All the major streaming services (content, pricing, etc.)

Covid-19 has kept us apart from our families, friends, relatives, but one of the few sources of comfort to ‘cure’ our loneliness are the seemingly-countless streaming services. As more and more people cut cable, more streaming services seem to be popping up. Netflix started out as a DVD rental company in 1997, with streaming only being introduced a decade later. Now, they are primarily known as a streaming service provider and have inspired dozens of companies to provide their own services as well. With HBO Max and NBC-Universal’s Peacock launching very soon, I think it’s a perfect time to list all the major streaming services that are/will be available for our consumption.

  1. Netflix – Easily the most popular streaming service out there, Netflix currently boasts of 180+ million subscribers, with a recent surge in subscribers thanks to the quarantine measures. The service has 3 pricing plans – $8.99/month, $12.99/month, $15.99/month. In terms of what content Netflix has, the real question is “what don’t they have?” They’ve borrowed a lot of money to fund their original programming, which includes heavyweights like Stranger Things, The Witcher, House of Cards, etc. More importantly, Netflix is arguably the only service that has something for everyone, which has worked wonders for them.
  2. Amazon Prime Video – Prime Video is one of the many perks of having an Amazon Prime membership, which costs $12.99/month and $6.99/month for students. And, Prime Video has some of the best streaming content available, including original series like the acclaimed The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Jack Ryan, and original movies like The Report, Late Night, etc. Fun fact – many college students get 6-months of free Amazon Prime using their .edu email ID’s!
  3. Hulu – Hulu is one of the most affordable AND one of the better streaming services available. The service costs $5.99/month with ads and $11.99/month without ads. In terms of content, Hulu has popular shows like ‘Rick and Morty’, ‘Killing Eve’, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ etc. In addition, Disney (currently a 2/3rds owner) is offering a $12.99/month bundle for Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, which is a terrific deal!
  4. Apple TV+ – After realizing that the streaming service model can be profitable, Apple decided to jump in the game, with the launch of Apple TV+. Even though Apple+ doesn’t have a lot of IP-driven content, it costs a measly $4.99/month and has critically-acclaimed shows like ‘The Morning Show’, ‘Defending Jacob’ and original movies like Samuel Jackson-Anthony Mackie’s ‘The Banker’, etc. PS – you can get one year of free Apple+ if you’ve purchased an Apple product after September 2019!
  5. Disney+ – The major appeal of Disney+ is the family-friendly content. On top of that, Disney owns some of the biggest Hollywood franchises (Marvel Studios, Star Wars, Pixar) and recently acquired 20th Century Fox’s assets (X-Men, Avatar, Simpsons) to boost their D+ content. This service currently costs $6.99/month and has most (not all because of existing deals) of the Marvel movies, the Star Wars films and 100’s of Disney toons. Fun fact, current Verizon Unlimited customers can get one year of free Disney+, so win-win! In terms of content, one criticism levied against D+ is the lack of high-profile new content, which Disney will soon rectify with the launch of Falcon & Winter Soldier, Mandalorian season 2, and WandaVision this year! And, they have more Marvel shows (Loki, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, etc.) and Star Wars shows (Obi-Wan, Rogue One’s Cassian Andor) in production!
  6. CBS All Access – CBS All Access is arguably the least-buzzy of the big streaming services, as there isn’t a whole lot of appealing content. Aside from the Star Trek shows (Picard, Discovery), The Twilight Zone, CBS All Access simply doesn’t have the content that justifies paying for this service. However, the service has 2 pricing plans – $5.99/month (with limited ads) and $9.99/month (no ads).
  7. HBO Max – HBO Max is essentially a derivative of the existing HBO Now (streaming service) and HBO Go (cable service for DirecTV & Spectrum customers) and will launch on May 27. Max will cost $15/month and will feature the usual HBO content (Game of Thrones, Westworld). However, it is an upgrade from Now & Go in that there will original content (Justice League Dark, The Shining’s Overlook series) and licensed content like Friends, Southpark, The Big Bang Theory, etc., which the existing versions won’t have. I also suspect that WB will merge the DC streaming service into HBO Max. At least, that makes more sense…
  8. Peacock – Lastly, NBCUniversal’s Peacock has already launched for some Comcast customers but will launch for everyone else on July 15. Now, Peacock has 3 different price tiers –  $0 (limited content + ads), $4.99/month (with ads) and $9.99/month (no ads). In terms of content, Peacock will have all the Universal movies (Jurassic World, Fast & Furious), original content (a new Battlestar Galactica series) and more importantly, The Office and Parks & Recreation. As you may or may not know, Parks & Rec, and The Office will depart Netflix in October 2020 and January 2021 respectively!

PS – If you subscribe to every aforementioned service at the cheapest price, you’ll still be paying at least $50/month!!

Unless another major studio decides to launch their own streaming service, it looks like the majority of the competition will be among those 8 services. Of course, we have also have other lesser-known services like Quibi (will soon allow for TV viewing), Tubi (free, ad-supported), Shudder ($4.75/month for horror/supernatural content), Crackle (free, ad-supported), Showtime ($10.99/month), Starz ($8.99/month), YouTube TV ($49.99/month), AND more!! So don’t worry, you have plenty of content to keep you entertained!

 

Extraction Review (No Spoilers) – Netflix Original

With movie theatres shut down and all of us stuck in our homes, thanks to Covid-19 and the shelter-in-place orders, streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, Quibi(!), etc. have been stepping up their game and releasing a ton of content to keep us entertained.

Extraction is a bit of a mini-Avengers reunion as it is written and produced by Joe Russo (one of the directors of Winter Soldier, Civil War, Infinity War and Endgame), stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor himself), and is directed by Sam Hargrave (stunt-man in the Avengers films).  The premise is fairly straightforward – A group of mercenaries are tasked with rescuing the kidnapped son of a big Indian crime lord but when the mission goes south and the boy becomes expendable, Tyler Rake (played by Hemsworth) has to choose: to protect or to ditch the boy.

Positives

At the risk of stating the obvious, Extraction has some of the best action sequences I have seen in a while, ever since the first John Wick film. Just like that Keanu-led franchise, this movie is also directed by a stunt-coordinator, which is showcased in the fight scenes. The action is brutal, visceral, and is extremely well-choreographed. Rather than relying on shaky-cam or quick cuts, the filmmakers let the action scenes breathe and use a variety of action (car chases, gunfights, knife-fights, etc.) to keep it from getting stale. In fact, there is one 12-minute long-take, which had me at the edge of my seat!

