“Pete’s Dragon” a Darker Version of the Family Film

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Although it is about Pete and Elliot the dragon, Pete’s Dragon is a far cry from the live action and animated musical that we loved and filled our dreams as children. This Pete’s Dragon has a modern twist that sets even PG viewers on the edge of their seats. From the opening scary car crash involving Pete’s parents, to the hostile way they have to capture Elliot the dragon, the film spans a mystery, adventure and fantasy that both endears and shocks. Read more

“Suicide Squad” Villains vs Supervillain

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Rivaling the dark comedy superhero movie Deadpool, the wacky Suicide Squad takes off with a blast and it will kickass this weekend. The sometimes hilarious action, adventure, science fiction thriller gets yanked from the DC comic books by super director David Ayer for the huge IMAX screen and other venues. It’s a monster of a film filled with, yup, a monstrous cast and tons of computer graphics to feed the audience targeted with an adrenaline rush. One of the better action releases this year, the film WILL make a ton of money at the box offices worldwide. Read more

“The Bride”, a Tragedy of Undying Love

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Steeped in a veil of deceit and anguish The Bride (“La Novia”) tells a tale of forbidden love and vengeance. Much like the films by powerful director Sergio Leone this foreboding tale gets an ominous story that involves star crossed lovers, choices, and a heroine pulled between families. Excellent cinematography plays a big part in this revenge driven film. Read more

“Captain Fantastic” Dealing with Culture Clash

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Giving probably his best performance in many years, Viggo Mortenson makes Captain Fantastic up-close and personal. And the acting, direction and cinematography all come together in this heartfelt film about a strong-willed family. However, the storyline takes on a dark tone concerning todays’ social and religious beliefs that tends to provide its own agenda. While it’s not uncommon for films to add critical scenes, this one becomes obsessive with it. Read more

“Nerve”, It’s a Game You Dare Not Play

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Targeted at teens the movie Nerve sets up a very dangerous game that involves taking huge chances and cheating death. The film has adequate acting and able direction, but the storyline does have elements of the impossible. While it’s just a movie to create thrills and suspense, it’s kind of fun to watch, especially the risky scenes involving the dares. Read more

LIN TAKES “STAR TREK” BEYOND THE BEYOND

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A very impressive, dramatic and exciting Star Trek Beyond opens this weekend and for trekkies, sci-fi enthusiasts and action film lovers it’s a perfect getaway. Overflowing with superb CGI effects, “fast and furious” explosiveness and settings beyond the beyond, the film should do very well in attendance at the box office. Best seen in the IMAX 3D format, the film jumps off the screen and drives you into the story as it gets played out in a galaxy of the future. Read more

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” a Comedy About Growing Up

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The oddball film Hunt for the Wilderpeople has a couple of attributes that make it very special. First, it has a story that charms, captivates and compels viewers to watch a young boy come of age in a strange environment under the most unusual circumstances. Second, the perfect cast treats the audience with performances that work their way into your heart and never let go. If you enjoy movies that fascinate with characters changing for better or worse, than this is your cup of Zealong tea. Read more

“The Innocents” a Disturbing True Story of Dignity

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The atrocities of WWII were not only the work of the Nazis, but the Russian troops made Polish Christians pay a price for life as well. The film The Innocents (“Les Innocentes”) tells a true story so appalling that it’s hard to watch. But, you will not want to miss a frame for this true account that took place toward the end of WWII in Poland. Read more

“The Secret Life of Pets” a Wild Adventure in the Big Apple

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Very funny and creative The Secret Life of Pets puts together a raucous little ditty filled with some very cute characters. The story idea may not be original as it takes a premise much like that of Toy Story, but this animated film delivers a lot of twists for the more mature children. From the gang that gave us Despicable Me and Minions, the art style works here as does the similar sometimes dark comedy. Safe for most of the family, especially those that have matured, the movie spools out nicely for teens to twenties as well. Read more

“The Legend of Tarzan”, a Tall Tale of a Jungle Icon

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With a hefty $180 million dollar budget the film The Legend of Tarzan makes its bow this weekend looking for the PG-13 crowd to swing into action and make it a box office winner. The production used every bit of the budget with an adventure that takes you on a roller coaster ride; just taking time in between drops to catch your breath before moving on to the next exciting twist and turn. Read more

“Finding Dory”, an Underwater Adventure for Kids

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Following in the footsteps of an academy award winning animated film is a tough proposition, but Finding Dory shows it’s up to snuff. This spin-off of Finding Nemo takes families on another journey with this time looking for Dory’s parents. Although it can be considered a stand-alone film, the trip has many similarities to Nemo’s big adventure. While this shouldn’t be a problem for even the littlest tyke, parents may yawn a bit, get antsy, and even look at their glow in the dark watch once or twice or maybe even three times. Hopefully the new characters will keep the older folks amused, especially my favorite Hank the octopus. Read more

“Warcraft”, an Impressive Action Fantasy

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While I’m not a gamer and have never played the game associated with the movie Warcraft, I am a huge fan of the trilogies Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. So much so that I’ve had an empty feeling only filled with replays of the Blu-ray collection of the Rings and Hobbits. Then up pops Warcraft filled with orcs and dwarfs and humans battling it out on the IMAX screen. Not a complete substitute, but an impressive one that beyond gamers, those that love middle earth should enjoy the story, acting and battles galore. Read more

“Popstar: Never Stop, Never Stopping”, a Rap Star on the Rocks

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Continuing with a list of goofball films the trio of writers called ‘Lonely Island’ Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer make Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, a mockumentary style movie that may look a bit like one famous pop star who made it big. But it’s just another project for their memory chest. You may remember Hot Rod and The Watch or maybe not, well anyway they also collaborated on the two so-so comedies. And both films barely made a pay day for the big talent that were in them. Now comes another shot at trying to build an audience and box office, but from the looks of Popstar they should hunker down for the long haul. Read more