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THYME REVIEWS ◽ TIPS
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Beijing Watermelon - **

Based on a true story, I wanted to see this...a foreign film about a Japanese store owner that starts helping poor college kids from China...at the expense of his family and store.  Sounds interesting, right?  The visuals and the fast-paced streets near the store were eye catching, as we watched the characters unfold.  Nice of the man to help these kids...right?  I mean, he gave them produce at cost.  But then it went too far and too long...and began to make no sense. And how did his family live in that cramped space? The movie even showed how it was filmed as part of the story. It was a head-shaker, as we exited the theater.  Worth watching?  Maybe.  It's different. and sometimes different is what summer needs...  See what you think.  Great title to draw you in a hot day don't ya think?

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Face Off 7 - One Wish ***

It's a foreign film worth watching.  She's raised five children alone...she has a roadside flower shop...until she doesn't.  It's then that she needs some help, only her children fight and bicker over their busy lives and who even has time to have Mom come stay with them?  They work on a plan that really inconveniences them all...it's quite something to watch.  How can they be so selfish?  Aren't we all like that a bit?  As the mom visits each home, character and hidden secrets come to light, hearts open, and family values finally win...but boy the journey is a hard watch - because I think we all understand and yet are appalled at these kids and their treatment of their mom.  This movie is interesting, different, and tells moving a story in the best way - one of our faves of the summer.

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The Watchers **

I like Director Shyamalan from the movie Signs, so I thought I might like this film.  The story was interesting, when a young woman (Dakota Fanning) gets trapped in a building with three strangers in a forest in Ireland.  Then these strange creatures show up...and why do they?  What do they want?  The movie dragged at times, the characters were dull, and the ending picked up but when it was all over...neither of us liked the story or the ending.  It's not really a horror story, although the ending is somewhat like one.  It was a a waste of an evening..in our book.  It could have been so much better.  

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Ezra ***

You might need to find this one on Prime, but find it.  He's a comedian with an autistic son, estranged from his wife, and he lives with his dad (DeNiro).  It might be the best mix of funny with serious, hard with light, and family dynamics of the most explosive kind.  And the actors playing all the parts are amazing.  I wasn't sure I wanted to see this movie, and I don't have an autistic child, so I have no idea if this is a true portrayal or not...but it's poignant and will draw you in and you'll stay in until the credits roll.  We both were like  wow...what a story.  And if you do have an autistic child, hats off and high fives for facing the days with parental tenacity and love.

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Sight ***

Based on a true story - an amazing one - of a doctor that's driven to give sight to the blind.  He's got his own past to deal with as he pushes his way forward and we see a lot of that in flashbacks - done very well. And there's one particular patient hoping for a miracle.  But as life often goes, the miracle turns out to be different than the one hoped for and that makes for a great story, gripping, and powerful. I didn't know what to expect as I'd barely heard anything about this film, and we were both pleasantly surprised and moved by this story...with a personal note from the real doctor at the end.  It's an inspiring movie worth seeing!

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Hitman ***

Be forewarned that there's a lot of sexual implications that distract from the story, in my opinion.  However, this is a different twist and story unlike any we'd seen, and for that it got three stars.  He's (Glen Powell) a "fake" hitman and a teacher, and watching him transform back and forth between those characters is the best part of the film. Well done and entertaining.  He then falls for one of the women who comes to him to kill her husband.  After that, the story really gets interesting as the plot thickens, we don't know who is trustworthy or who is not, and who's going to snitch or not on this fake hitman.  Will he stay with the girl (she's a bit over the top!)?  You'll find yourself entertained, to say the least, and perhaps annoyed too at the sex...although that's certainly part of the story.

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Fall Guy ****

A refreshing new storyline you won't realize you  needed until you see this film. Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt are characters that make the movie.  He's a stunt man on a set where she's the director, and they like each other.  But it's not a typical rom com by any means.  There's an actor gone missing, and this stunt man is sent to find him. There's lots of action, the story line is different and unique, and we found ourselves leaving the theater saying, "That was nice, totally entertaining."  And we don't say that often.  These two actors of course are favorites on screen, and they don't disappoint here...at all.