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Action aside, this movie also has solid performances, especially from one Chris Hemsworth. He sells the film’s action convincingly but also does a really job in the one-on-one character moments. Tyler has a very traumatic past, as he lost his 6-year old son to lymphoma, and ends up seeing Ovi (the kidnapped kid) as his surrogate son. Speaking of the kid, played well by newcomer Rudhraksh Jaiswal, he has some good back-and-forth with Tyler and ends up being more than a lad-in-distress (male version of damsel-in-distress?). David Harbour has an extended cameo and he delivers as usual. Lastly, one of the more humanized characters in the film ends up being this elite Special Forces-type assassin figure, Saju. Initially, he’s presented as an antagonistic figure and has questionable motivations but the movie, thankfully, delves deeper into his backstory and makes him a sympathetic character.

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Courtesy of Netflix, AGBO, Thematic Entertainment, India Take One Productions, and T.G.I.M. Films

Negatives

Don’t expect anything Shakespearean from a movie called ‘Extraction.’ The plot is pretty thin and is pretty predictable. Not to mention, the backstories provided feel obligated to appeal to those who want some semblance of a story rather than 100% action. As mentioned before, we learn that Tyler suffered a terrible loss and has been on a suicidal mission ever since. Ovi, the son of the Indian drug lord, talks about his dad and how uncomfortable it gets to, for example, have dinner with him, knowing that his dad kills people. However, the movie just glosses over the duo’s lives to get to the destruction and mayhem, which feels a little disappointing, as they had the set-up to explore these characters more and become more than a mindless action film. Tyler’s popping-pills-and-drinking-alcohol persona is one of the few scenes we get of him suffering from PTSD and as we all know by now, those are absolutely some of the biggest cliches for a hardened-action movie hero.

In addition, the inevitable bond between Tyler and Ovi needed more fleshing out. The pair only have a couple of conversations before a hardened-mercenary like Tyler decides to save the boy at all costs. 

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Courtesy of Netflix, AGBO, Thematic Entertainment, India Take One Productions, and T.G.I.M. Films

Rating – Solid Recommendation

Extraction doesn’t redefine the action movie genre by any stretch of the imagination. The story is boilerplate and is riddled with the genre cliches but more importantly, it delivers on its promise. It has terrific action and just enough character work to make me care for these characters. If you got a couple of hours to kill, I recommend checking out Extraction!

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The Invisible Man Review – No Spoilers

Universal has attempted to create its own ‘Monster-verse’ for a long time now. From movies like Van Helsing (2004) to Dracula Untold (2014) to the recent ‘The Mummy’ (2017), it became abundantly clear that Universal wanted to quickly replicate the success that Marvel has had, without laying a solid foundation to support such an endeavor. As expected, their ‘putting the cart before the horse’ approach crashed and burned every time and now, they seem to be taking things slower and in a totally new direction.

PS – remember this star-studded picture?

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Hell, even Angelina Jolie was rumored to play the Bride of Frankenstein. RIP Dark Universe…

In ‘The Invisible Man,’ Cecilia escapes the clutches of her incredibly smart and opulent yet abusive boyfriend (Adrian) and seeks to start her own life. Soon after, she learns that her boyfriend committed suicide and left her his vast fortune, with a couple of (fairly-reasonable) stipulations. Good, right? Not so fast. Cecilia’s life soon becomes a nightmare, as she realizes that her supposed-dead boyfriend is back and is well– invisible and starts terrorizing her and her friends.

Positives

Elizabeth Moss gives such an excellent performance as the tormented Cecilia. Her multi-faceted performance is very similar to Lupita Nyong’o’s performance in Jordan Peele’s Us, where they’re forced to make people believe in something so ‘ludicrous.’ However, Moss completely sells the pain, anger, fear, and frustration so effortlessly.

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Courtesy of Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Goalpost Pictures, and Nervous Tick

Cecilia, unfortunately, also deals with an incredible amount of gaslighting in the film, something all too prevalent in society today. She is sure that Adrian is indeed behind the mayhem (thanks to his expertise in the field of optics) but, she has no way to prove that her dead boyfriend is indeed alive and well and has also found a way to be invisible. As a result, Adrian capitalizes on her apparent descent into madness and starts alienating her from her friends and family. After all, he is presented as an extremely meticulous narcissist, who’s concocted a ‘clever’ plan to win her back. Apparently, Cecilia is the only woman to ever leave him, which hurt his fragile ego. Throughout the film, you feel for her and her powerlessness in the situation.  Furthermore, The ‘Invisible Man’ is definitely real (spoiler alert?) but more importantly, he is a parable for the pain and suffering that victims (especially women) endure, long after a toxic and abusive relationship has ended. Even seemingly-innocuous actions like going out to get the mail end up being difficult to overcome, as Adrian had such a deep control of her. She mentions the fact that he controlled what she wore, who she talked to, when she could leave, etc. Another theme of the movie is the use of surveillance and the role it plays in trivializing domestic abuse, as evident in the Weinstein case. Not to scare you any further but I highly recommend reading about a new facial recognition company called Clearview AI and its potential implications, should it ever be made available to the public.

Anyone that has known me for any period of time knows that I’m pretty stoic during a horror movie. A majority of the time, the jump scares are painfully predictable and lack any sense of build-up. Not here, folks. There are ‘jump-scares’ in this one that are well-earned and actually made me, well — jump. Clearly, director Leigh Whannell knows how to craft jump scares, without them feeling cheap. That being said, he never exclusively relies on jump-scares either. Instead, he puts his characters through situations that are arguably more frightening and awful than the ‘monster’ itself, which makes it all the scarier.

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As mentioned before, the direction here is spectacular. One aspect I especially love is the use of spacing. Despite the houses being incredibly spacious, you can’t help but feel Cecilia’s claustrophobia. There is a constant, palpable sense of dread that the ‘Invisible Man’ is lurking around and watching her, which further adds to the suspense. In addition, Whannell clearly has an eye for action, as showcased in his last film, Upgrade. Check out Upgrade, by the way!

Negatives

Even though it was not a problem for me, some might get a tad bit bored by the slow-burn of the first 2 acts. For me, however, the first 2/3rd of the movie is more emotionally resonant and thought-provoking than the action-fueled final act. Don’t get me wrong, the third-act is really enjoyable but it’s definitely not as cerebral as the first 2 acts.

