May 24 2019


A chance encounter between thief of the streets Aladdin (Mena Massoud) and the princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) leads to an unlikely romance separated by Sultan law and Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) the City of Agraba’s second in command. If only there was a way to bend the rules, be given power beyond human comprehension, perhaps a little magic? Enter, the Genie in the lamp (Will Smith). With Aladdin’s discovery of the magic Genie there may actually be hope of a continued engagement, unless temptations of greed take over instead. It’s all fun and games until someone goes powermad, how will it ever shake out? Written by John August and Written/Directed by semi unlikely candidate Guy Ritchie, this live action remake of the 1992 Disney classic oddly enough carries forward enough of the original spirit infused with more modern hip hop sensibilities to make for a surprisingly enchanting watch. Specifically Smith embodying the creative genius of some of Robin Williams’s most beloved improv and comedic dialogue with his own Fresh Prince sensibilities feels pleasantly at home and honorable to the legacy. Meanwhile, the triple threat powers of Massoud and Scott are not lost with musical numbers just as catchy as they were 27 years ago; the overall chemical mix between the two sizzles nicely. On directing, Ritchie certainly has his arms and influence noticeable throughout, editing comes to mind in several sequences ramping and warping speed to a slight distraction, still, it’s all about fun and Aladdin delivers in healthy scoops. Aladdin is rated PG.

May 17 2019

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Excommunicado from the High Table, super-assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) finds himself in a race against death with a 14 million dollar bounty on his head. Meanwhile, the High Table has launched an investigation of their own into the shady dealings at the Continental Hotel leaving Winston (Ian McShane) and Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) exposed and soon to be replaced. It’ll be an all out bloodbath as wrongs are righted and for John Wick to return to the good graces of the High Table, if that’s even possible. Directed by Chad Stahelski and Written by Derek Solstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, and Marc Abrams, this latest installment continues the reign of blood much the way the previous two films have showered audiences with a hedonistic taste for ultra violence. And let’s face it, if you’ve followed along so far, you know the drill, amped up waves of aggression, pithy one liners, and kill shot after kill shot after skull splitting kill shot, all conveniently packaged into a two hour and ten minute window, which does feel a bit on the long side by the umpteenth shotgun blast to the head, but who’s counting? Well thought out scenarios, solid execution of fight choreography, and sharp cinematography keep this whirlwind of disaster right on track and we want to ride this pain train all the way to the bitter end of the line. A bit desensitizing when the wheels eventually screech to a halt, none the less, if this is your bag baby, run with it like it’s stolen. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is rated R…for obvious reasons.

May 10 2019

The Hustle

Professional hustlers Josephine (Anne Hathaway) and Penny (Rebel Wilson) are two of a kind who couldn’t be further apart in style and operations. Pitted against each other in a turf war, the two will have to pull out all the stops to prove who’s the better con artist. But, it’s a battle of wits that might cost them dearly if they’re not careful, watch your step ladies. Directed by Chris Addison and based on the previous works of Stanley Shapiro, Paul Henning, and Dale Launer, most recently 1988’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. This remake of the classic upstairs/downstairs con battle royale attempts to move scenery into the 21st century but sadly remains a hollow shell of what was despite the fire power that both Hathaway and Wilson bring to the table. Largely improvised scenes fall flat and fail to maximize their full comedic value eliciting few chuckles, a call for re-watching Michael Caine and Steve Martin’s nuttier and more quotable antics from 30 years ago. Pass. The Hustle is rated PG-13, ho-hum.