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Unsung Hero ***

I didn't even know that Rebecca St James had two singing brothers until a few years ago, and I didn't know their family story.  This is it!  And the previews didn't lie.  It's a heart wrenching story on faith being shaken to the core.  If you've lived very long, you've had yours shaken, too. But it's not sappy or preachy, nor does it wash over the hard things in life that sometimes moms, families, kids and dads face...with incredible loss. But as we know...there is always hope...and what I liked most is God showed up and provided even when faith was LOW...  It's a great story of a mom that stood her ground and surrounded herself with truth and her kids...and never let go of what she knew to be true.  See it.  Be encouraged.  Why not?

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Civil War ***

Well, I like Kristen Dunst (she carries the movie) and her husband Jesse Plemons, so I wanted to go because of them.  She's a war photographer - a good one - and civil war has broken out in America...and this young photographer (who's totally green) ends up on the trek with Dunst and another guy, to make it to the White House where something is definitely going down with the president.    But the story is about these two women, in my opinion, as much as it it about the war.  The young photographer is intrigued and learning from the seasoned one...all while the reality of war and the images are worsening.  And what take place with these two women...well that's just as unnerving as the violence in the streets.  It's an interesting story, for sure. This movie is filmed and shot really well. It's bloody. An I suspect every viewer with come away with a different take...much like we do now watching our world...

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The Ministry of Ungentlemanly...**

I didn't really care to see this film, but we went...and because it was historical it was certainly interesting.  Winston Churchill had some rogue military men take on a mission like no other...and they did...and it was a a very suspenseful watch.  I liked that part of the experience, BUT the killing and the mission in this story seemed to be actually enjoyed by those doing it...which was unsettling.  I don't want to say much  more.  If you like historical, war type movies...you'll find this one a good one.  Even the title tells so much. And how did these rogue merciless men even get along enough to carry out this mission without killing each other? That's what I wanted to know...

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Ordinary Angels ***

Well, I love Hilary Swank in all of the movies and series she does (most recently Alaska Daily!)  The previews for this film were out a long time before the movie finally came.  She’s a country mom, a failure in the eyes of her son, and a struggling alcoholic.  Something about the story on the news of a little girl in need of a transplant tugged at her heart.  I mean, tugged.   She let no one and nothing stand in her way of showing up at their door, raising funds, and caring for the kids that had lost their mother, and their struggling dad. And she herself changed...for the better. It’s based on a true story, and that made it all the more compelling.  Swank is great, that’s just all there is to it…she made us believe anything is possible.

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Accidental Texan ***

I saw the cast and thought it must be a good movie, and it was – we were so pleasantly surprised!  Thomas Haden Church plays this roughneck oil man in small Town Texas that needs help because he’s about to lose his oil lease.  Rudy Pankow plays a young aspiring actor with a Harvard dad that “accidentally” breaks down near this small town and ends up staying a few weeks.  The movie is definitely character driven and we fall in love with all of them.  Bruce Dern makes an appearance and is awesome as well.  The story is a great drama, uplifting and inspiring.  We left the movie and both said, “That was good!”

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Cabrini ***

What a story of tenacity and fortitude and love, all wrapped up in one woman’s passion to help children.  I had never heard the story of Frances Cabrini, a nun that pressed through all sorts of adversity for who she was as a woman and without any means, except her “armor” she wore as a servant for God.  It’s a powerful film and the staggering statistics of her work will leave you wide-eyed at the end.  Great acting, and an inspiring film while we watched obstacle after obstacle try to stop this tiny “weak” woman and yet she  lived out her years beyond all expectation.  A must-see in the theaters.