In addition, some of the twists are pretty predictable. Being an ‘Invisible Man’ movie, there are quite a bit of plot conveniences and logic is sporadically thrown out the window. Finally, there are a lot of events that transpire in public locations, with visible security cameras, but they’re inexplicably ignored.

Rating – Must-Watch

The Invisible Man is an incredibly powerful and empowering movie about an abused woman trying to overcome years of psychological trauma by confronting the monster from her past. Scares and suspense aside, this is a thematically-rich, thought-provoking movie that absolutely warrants a watch at the theatres!

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Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) Review (No Spoilers)

With yet another critically-lauded film, it’s safe to say that DC is on the right track. Out of their last 6 movies, 5 of them (Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Shazam, Oscar-nominated Joker, and Birds of Prey) have been varying degrees of good to great. With Wonder Woman 1984 coming this summer, and The Batman and The Suicide Squad well under- production, the future looks strong for DC.

Birds of Prey takes place after the events of Suicide Squad. Jared Leto’s Joker and Harley break up (happens in-between movies), which takes away Harley’s “immunity” which she enjoyed as the Joker’s girlfriend. Now that they’re not together anymore, everyone that she ever hurt wants revenge, including the crime boss Roman Sionis (Black Mask). However, he offers his “protection” if she were to retrieve a precious diamond stolen from him. As the story starts to unfold, Harley ends up protecting a young girl (Cassandra Cane) from the diabolic Sionis, with the help of other female characters (Black Canary, Renee Montoya, and the Huntress).

Positives

BoP excels when its main characters are interacting with each other, which unfortunately only happens in the final act of the film. However, the cast has solid chemistry and plays well off each other. Margot Robbie is once again gleefully delightful as the maniacal-yet-lovable Harley Quinn. She’s crazy yet endearing, vulnerable yet strong, which gives Robbie a chance to display a wide range of emotions for her character. It’s almost as if she was born to play this character. Other characters like The Huntress and Black Canary don’t have much of an arc and often feel like sidelined but to be fair, both Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Huntress) and Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Canary) are fine with the material given to them. However, one of the biggest positives is easily Ewan McGregor’s Black Mask. McGregor’s having the time of his life and absolutely relishes playing this over-the-top, maniacal villain. Even though the character itself ends up being wasted and doesn’t really do much in the film, McGregor’s performance differentiates him from some of the other DCEU villains and is a welcome, refreshing addition to the DCEU.

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One of the film’s biggest strengths is in its action and gotta say, it is extremely well-choreographed. Similar to the action in John Wick, it was always clear as to what was happening on-screen, which can partially be explained by the fact that the filmmakers behind John Wick were hired to improve the action. Also, BoP is easily the most vibrant and colorful DCEU film thus far, although that looks to be topped by Wonder Woman 1984.

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Courtesy of Warner Bros & DC Films

Thanks to a female director (Cathy Yan) at the helm, the ‘male gaze’ is also gone and instead, Yan gives us strong, badass female characters without necessarily overtly-sexualizing them.

Negatives

As mentioned before, this movie really isn’t a Birds of Prey movie, as the majority of the focus is on Harley herself. Characters like Huntress, Canary, Montoya are relegated to side-roles and don’t really have much justification for being in the movie. Speaking of, this film ‘borrows’ a ton of elements (4th wall-break, non-linear storytelling) from Deadpool but simply isn’t as funny or as creative as the Merc with the Mouth’s first adventure.

The story is pretty lackluster, but my biggest gripe is easily the decision to keep these characters apart for the majority of the film. As a result, certain unions often end up feeling contrived and lacked an emotional punch. In addition, the fight scenes (albeit great) had very low stakes because none of the villains/henchmen pose any form of a threat for our superheroines, which takes away any tension whatsoever.

Lastly, there was no reason for making this film R-rated. The sporadic f-bombs or occasional spurts of blood don’t take me out of the movie but looking back, the film could have easily circumvented that. Unlike superhero films like Deadpool, Logan, or Joker that necessitated the R-rating for the themes they were tackling or for staying truthful to the character, this iteration of BoP is an example of one that would arguably have benefitted from the PG-13 rating and appealing to young girls. Aside from a really out-of-the-blue sexual assault scene (that’s horrifying, of course), it’s not like BoP tackles any adult/mature issues. Had the movie delved deeper into Joker and Harley’s toxic relationship and Harley ‘breaking’ free from her “puddin’s” manipulation and control, this movie would arguably have been more powerful and empowering.

Conclusion – Mild Recommendation

Even though Birds of Prey continues DC’s hot streak, it’s a bit of a mixed bag overall. The lackluster story, coupled with the ‘heroes’ being apart for the lion’s share of the runtime, ultimately left me feeling empty. It’s definitely not as re-watchable or as enjoyable as Aquaman or Shazam but, if you’re looking for a decent time at the movies, Birds of Prey does deliver a semi-enjoyable experience.

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Top 10 movies of 2019 Ranked (No Spoilers)

2019 has been an amazing year for movies. From huge blockbusters (Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King, Joker, etc.) to indie darlings (Knives Out, Peanut Butter Falcon, Midommsar, etc.), this year has had a mélange of movies, catering to a wide audience.

Note – I haven’t seen Oscar-buzzed films like Uncut Gems, 1917, The Farewell, and The Irishman yet, but I definitely plan on watching them before the Oscars!

Honorable mentions (in no particular order)- Richard Jewell, Peanut Butter Falcon, The Art of Self-Defense, US, Shazam, Spider-Man: Far From Home, It: Chapter Two, The Lighthouse, John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum.

10. Booksmart – In recent years, we’ve had a sleuth of great coming-of-age films like Lady Bird, The Edge of Seventeen, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, etc. Directed by Olivia Wilde, Booksmart is about a pair of young, ‘book smart’ girls, who’ve worked their a**es off to get into the prestigious colleges, but unlike their friends who engaged in various extra-curricular activities (sex, parties, romance) and still got into the same prestigious schools, Amy and Molly were too busy studying. A night before graduation, however, the two are determined (one more than the other) to “experience” high-school one last time. Both Kaitlyn Dever (Amy) and Beanie Feldstein (Molly) have great chemistry and deliver strong performances. Even though this film pretty much follows the template set by other films in the genre, Wilde’s direction and the focus on her exuberant leads makes for a compelling teen-drama. Booksmart has heart, comedy, strong and supportive female leads and is easily a must-watch for film lovers!

