalker story is a tricky one to discuss without starting a forest fire in some regard. So, spoiler free, here’s what you need to know: known for terrific sci-fi setups but repeated failed attempts at closing the story/deal J.J. Abrams seems like a chancy go at best to put the bow on this nearly 43 year old franchise, a massive quilt stitched into the fabric of our pop culture society and a story that’s spurred millions of imaginations and their subsequent offshoots, yet that’s the Herculean and near impossible job he’s been tasked with, closing the deal. The end result, a large quantity of nostalgia and fan service, call backs to familiar lines of dialogue, and, scenarios that seem just a few degrees separated from what we’ve already seen. So, it’s more of the same, but a little different, which, to be fair, isn’t too far off from George Lucas’s original intent as explained around episodes 1,2, and 3, roughly, a story about family that repeats itself generation after generation. To that end, nailed it in spades. But, on the backside of that equation what’s particularly disappointing are the tonal mis-matches along the way, points that should have been heart wrenching miss their mark, instead, it’s the smaller moments that have the bigger emotional impact and the two hour and twenty minute return to a galaxy far far away seems long, drawn out, and a bit overextended, even if the intent is to give all our beloved characters a chance to “say goodbye,” the art of leaving the party after the peak but before sunrise definitely seems lost here. Regardless, we all know this film is critic proof, fans will go just the same, perhaps get frustrated just the same, and more importantly continue to dream of how it should have ended….in their own galaxy far far away. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is rated PG-13.

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20th December
2019
written by Adam

In the heart of the city a tribe of cats known as the Jellicles gather yearly to decide which one of their kind will be allowed to ascend to the Heaviside Layer and be re-born to a new Jellicle life. Directed by Tom Hooper and based loosely on the writings of T.S. Eliot and the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber this Broadway to screen transformation is the controversial picture that’s raising eyebrows and coughing hairballs along the way. Set with a stellar cast including heavies Idris Elba, Judi Dench, Taylor Swift, Ian McKellen, and Jennifer Hudson just to name a few, the talent factor is high in this production, but sadly, it’s the lack of actual narrative coupled with computer generated costuming, sets, and sometimes movement that makes this recitative nightmare a tempo’d clash of taste and artistic license. And, save for the “hits” of the show including Memory and Macavity, the rest of the music comes across as eye-rolling and flat out bad. This one’s lost in translation, pass. Cats is rated PG.

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