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Bob Marley - One Love***

I like Bob Marley’s music, and I had seen the previews, and wanted to see the film.  It did not disappoint.  It gives insight to the life of Marley and his music and his family, and the struggles.  The guy playing Marley did a great job portraying the singer in his movements and persona.  The young woman that played his wife was awesome, as well.  I thought the story was told with great detail and color, and it was one of those films that made me look up the man after the credits rolled.  That’s the mark of something worth seeing.

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Zone of Interest ***

What a movie.  From the very beginning, the music and the solid color screens that linger...set the tone for this haunting and eerie "true story."  There was a commander and his family that lived just on the other side of the wall from the crematoriums during the Holocaust.  The movie shows how removed the family is, planting a garden, having parties, etc. while somehow blocking out the atrocities happening so close.  The dad is the one that designs the facilities that kill the Jews.  He's callous...but then is he? He is transferred to another site, while the mom and children stay behind in their luxuries.  And the end of the film leaves one wondering...and the music is hard to bear.  You'll want to look up all the explanations given on line of this film, because it helps so much...to piece it all together...a work of art for sure.

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Beekeeper **

Phylicia Rashad (remember the mom from Cosby?) and Jason Statham in a movie together. He stays in her barn on her property and keeps bees, but he's also a former operative of the Beekeepers, and one does not cross him.  When the sweet and caring woman gets scammed and taken, wrath arises as the Beekeeper sets out to set this company straight and put them out of business and out of life.  If you like Statham movies, you'll like this one, as he does what he does best.  And of course, you'll want him to win because well the lady...no one messes with the elderly without paying for it.  Right?

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ISS **

The International Space Station has six people on it - three Russian and three American.  We learn a bit about each person in the beginning, and then...both "sides" receive a message to take over the ship.  There are relationships at stake, who to trust is hard to figure out, and yes...a takeover begins with no holding back...as each person starts their quest to obey commands.  It's a thriller of sorts, and it makes one wonder about the real ISS and could this possibly happen in real life?  I didn't think the acting was superb, but it was a thriller that was good with popcorn on a Friday night...

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Book of Clarence ***

Pretty sure folks either love this movie or hate it.  I loved it.  It's artistic, it's not a faith-based movie per se, and the music and the story is way different than anything I've seen about a story in the bible - namely the Messiah - but this movie was genius.  There's this young man that is struggling to find his place in the world (as we all are at times) and he decides to proclaim himself the Messiah, I mean, why not?  Jesus is the Messiah already...or is he?  It's funny, it's serious, and we found ourselves in tears because we saw our own lives as ones similar to this guy...in need of redemption...and yet slow to believe.  It's very different but puts an awesome message out there...one we all need to hear again and again.

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American Fiction ***

Stereotypes among races.  A writer that's hit writer's block. So he changes his pen name and writes a Black book that backfires on him. Jeffrey Wright plays the novelist and I can see why he's nominated for an Oscar.  Funny, frustrated and brilliant, he is.  It's not a movie against either race, but rather one that shows the hypocrisy among all of us.  It was thought-provoking but at the same time funny. We didn't really know what to expect going in, but it was really different and engaging. Monk finally does publish a book and it's wildly successful...but is that really what he wants...that which comes with the success? Definitely worth seeing...

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The Color Purple ***

I did see the original film, but saw that this one revisits the story, adds music, and so we were curious.  The music and the choreography sent it way up on the watch list for me. That added SO MUCH.  The story is still sad but then redemptive.  And really the only thing that disappointed me was the change in actresses as one of the sisters aged...at the end.  With all the makeup available, I wish they'd just aged the original actress. I'm sure that's just me.  The acting is great, and if you like sassy women that stick it to men, then you might hear a few roars of "yes" from the women in the theater that are watching.  Because the men in this story are rotten to the core...but then again...there's hope for both the men and the women.  Always hope...when we stop to observe God's glory.