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Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures, Gloria Sanchez Productions, ShadowMachine, and United Artists Releasing

9. Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood – My initial reaction was definitely positive, but I was also a little frustrated at the story, or the lack thereof. However, the more I re-watch Tarantino’s ninth film or even think about it, the more I’m impressed. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt have excellent chemistry and frankly, I was having a great time when the two were just talking to each other or simply watching TV. Who would’ve thought that watching people watch TV could be entertaining?! The entire (star-studded) cast is terrific and throughout the film, it was abundantly clear just how much Tarantino longs for the 1960’s Hollywood. Once again, the dialogue is sharp and witty, and the cinematography and set-pieces really make you feel as if you’re living in that era. Yes, Sharon Tate’s addition was extremely unnecessary and simply exists to lengthen the run-time, but I can definitely be more forgiving when the end product is such a delight! The balls-to-the-wall final 30 minutes are macabre yet wildly entertaining and by the time the movie ends, I was grinning from ear to ear!

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Courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing, Columbia Pictures, Bona Film Group, Heyday Films, and Visiona Romantica

8. Parasite – In terms of directing, Parasite is easily the best-directed film of the year. This South Korean film explores the growing income inequality between the rich and the poor, which is a common theme in Bong Joon-Ho’s films, especially Snowpiercer. The cast, cinematography, shot-selection, score are all great, but it’s Bong Joon’s Ho painful attention to detail that truly elevates this film from others. Despite the inordinate amount of similarities between the opulent Parks’ and the poor Kims’ families, it is abundantly clear that the two residences live in ‘separate’ worlds. In one instance, the rain and excess flood prove to merely be a minor inconvenience to the vacation plans for the Parks’, while that same force of nature destroys the Kims’ (underground) residence. All that aside, my biggest problem was with the out-of-nowhere explosive finale, which I did find a little rushed. That being said, I’m clearly in the minority as the vast majority of the folks didn’t find that problem, so make of that what you will. Regardless, Parasite is an excellent satirical movie that’s worthy of all the accolades it’ll inexorably receive.

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Courtesy of CJ Entertainment and Barunson E&A

7. Ford v Ferrari – After just having directed (the utterly fantastic) Logan, James Mangold returned to the director’s chair with a film about Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles and their (in)famous Le Mans 1966 race. After a string of recent failures against Ferrari in the 24-hour Le Mans race, the Ford leadership is particularly anxious but tenacious to hire the best talent to finally achieve victory over its rivals by competing and winning the grueling Le Mans race. Just like DiCaprio and Pitt’s Hollywood film, Ford v Ferrari works the best when it’s 2 leads are interacting with each other. Matt Damon (Shelby) and Christian Bale (Miles) are terrific and have great chemistry together (a common theme in my Top 10 list). The actual race, itself, is wonderfully directed, with Mangold really putting us, the viewers, in the passenger seat with the driver. At the end of the film, however, I couldn’t help but feel bad for both Shelby and Miles, who literally poured their hearts and soul to ‘win’ the iconic race but were hampered by the corporate, clearly-no-artist Ford bureaucracy.

PS – if you wish to learn more about the 1966 Le Mans race, check out this 30-minute documentary!

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Courtesy of 20th Century Fox, TSG Entertainment, Turnpike Films, and Chernin
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6. A Marriage Story – A Marriage Story is a deeply personal film for Noah Baumbach (the director) who went through a similar divorce with his wife in 2013. In this film, Charlie and Nicole are both clearly unhappy in their marriage and wish to separate. However, we’re told that the couple discussed not dragging any lawyers to their inevitable divorce but upon Nicole’s decision to hire one anyways, new wounds are opened that leave an indelible mark on their relationship. Rather than primarily focusing on the impact on the children, family &friends (although it is there), the filmmakers are primarily concerned with exploring the couple themselves and their efforts to have an amicable divorce, for the sake of their child. What elevates this already-great film is the genuine, earnest performances from Adam Driver (Charlie) and Scarlett Johansson (Nicole). Both deliver their best performances to-date and will surely get Oscar nominations. Deservedly so! Albeit a little too theatrical at times, their arguments (especially the third-act one) feel so authentic, with both trying to momentarily ‘hurt’ one another despite a love for the other. It’s painfully relatable. A Marriage Story portrays both Charlie and Nicole as flawed yet sympathetic individuals, without necessarily taking sides. Despite both trying to minimize the amount of pain caused to the other, their lack of know-how of the legal system paired with the shrewd lawyers who are out to win the case at all cost proves to be a big contentious point among the two. After all, both lawyers are focused on presenting the other side as ‘villainous’ and more ‘flawed’ and don’t hesitate to twist the words to help their clients. But don’t fret, A Marriage Story isn’t all tears and pain, as Baumbach peppers a good amount of humor throughout the film, to make for a beautiful-yet-entertaining package.

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Courtesy of Netflix and Heyday Films

5. Knives Out – Knives Out is easily one of the most entertaining films of 2019! Rian Johnson’s all-star cast is such a great whodunnit murder-mystery, mixed with a ton of situational comedy! After Harlan Thrombey, the house patriarch mysteriously dies, Detective Blanc (played wonderfully by Daniel Craig) is hired to solve the case. Like some other films on the list and this year as a whole, the theme of income inequality is ever-present. However, Johnson is especially concerned and critical of a particular segment of the rich, who feel entitled to their family wealth and make themselves to be self-made Americans, rather than charting their own path. Yes, there are scenes where the liberal and conservative family members clash over Trump’s immigration policies but fear not, this movie neither strays far left nor right politically. Instead, it’s a big ‘F*ck you’ to these entitled, pretentious rich people. Speaking more about the film, the entire cast clearly has a blast, with Daniel Craig chewing every scene he’s in! Craig’s eccentric Benoit Blanc, has entertaining back-and-forth with the entire cast, specifically with Ana De Armas’ Marta. On a side-note, the two will be seen together in the next James Bond film – No Time To Die. Overall, Knives Out is one delightful of a film! Bring on more Benoit Blanc films!

