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9th August
written by Adam

A personified and senior golden retriever named Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner) reflects on his life with his owner, Denny (Milo Ventimiglia), an aspiring Formula One race car driver. Using racing as a metaphor for life Enzo and Denny must both learn how to manifest their own destiny and react to life on their own terms, after all, none of us are here for a long time, hopefully just a good time. Directed by Simon Curtis with Screenplay by Mark Bomback based on Garth Stein’s novel this Hallmark-esque nod to dog lovers everywhere is sure to pluck at least one heart string; but lacks the emotional depth in character development and the narrative richness to tell a compelling story with an ending that’s already telegraphed its punch far in advance. Still, positive marks to Ventimiglia for his efforts and abilities to sell the drama, despite the story’s downfalls. Ultimately the film sits comfortably in the rental category, or in line for a Saturday matinee on the Lifetime channel. The Art of Racing in the Rain is rated PG.

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2nd August
written by Adam

Heavyweight lawman, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), and Cockney badass, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), both answer the call to the CIA’s most pressing need, the recovery of the world’s deadliest virus, which is also being hunted by a cyber-genetically enhanced super bad guy (Idris Elba). Globetrotting and kicking ass, this unlikely pair will have to mend their differences to flex their collective muscle and stop a globally minded crime syndicate, tick tock tick tock boys, the end is nigh! Directed by David Leitch and Written by Chris Morgan this humanized Wile E Coyote and Roadrunner action beast is two hours and fifteen minutes (including multiple end credit scenes, yes stay alllll the way to the end) of big and bigger stunts, poorly crafted alpha male dialogue, and even more ridiculous skull crushing kicks, punches, and smashes, all for the sake of Dominic Toretto’s (not present) favorite mantra, family, the lowest common denominator of plot driving devices. That is to say, this is NOT a smart film, and, thankfully it’s smart enough to admit that…mostly. Instead audiences are exposed to an all out bludgeoning of the senses, perhaps in search of some sort of absolution of the Fast and Furious franchise altogether, alas no, there is no solace in this work– just another round of kicks to the head and bricks to the chest. Bottom line, it’s bigger than ever action and dumber than ever writing, which means….it sits on the shelf right next to the rest of its Furious co-horts, nutritional value of 0. Did you really expect more than that? Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is rated PG-13.

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26th July
written by Adam

The year is 1969, and, closing out the Golden Age of Hollywood a fading but talented television actor, Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), has his eyes set on making it to the silver screen; with good friend and stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), along for the ride it would appear the two are running into a torrent of change and trouble despite their best efforts. Meanwhile, Charles Manson (Damon Herriman), and the rest of the Manson family are cooking up a surprise for Rick’s next door neighbors, Roman Polanski and his wife Sharon Tate (Rafal Zawierucha, Margot Robbie). The springs are coiled and the air is ripe with anticipation, there’s no telling how this whole thing will unwind. Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino this all out love letter to Hollywood makes for a time capsuled smörgåsbord of revisionist history sparing no expense to recapture countless details of yesteryear. More than ever, the components of what makes Tarantino tick, the major influences of art, film, television, music and so on are on display with microscopic precision; but, lacking this go round, Tarantino’s whip smart and pointed dialogue. This is a film about images, texture, and feel and less about words, which is unfortunate considering that Tarantino’s dialogue has been the mainstay and driving factor in the vast majority of his previous works. And, scattered plot lines that take their time to develop unfortunately seem to run out of gas until the classic catastrophic Tarantino act 3. That’s not to say the film is void of prestige and humor, there are in fact quite a few memorable and chuckle/laugh out loud moments, but with a run time of two hours and 41 minutes, a more judicious razor blade could have been applied to the final cut. The ensemble all round is spot on, and, a series of great exchanges between Pitt and DiCaprio sweeten the pot a bit more. Still, the film falls into the Saturday matinee or rental later category, for nostalgia’s sake. Once Upon a Time …in Hollywood is rated R.

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