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Wonka ***

Not sure I'd ever seen any of the Willie Wonka stories, but we took the family to see this film - being the story of how Wonka began - with music - and Timothy Chalamet (and a mini dancing Hugh Grant) was so entertaining and bigger than life - and a huge hit with us all!  At the beginning Wonka was poor, he was a genius and he had to overcome so much...to share his "gift" with the world...a gift his mother encouraged him to share.  The colors, the acting, the songs, and all the magic make this a perfect holiday movie for the family - and it's safe for the kids - a win win!  But adults are sure to enjoy, as well.

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Godzilla Minus One ***

A lot of our friends didn't even know about this film being in the theaters.  And it's still there for now...and if you like these type of films, this one does not disappoint.  I really enjoyed it a lot.  It's not just a monster movie that's silly.  There's a story weaved in...it's after the war and this godzilla has been zapped...and there's a full on plot to go with the monster story.  And...it's such a fun watch with popcorn in hand!  A great movie full of action, pulls at your heartstrings, and the visuals - oh my.  Honestly, we both loved it.  It's in Japanese with subtitles, so there's that...but that was fun, too!

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The Holdovers ***

Paul Giamatti is wonderful in this film.  He plays a grouchy instructor at a New England prep school and gets handed the job of staying behind over the holidays with the kids "left behind" who have nowhere to go - not even home.  Not pleased, is he, nor are the boys left with him.  One in particular is a brain, and then there's also the cook, as she's there too.  My goodness, this is a good film and heartwarming but not sappy at all.  The boy gives the instructor a run for his money, and the instructor actually has something to give as well that he didn't know he had.  And the cook, she's awesome too.  All great acting. My favorite film of the season, so far...

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Journey to Bethlehem ***

I was quite surprised at how much I liked this film!  It's a musical, it's the story of Mary and Joseph told from what it might have been like for them...as young teens betrothed and unknown to each other.  The music is great.  King and Country singer and his wife are also in the movie.  Take the family.  It's not a biblical account crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's.  It's sweet and a fun watch, and if you love musicals...you'll love this one.  I actually want to see it again.  

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The Hunger Games **

I'm not a huge fan of these films, as the whole premise is a bit disturbing to me...that of kids battling to the death.  This is the prequel to the other movies, and it also has music...which was a surprise.  The girl that sings - she's good.  But the snakes - they're everywhere.  I found myself bored at times, as it is a long movie.  And the ending...well, we were all frustrated with that.  If you're a fan, you might love it...or not.  Just be prepared for different...and different isn't always good.

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Next Goal Wins **

He's got a temper because his life is a mess at the moment. but he once was a good soccer coach.  So he's sent to a Samoan island to try and coach a team that never wins.  He doesn't want to be there, at all.  But it's part of his therapy and so he goes.  The team is bad.  And while the movie isn't an award winning film, it's entertaining.  A bit goofy at times, but all the while heartwarming...somewhat.  It's an underdog story and who doesn't like those?  Michael Fassbender is the  new coach, and he learns more than the players, but they all come out with a win and better for it.  Go see it over the holidays...on one of those days when you're bored.

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Killers of the Flower Moon ***

It's Leonardo DiCaprio at his finest...although his character and the story in the film is a hard watch.  The Indians versus the white man, with Robert DeNiro playing the worst of the white.  DiCaprio's character is war-beaten and maybe a bit mind-challenged and he's taken advantage of and controlled by his nasty, deceiving uncle (DeNiro).  Then there's the fact that DiCaprio's character is married to an Indian woman.  What happens then and unfolds before our eyes is just the worst treatment of people and a nation ever... Good movie. Long.  Heart wrenching.

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Shelter in Solitude ****

This film is not in the theaters anymore, so look for it coming on Netflix.  This actress Siobhan Hogan deserves an award.  She's a country, washed up, wanna be singer that owns a bar in a backwards rural town, and Covid hits. Her brother  is the local jail warden, where a prisoner is on death row nearing his end.  No one else is available, she can't open her bar, so she is hired on as the prisoner's guard outside his cell.  What then transpires is worth watching over and over again.  This lady may not even be a lady, and this woman that prays may not even be a woman that knows how to pray, but she gets what it means to love a neighbor.  It's the best movie right now to see...we loved it.  