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Courtesy of Lionsgate, T-Street, and MRC

4. Joker – As I explain in my review, the Joker left me utterly speechless! From Joaquin Phoenix’s performance-of-a-lifetime to the technical aspects (cinematography, editing, coloring especially), this film is a deep character study about a mentally unstable Arthur Fleck, who’s so utterly broken down by society (lackluster health care, income inequality) that he eventually becomes the iconic DC supervillain. Phoenix’s unsettling yet riveting performance is still my favorite performance this year and I still contend he’s the frontrunner for ‘Best Actor’ at the Academy Awards. Without making this article any longer than it needs to be, just put on a happy face and watch this masterpiece!

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Courtesy of Warner Bros and DC Films

3. Avengers: Endgame – In terms of the best, the most communal moviegoing experience of the year, nothing compares to the experience I had with Endgame. The excitement was palpable! Somehow juggling 100’s of characters, yet maintaining the majority of the focus on the OG Avengers, is a task that should have been impossible, but the Russos and Marvel somehow accomplished the impossible! Despite having a ton of fan-service moments in the third act (like Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker), it never felt unearned as the filmmakers deliberately chose to spend almost 2 hours on fleshing out these fan-favorite characters. As a result, the emotional connection with these characters made the action feel like there were stakes and anyone could bite the dust (no pun intended). I can talk about Endgame all day but to save time for all parties involved, I highly suggest checking out my detailed review! This is easily one of my favorite films of the decade and an absolute cinematic achievement!

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Courtesy of Walt Disney and Marvel Studios

2. Jojo Rabbit – Imagine pitching this idea to a studio – a young boy named Jojo, growing up in Nazi Germany, yearns to fight for the Fatherland. Sounds fairly– reasonable, right? Going one step further, he has an imaginary friend, none other than Adolf Hitler himself, AND this movie is meant to be an anti-hate satire. Man, that must have been a bizarre pitch meeting but one I wish I was present in! Regardless, Taika Waititi freaking nails it and delivers a feel-good movie with a simple message “Love over hate!” Yes, it is a simplistic message but in a world where racism, misogyny, xenophobia are all on the rise, thanks to our President and his actions, the film’s message is especially hard-hitting and resonant. The entire cast is absolutely phenomenal, with Scarlett Johansson a shoo-in for ‘Best Supporting Actress’ nomination at the Oscars. What a terrific 2019 for Scar Jo! This movie has a lot of dark, horrific moments but Taika deftly adds levity to deliver a comedic, yet emotionally-powerful film. Jo Jo Rabbit is not only one of the funniest films of 2019, but it is also one of the best of the year, period.

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Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures, TSG Entertainment, Piki Films, and Defender Films

1. Doctor Sleep – Before making a sequel to The Shining, Mike Flanagan directed a plethora of other terrific drama/horror films like Oculus, Gerald’s Game, Hush, and was the producer behind the stellar ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ show for Netflix. So naturally, him helming the sequel to my favorite horror film of all time had me very intrigued. On top of that, I’m a massive fan of both Stephen King’s novels! As is common knowledge, however, Stephen King absolutely loathes Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ for making Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson) the villain, as opposed to the Overlook Hotel itself. Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep, however, is a perfect marriage between Kubrick and King’s vision for this world. Ewan McGregor is phenomenal and gives a very subtle, nuanced performance, which might also be the reason for the Academy not nominating him for ‘Best Actor.’ The film explores Danny battling his (metaphorical and literal) demons. Initially, he drowns himself in booze, drugs, and also steals money off of a dead (one-night stand) woman’s body in one instance. However, he eventually learns to accept his powers as a gift and become better by actually using his ‘Shining’ abilities to do good. The rest of the cast, especially Kyleigh Curran who plays a precocious Abra, is great! In addition, the score really adds to the constant feeling of unease and peril throughout the film, especially when (the specific scene) Flanagan chooses to play the iconic ‘The Shining’ theme. Goosebumps!! Speaking of its predecessor, some have complained that the third-act relies too heavily on nostalgia and the Overlook Hotel itself. However, I argue that the trip to the Hotel was a natural progression for the characters and the story and especially essential in Danny truly confronting the ghosts of his tumultuous past. Overall, Doctor Sleep is a superb follow-up to the flawless ‘The Shining’ and should not be overlooked at the Academy Awards!

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Courtesy of Warner Bros, Vertigo Entertainment, and Intrepid Pictures

 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review (No Spoilers)

Ever since its inception in 1977, Star Wars has had a massive impact on pop-culture, with a plethora of iconic characters, scores, locations, etc. After being on a hiatus for a decade, Star Wars returned to the big screen, thanks to Disney’s pricey acquisition of Lucasfilm for $4 billion. Force Awakens and Rogue One were both lauded by critics and fans alike and made over a billion dollars each, with the former cracking the $2 billion mark. The Last Jedi was a critical success but was met with mixed audience reviews. Solo (remember that movie?) was a box office disaster, despite mixed-to-positive reviews from critics and audience alike. And now, the supposed grand finale to the 9-film Skywalker saga has released everywhere in the world and — it’s a mixed bag…

The problem with this new trilogy is the lack of coherent vision. JJ Abrams did a terrific job in starting the new Disney-Star Wars films with Force Awakens. Then, Rian Johnson came along and made some bold decisions to shift the trajectory and subvert the franchise tropes in The Last Jedi but because of how divisive it ended up being, Disney decided to re-hire JJ to conclude the trilogy and the Skywalker saga as a whole. By the end of the Rise of Skywalker, it was abundantly clear that Kathleen Kennedy (head honcho at Lucasfilm) failed at properly shepherding the new series of films and actually having a plan. 

Positives 

Just like in the Last Jedi, the dynamic between Rey and Kylo is by far the most interesting aspect of the film. Sans an out-of-nowhere moment at the end of the film, the ‘will-they won’t-they’ is as compelling as it was in the last film, and both actors clearly showcase their acting chops in those scenes. Furthermore, they engage in a lot more ‘force-time’ (a play on Face-time) in this film and I gotta say, the filmmakers cleverly utilize that particular Force trick throughout the film. Adam Driver continues his latest string of terrific performances and once again, commands the screen with his presence as Supreme Leader Kylo Ren. Daisy Ridley is once again the heart of this trilogy, mixed with a touch of darkness as teased in the trailers.

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In this chapter, we also got a lot more scenes with Rey, Poe, and Finn and I really enjoyed the chemistry and dynamic between them. After all, the 3 were mostly separated and sent on random sidequests in the Last Jedi. Even though Poe doesn’t have a whole lot to do (more on that later), his character is way more likable in this episode and does a convincing job showing his struggles to live up the legacy of General Leia. In addition, he gets some scene-stealing scenes with his former friend/lover (?), Zorii (played by Keri Russell). A spin-off film, please!

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Courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm

Negatives

This movie emphasizes plot over character, which often makes it feel bloated. As a result, it’s hard to care much for the characters, when not enough time is spent in fleshing them out. However, the biggest culprit is the exorbitant amount of fan-service, lacking any emotional connection whatsoever. Imagine if the third-act, action-heavy section of Avengers: Endgame neither had the character-driven moments in the first 2 acts nor the prior movies to actually develop the characters. When Captain America summons Thor’s hammer or yells “Avengers Assemble” or the heroes charge into the battle, we can’t help but cheer and cry with excitement! This is because the filmmakers actually showed the heroes at their nadir, which makes those fan-service moments emotionally resonant. In Rise of Skywalker, there are similar moments that are meant to elicit Endgame-level reactions but aside from a handful of cheers, the theatre was eerily quiet… When even the most hardcore of hardcore Star Wars fans are pretty silent during an Opening Night-1st screening of a Star Wars film, you know there’s a problem.

Speaking of characters, Finn and Poe are once again relegated to secondary roles and don’t have much to do. Finn’s Stormtrooper-turned-Rebel turn is only briefly referenced in the film but is largely ignored, which is frustrating because there’s a lot of story and conflict that could’ve been mined there.

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Courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm

This image perfectly encapsulates the film’s grandiose aspirations! It has more spectacle and bigger-action set-pieces but somehow feels smaller compared to the final battle of the other episodic films. Also, none of the action scenes are as intense or thrilling as the ‘Throne Room Battle‘ in The Last Jedi or ‘Rey vs Kylo‘ fight in The Force Awakens. It’s essentially an inordinate amount of VFX-generated Rebel ships engaged in dogfights with the Imperial fleet, with no tension or excitement.

As shown in the trailers, Palpatine is back and despite us wondering how he survived the end of Return of the Jedi, the filmmakers never answer that question, which renders Vader’s sacrifice (spoiler alert?) pointless. In addition, this movie retcons many *major* aspects of The Last Jedi, which adds to the feeling of disjointedness throughout the trilogy. Why does Rey have to be related to somebody?… Her being a “nobody” is far more compelling and makes her character more relatable, as opposed to being related to another strong force-user. Where Rian Johnson tried to subvert expectations and take the characters away from all the Skywalker baggage, JJ fully embraces the past and arguably doubles down by the end of the film. Again, extremely poor-planning on Kennedy’s part! Much to my chagrin, this film also has a painful tendency to immediately backtrack on moments that signify any form of stakes (deaths of people/droids), which I can only guess is to play safe and not piss off any more viewers?

Rating – Mild Recommendation

Despite a couple of amazing moments (Rey vs/and Kylo, the increased screentime with the new trinity), The Rise of Skywalker is a massive disappointment. Too much fan-service, without any emotional or dramatic weight, isn’t worth much when not earned. If you want more action, spectacle, and nostalgia in your Star Wars appetite, then this film will most definitely satiate your desires. However, I hoped for a more bolder story and character decisions, a la The Last Jedi, rather than once again playing it safe and unfortunately, Rise of Skywalker would rather ride on the coattails of its (superior) predecessors than charting its own path.

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Terminator: Dark Fate Review (No Spoilers)

Terminator: Dark Fate is the third reboot of the once-iconic Terminator franchise. After the critical and financial success of the first 2 films, Hollywood has desperately tried to continue the killer-AI robot story but has failed (from what I hear) every time. I’ve seen the first 2 Terminator flicks multiple times and love them but for some inexplicable reason, I never watched any of the other ones, which I hear are pretty sub-par anyways. Dark Fate completely ignores Terminator 3-5 and takes place directly after T2: Judgement Day.

Positives

Linda Hamilton is absolutely fantastic as Sarah Connor and brings a much-needed gravitas and emotion to the film. Her iconic character has been hardened through 3 films and this time, she’s snarkier than ever. But don’t let that fool you into thinking she’s just there to dump one-liners. There’s a lot of pain beneath her snark but she buries that to complete her mission, which is to kill Terminators. She also gets to kick a lot of ass and it’s absolutely enjoyable seeing her do so!

PS – I love this recent trend of taking an iconic female character from the previous century and bringing them as toughened badasses in the present day. We saw this with Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween, now Linda in Terminator. Fingers crossed for that Sigourney Weaver’s return as Ripley in a future Alien film!

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 (named Carl in the film) is probably the most ‘human’ he’s ever been in a Terminator film. He also gets some of the film’s funniest lines and sells the action once again. His dynamic with Linda is played extremely well and if this does end up being the swansong for Arnold’s character, it’s pretty satisfying!

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Courtesy of Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media, 20th Century Fox, and Tencent Pictures

The action is fairly well-shot and actually ends up feeling exciting! There is a LOT of action (in the air & underwater, in a warehouse, on a plane, etc.) and it never feels too much.

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The new additions – Mackenzie Davis (enhanced super-soldier named Grace), Gabriel Luna (Rev-9 – the evil Terminator), and Natalie Reyes (the important resistance figure) infuse a much-needed jolt of freshness and diversity to the franchise and are surprisingly solid characters, especially Grace. Davis brings a lot to her role, especially through her physicality, and commands the screen with such elegant grace (sorry I had to).

Negatives

Dark Fate is a pretty formulaic movie with predictable twists and a familiar story beat. A terminator is sent from the future to kill an important resistance leader, in other words, this is also the plot of the other Terminator films.

Even though Gabriel Luna’s Rev-9 is pretty intimidating and ends up being a challenging foe for our heroes, he does not have a whole lot to do… In addition, we learn that Sarah Connor has been *behaving like a machine* and killing Terminators, while Arnold’s once-killer Terminator learns to become more human. That premise is arguably more interesting, and emotionally and intellectually stimulating than the paint-by-numbers film we end up getting.

Lastly, let’s not even delve in the Terminator timeline and time-travel rules because it frankly makes no sense. As Deadpool jokes in the first Deadpool film “these timelines are getting so confusing.” Side note, it’s fitting that Tim Miller (the director of the first Deadpool) also directed this new Terminator film.