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Freelance *

I do not like it when movie stories mix serious content with stupidity.  And that's what this film does.  He's ex-military, having trouble at home, and he is called up to be a guard for a journalist traveling to foreign and hostile territory.  And that journalist (I don't know the actress' name - but she's awful) and what she wears and does is so unprofessional and hard to watch (seriously, her cell phone works remote and without charging in a forest?)  They bumble and stumble and shoot and then run through mud and rough terrain in white clothes...that stay white.  It's a dumb film.   The only saving grace is that his family is reunited in a heartwarming moment...and believe me, that doesn't spoil the film for you to know that.  Save this one for a cold night when you're bored at home and have nothing else to do.  And then find something else...  

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Dumb Money**

I thought the premise was interesting, as this is based on true events that happened with Gamestop (did you hear about it in the news?)  and I like Paul Dano and Shailene Woodley - the actors that play the main couple in the story.  He sees something that Wall Street doesn't and he has enough followers on social media to gain attention from these money gurus.  It looks like he and his followers that invest on his suggestion might win it big...until something awful happens.  So will they be able to stand against Wall Street?  Like I said, it's a cool premise and intriguing.  But the movie is FULL of pervasive cursing, like non-stop, that really distracted from the story (even the music).  And while the story was interesting, unless you know the terms of investments and trading, sometimes it's a little hard to understand what's going on.  But you do get to see what "really" happened at the end...and that was satisfying.

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 **

Really, all there is to say is that if you liked the other two, you'll like this one.  It's funny, same kind of humor, just later in life for all the characters.  I laughed at lot in the first one of these films, but I didn't laugh as much in this one.  The audience seemed to enjoy it.  It's been enough time that we still find the "repeaters" comical, and we all need a light-hearted film once in a while - this one works for an end of summer watch.  However, let's hope this is the last one and that there isn't a #4...because next time is one time too many.

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Camp Hideout **

It's a quirky film with quirky characters, for sure.  But there aren't many good family films for older kids and this one might fit the bill.  He's rebellious and troubled and he ends up  at a church camp, and he's rude to everyone.  But kids and counselors are patient and loving...which is refreshing...right?  He's got good reason to be mad at the world, but he's old enough to know he needs to change his life and make good choices.  The movie is entertaining and an easy watch.  Will this young teen be influenced by the good around him or is he just destined to bad?  It's a good conversation starter for you and your teens...but we enjoyed it too...and our kids are grown!

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The Equalizer 3 ***

I gave this movie three stars just because of Denzel Washington.  He's good, always good, in these justice-seeking movies where he's the good guy.  But this movie is dark.  And Denzel is ruthless.  So be forewarned, as you may cringe in a few scenes.  His character thinks he has retired until he sees the mafia mistreating the common folk.  And he won't stand for that, so he goes after them until they're gone, all gone.  And you'll like the way he's meticulous at the dinner table.  I mean, he's good.  But this edition of the Equalizer series is different.  And maybe the others were better.  But Washington is worth watching.

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The Hill ****

I don't give many movies four stars, and hardly ever a faith-based one. But Dennis Quaid and the little boys, as well as the older actors, that play his children...are believable and amazing. Quaid is a poor Baptist preacher back years ago, when apparently country folk spit and smoke in church.  He has a family to feed and support, and his youngest son wears leg braces but feels like he was created to play baseball.  All doctor's reports are stacked against him, as well as a mandate and by his dad that he's not to play and he never will...BUT...God has spoken differently to this young man that he most definitely will. Parenting is hard, especially for preachers, and a kid with a dream that won't be stopped...what's a dad to do?  This is based on the true story of Rickey Hill and you'll find yourself totally feeling sorry for everyone in the story.  What will happen?  We've all squirmed in our faith and with our kids and not known what to do.  It's a GOOD movie.