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Courtesy of Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media, 20th Century Fox, and Tencent Pictures

Rating – Solid Recommendation

Albeit nowhere as good or as emotionally resonant as Terminator 1 and 2, Dark Fate is a perfectly serviceable action film. Seeing Linda and Arnold on-screen again made for some engaging dialogue, and the action is pretty fun to watch as well. If you’re looking for entertaining, turn-your-brain-off kind of movie, Dark Fate is the one for you!

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Joker Review (No Spoilers)

After all the handwringing and controversy surrounding Joker and its potential to incite mass-shootings, we finally have the chance to ACTUALLY see the movie and judge the film’s alleged pernicious take on the character.

When WB announced they were making a stand-alone Joker film (not connected to the DC movies) with Todd Phillips at the director’s chair, I was a little apprehensive. But my apprehensions slowly got alleviated when WB announced that Joaquin Phoenix was going to play the eponymous character. Pheonix, known for playing extremely nuanced and troubled characters, is one of the best actors of our generation and his involvement immediately got a lot of nay-sayers (like myself) on board.

Now before I go in-depth of my review, I just want to mention something. There has been a lot of talk about such a movie glorifying violence and romanticizing its titular character. I can assure you, however, this movie does NOT glorify violence. Yes, there are moments where you absolutely relate to the character and sympathize with him but you’re never (hopefully not, at least) rooting for him. Besides, what did people expect from a Joker movie? The iconic super-villain has always been someone viewers understood because he points out society’s hypocrisies, but his inkling for violence puts him on a pedestal that is beyond redemption.

Lastly, regarding the recent reports of the FBI and intelligence agencies finding credible threats of potential mass shootings at the Joker screenings, I just want to say one thing – this film isn’t going to cause people with mental illnesses to suddenly go on a shooting spree and kill innocent people. If they are going to (and I sincerely hope not), they’ll do it because they wanted to anyways and not because of a movie telling them to (which it doesn’t, by the way).

Positives 

No hyperbole, Joker is easily one of the best, if not the best film, I’ve seen in a very long time. Joaquin Phoenix is an absolute shoo-in for ‘Best Actor’ at the Oscars and any other acting accolades, and I frankly just can’t imagine any thespian delivering a better performance this year. His performance genuinely feels authentic and Phoenix completely submerges himself in the role, especially regards to his gaunt physicality. He’s frightening, at times, but displays all the wide range of emotions required for the Clown Prince of Crime. One of Phoenix’s Joker’s characteristic traits is that his uncontrollable laughter is proclaimed as a ‘neurological condition’ which he can’t control. Throughout the film, his laughter is often shown as painful and it’s a condition that makes others be ‘weirded’ out by him, which plays into his transition from Arthur Fleck to the Joker.

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Joker (the movie) explores mental illness and how we treat people that are different in our society. There are so many parallels to our world today, especially with the surge in the number of mass shootings in the US. These killers, often having mental health issues, aren’t created in a vacuum but are the products of years of societal abuse and/or negligence. Rather than completely ignoring such people, the movie is illustrating that may be offering better psychological and government-provided health services can prevent further alienating someone who is already in the fringe. In addition, the movie also deals with the growing divide between the rich and the poor and the incel culture. This movie does portray Arthur Fleck a little more sympathetically but never shies away from truly showing the heinous side of the character.

Technically speaking, this film is flawless. The score completely engages you in the film and is chilling to listen to. The cinematography is great, the script is exceptionally well-written, and the supporting actors all deliver solid performances too. It’s just that Phoenix is on a whole other level that the other performances feel ignored.

Despite being completely isolated from the DCEU, there are definitely some connections to the larger Batman mythos. For starters, Thomas Wayne is one of the secondary characters who’s (kinda) portrayed as a Donald Trump-esque figure. A young Bruce Wayne is also in the film and as we see in the trailers, Arthur confronts him in Wayne Manor at one point in the film.

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Courtesy of Warner Bros & DC Films

Negatives 

Albeit not necessarily a major issue, the film doesn’t really take sides in regards to the inequality war. Is the film condemning the affluent as a bunch of tyrants that take advantage of the poor? Is the poor and/or lower-class just a bunch of anarchists and rioters who will jump at the opportunity to bash the rich?

Look, this isn’t like any comic-book movie ever released and is completely a character-driven film. If you’re looking for a big, action-spectacle, you’ll be massively disappointed as there is very little ‘action’ in the film. Some might feel bored and/or the slow-burn, but I personally didn’t feel that at all. I was completely riveted from start to finish…

Rating – Must-Watch

I’ll simply echo what I said earlier – Joker is a f*cking masterpiece and is easily one of the best films I’ve seen in a long time. The relevant themes to our modern society, the performances, the score, are absolutely top-notch and make this one of the most disturbing films I’ve ever seen. In other words, put on a happy face and go watch this movie!!

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IT Chapter Two Review (No Spoilers)

Just like Harley Quinn in the ‘Birds of Prey‘ teaser, we should all be so “f*cking over clowns” too but we need them, don’t we? With Pennywise and the Joker, psychotic clowns are going to be giving the box office a much-needed boost.

After defeating IT, the ‘Losers’ all go their separate ways, with most of them leaving Derry and starting their own lives. 27 years later, however, IT returns which necessitates the return of the gang too. As a massive fan of the first IT and the actual 1000+ sprawling novel, I was excited about the sequel. The studio definitely assembled a star-studded cast (with the likes of James Mcavoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, etc.) and the predecessor was delightfully entertaining.

Positives

In terms of performances, the actors all deliver. Mcavoy (Bill) and Chastain (Beverly)  bring their usual A-game, carrying a lot of the film’s emotionally-charged sequences. For Bill, it’s a ‘storyline’ with a random kid who he encounters a couple of times that truly allows the actor to flex his acting muscles. You absolutely buy his frustration and anger and Mcavoy truly excels there. The other adult Losers’ actors – James Ransone (a still-hypochondriacal Eddie), Jay Ryan (a more muscular Ben), Isaiah Mustafa (Mike), and Andy Bean (Stanely) are all great as well and are definitely prime for more roles in the future. But, I really have to echo what most people are saying “Bill Hader steals the movie.” Not only is he easily the funniest character (Richie) in the film, but also one of the most sympathetic. Even though he’s still as foul-mouthed as ever, we learn that his tendency to be puerile is more of a facade he wears to not reveal his true feelings. I can’t really delve more into that because of spoilers…

Richie and Eddie’s back-and-forth is particularly engaging and absolutely fun to watch. The cast has excellent chemistry and when they are allowed to interact with each other, you really feel a sense of camaraderie. My favorite scene in the movie is the Chinese restaurant scene where the adults reunite for the first time and try to remember their past. Of course, Pennywise is up to his usual devilish antics and ruins the reunion but, that scene perfectly captures the chemistry. Their personalities and charming back-and-forth are played extremely well and it’s clear that the cast had a lot of fun too.