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Golda ***

Helen Mirren plays Golda Meir, the woman prime minister in Israel decades ago, and this is her story of what she had to face during the Yom Kippur War, decisions she had to make, her chronic illness...and more.  She was a chain smoker and honestly, that almost took over the movie...smoke filled almost every scene with her!  All four of us didn't like that part.  But Mirren, as she usually is, was amazing - and her transformation with hair and makeup and costume is really good!  I didn't really know a lot about this character or this time in history, and so I really was drawn into the story...as were we all.  When the credits rolled, I couldn't believe she never caught her bed on fire, with her cigarettes.  Not sure that was what should have stuck in my mind...but you'll see what I mean if you see the film.

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Gran Turismo ***

I wasn't sure if I would like this film or not, but turns out we both did, a lot!  What an incredible story of a video gamer boy turned race car driver in real life - and a fantastic one!  The story of the boy and his dad is a good one, as well as the trainer for the race (great casting), and then just watching the build as the races were made, the obstacles that were encountered, and all that went into training for the races.  It was really entertaining and a good end of summer film, if you haven't seen it yet!  There's more to racing than meets the eye...or the heart.

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Blue Beetle **

We saw this film at the drive in, in a small town, so that made it so fun.  Again, I'm not a huge fan of marvel movies, although they're okay . What I did like about this one was that it was about a Latino family, a nice change.  And it was about family, always a good thing.  And I'd never heard of the Blue Beetle before, so the whole story was new and exciting and kept our attention - even with the bad popcorn and horrible chili nachos my husband ordered.  As this genre of movie goes, it's worth seeing and introducing to your vault of Marvels.

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Retribution **

As Liam Neeson movies go, it's not exactly his typical style.  He's not actually fighting off people but rather he's being chased...with his kids in his car...and there's a bomb that will destroy them all if he gets out of the car.  He's got family troubles, he's a workaholic, and he's got issues at work...and he's in BIG trouble.  I wondered why this older actor was cast with such young children, so I was distracted a bit by that.  The movie was tense, dramatic, and Neeson has to save the day and his family...if he can...by outwitting the cops and figuring out why and who put the bomb under his car.  Will he do it?  Well, you can bet he will...

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Spiderman:Across the Spiderverse **

You know by now that it's hard for me review animated films.  I'm not a kid nor a teen, so my view is from a mature adult...  As animated films go, this movie is very modern and off the charts with the visuals. Some scenes look like animation, some like paintings and some are neon.  It's quite stimulating.  The story is also interesting, with multi Spidermans across ethic lines and timelines.  There's a lot of "family" value hidden in the story as well.  However, I didn't give it more than two stars because it was hard to follow.  While it was exciting and engaging for a bit, then I found myself yawning. Back and forth.  And it was very long...for an animated film.  So go see it if you're a fan of Spiderman and animation and all the new visuals.  You'll probably love it.  And it's not for tiny kids, in my estimation...

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Past Lives ***

I'd never seen these two actors before, and they were great.  The two were childhood best friends and then she and her family immigrated to America. She became a writer, he was working on engineering...and over a decade later he finds her on social media.  They become close again from a distance...then it's over.  They both move on...until they meet again this time in person.  Sounds slows and boring.  It is slow but it  needs to be, and it's not boring.  It's a great drama about a solid relationship that never got a chance to take root until... I can't tell you the last third of the movie, but we were both drawn completely in hoping for this couple but yet not, because of an obstacle.  The emotions these two actors showed brought a tear in both of us, totally unexpected...a great summer drama/romance.