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Courtesy of Warner Bros & New Line Cinema

Albeit a poor decision to show the titular character in broad daylight and not given enough screentime, Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise is still pretty terrifying. There are 2 wonderful Pennywise-related additions in the movie (not in the book) that were f*kn awesome – a scene with a young girl underneath the bleachers at a baseball game and the ‘Hall of Mirrors.’ Not only is the ‘Hall of Mirrors’ scene extremely thrilling, but also effective because Bill sees Georgie in the aforementioned kid and doesn’t want the same fate to befall him.

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The cinematography, the production and the hybrid of CGI/practical effects are all pretty solid. But by far, the most surprising aspect of the film is its abundance of humor (sometimes to a fault). IT Chapter Two is dam funny, which is probably not what most viewers expected. There is also a pretty meta-throughline about Bill’s character (who is a writer) sucking at writing a proper ending, which is a common complaint of Stephen King’s book endings.

Negatives

Even though the first IT had a great balance of humor and scares, the sequel goes a little overboard with the humor, which often ends up undercutting the emotional sequences. In addition, we don’t learn much about adults (aside from the obligatory scenes in the beginning). It would’ve been great to actually spend more time with them before they are thrust to this world again. The child actors also return and even though they were great in the first one, their additions take away screentime from their adult counterparts.

Also, the whole point of the second part of the IT story is that the adults reunite to take down IT. Unfortunately, the entire second act is the Losers being separated and finding ‘totems’ or relics from their childhood for a sacrifice, which would have been okay if the ritual ended up being (at least a little) effective. It doesn’t, so you’re left with almost an hour of the movie being pointless. Think Finn and Rose’s storyline in Star Wars: The Last Jedi… This is also where the movie drags a little and could have truncated a portion of the runtime (which is almost as long as Avengers: Endgame). Each character (sans characters like an adult Mike) is allocated 5-10 minutes and some of their nostalgic moments just aren’t that interesting.

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Courtesy of Warner Bros & New Line Cinema

Speaking of, Mike is the only loser that stayed back after defeating IT and vividly remembers IT and the adventures they had. However, he once again gets the short end of the stick, in terms of character development, and we don’t learn much about him. He exists as an exposition-dumping machine and doesn’t have much of a personality. Returning characters like Henry Bowers, the switchblade-wielding bully, has absolutely no purpose being in the movie. He doesn’t affect the story much, if at all, and simply ends up taking precious screentime away from other characters.

The filmmakers also feel a need to shove a lot of material from the book and oftentimes, it feels as if not enough time is spent to let us marinate on what just transpired. I contend that this film could have benefitted from splitting into 2 movies, which would have given us more time to flesh out the pre-Derry adult Losers and explore the mythology behind Pennywise.

Finally, the big climactic moment ends up feeling extremely anti-climactic and I was left scratching my head “that’s how they defeat IT?”

Rating – Mild Recommendation

Albeit filled with strong performances and hilarious one-liners, IT Chapter Two is a bit of a disappointment. 2017 IT was so good that when compared to the original, the sequel was always going to be a bit of a let-down. Regardless, the movie has good scares and is an entertaining watch.

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All the Marvel Studios Disney+ shows announced

After the recent San Diego Comic-Con and D-23, it’s abundantly clear that Disney is pulling no punches when it comes to their streaming service – Disney+. The service launches on November 12 and will have original Star Wars and Marvel Studios TV series, and all the content that Disney owns/ now owns with Fox acquisition.

In terms of all the Marvel shows announced, here is the list –

Falcon & Winter Soldier (Fall 2020) – The show takes place after the events of Endgame and SPOILER ALERT for Endgame, old man Steve gives the Cap shield/ ‘mantle’ of Captain America to Sam. The main villain of the series is Zemo, who was the antagonist in Captain America: Civil War. Sharon Carter (Agent 13) will once again return to presumably succor Sam and Bucky on their next adventure.

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Courtesy of Marvel Studios

WandaVision (Spring 2021) – At D23, Kevin Feige described this series as “half Marvel movie” and “half 60’s sitcom.” It’s entirely possible that Scarlet Witch uses her reality-warping abilities to ‘create’ this world where Vision was still alive and they actually shared life together. Of course, as you may remember from Avengers: Infinity War, Vision was killed (twice). Apparently, the events of the show lead directly into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which will see Scarlet Witch team-up alongside the Sorceror Supreme.

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Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Loki (Spring 2021) – It seems as if the fan-favorite character Loki will never truly stay dead. This is the Loki, that escaped with the Tesseract in the 2012 time-travel scene in Endgame. Not much is known about the show other than the fact that Loki will jump around in time and “pop up throughout human history as [an] unlikely influencer on historical events.”

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Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Marvel’s What-If (Summer 2021) – This is going to be the first ANIMATED Marvel Studios project, with 23 episodes in a season (one episode for every MCU movie). All the MCU actors will return to the voice of their animated counterparts. As the title suggests, this series will explore alternate versions of the characters and stories. For example, in episode 1, ‘What if’ Peggy Carter got the superhero serum as opposed to Steve Rogers. You get the idea…

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Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Hawkeye (Fall 2021) – Not much is known about this particular series but according to reports, this show will largely be about Clint Barton training and passing the mantle of Hawkeye to a character named Kate Bishop.

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Courtesy of Marvel Studios

The other shows Marvel has announced for their parent company’s streaming service includes – Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and Moon Knight.

Note, the ‘cooling-off period‘ for the Netflix characters (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and The Punisher) is 2 years. Meaning, we could very well see some of them having their own series and/or guest-starring in other people’s shows. For example, we could see Matt Murdock (Daredevil) in She-Hulk, since Jennifer Walters is also a lawyer.

Anyways, these are all the shows Marvel has announced. I am most intrigued by the WandaVision show but in terms of my sheer anticipation, it’s easily Falcon & Winter Soldier!