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Little Mermaid***

It's a classic, right?  I remember taking my daughter ages ago to see the original and she jumped in my lap at the sight of Ursula.  All the chracters are back and the story is the same, but it's real humans playing the parts, not animated.  I prefer that, myself.  And the visuals are great.  When I first saw it, I had wished for more original music, but the kids liked it just as it is...and we even saw it again.  Ursula is played by Melissa McCarthy, and I thought she was downright scary...and tiny kids might, too.  But she's fantastic in the role.  I thought I'd never get "under the sea" out of my head before...and now it's in there again.  Lots of humor, heartwarming moments, romance and adventure.  A great family film.

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Transformers**

Do you like the Tranformers films, usually?  I think you'll like this one, too.  There's a warm story between a big brother and his younger sibling...that enables the big brother to do what he does...as he "accidentally" falls into a car that then transforms in more ways than one.  What follows transforms their lives!  Lots of action, cool graphics, and it kept my attention - that's saying something!  They and the transformers find themselves in a battle for earth, and for life.  The main guy is from In the Heights, if you saw that movie.  And the actress that becomes involved in the battle is a good fit, as well.  If you wonder about taking the kiddos, there is quite a bit of language...FYI.

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Super Mario Brothers ***

We saw this with the kids, and it was their second time to see it.  They were totally excited to see it again with us.  The music - well that made the movie - because it's from all the games.  And the characters (don't hate me, but I never knew they were plumbers) were delightful as brothers, and the story was great as well.  My favorite character was a puffy white star - go figure.  Made me laugh a couple of times, and that's saying a lot. There's adventure, all of the peril that the same characters have in the video games, but the story is totally engaging.  Nothing offensive for the kiddos, either.  And guess what?  The theater was crowded, even a couple weeks after this movie came out.  It's a winner for families.

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Hypnotic **

Ben  Affleck stars in this story about going after his missing daughter, and it's promoted as a thriller, which I guess it was.  But there are alternate universes and so much of the movie is dark and uninteresting...at all.  You see, Affleck's character and his daughter as well have these special "gifts" - abilities.  And then there's this psychic woman that says she will help, only everyone is not who they seem and things get messy. Especially near the end.  I think there could totally be a second installment of this film because of the unanswered questions, but one look was really enough.  I won't be seeing the sequel.  Not one of Affleck's best.

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Guardians of the Galaxy **

I never liked the other films in this series, but this one at least had an interesting story line...sort of.  I'm not a fan of Groot or Rocket (is that the raccoon's name?)  Honestly, I've never understood the popularity of this film series...but I suppose (at least for me) it's sort of a modern day Star Wars, but not nearly as good.  I did like Star Wars...back in the day. However, my husband liked Guardians and he likes the raccoon, so it's not all about me, now it it?  If you liked the other ones, you'll like this film.  But I feel like we saw all the good parts in the previews...and that's never a good sign.

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Fast  **

If you like fast-paced action movies with unbelievable stunts and near-death scenes, with amazing cars that can do amazing things - along with corny humor - this is the film for you.  But if you don't, you'll find yourself entertained but often glancing at your phone under your sweater (like I did.)  These movies in this series just get crazier and crazier, while trying to make the story heartwarming as well.  There are lots of familiar faces in this film, so you  might like that.  Get a big tub of popcorn...because it's a long movie.

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Chevalier ***

It's the French Revolution...unrest is in the city of Paris...blacks are not part of the elite...until a French Caribbean violinist (a black Mozart) appears on the scene.  It's the story of a true artist whose music is resurfacing (today)...and oh, what music it is!  The music was my favorite.  But back to the story...this young man was left by his white father, his enslaved mom disappeared, and the boy had to grow up with resolve and confidence in his skills alone.  He is the best, but of course not recognized as he should be...and life hits him hard...as well as death. Kelvin Harrison Jr does a great job from start to finish. You'll learn a little history, hear some fantastic sounds, and want to look up the real guy after you leave the theater.  It's a good movie.

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The Covenant *****

Idk the last time I placed five stars up there but here they are. 

Both main actors in the film playing the sergeant and the interpreter should win an Oscar, in my opinion.  There's a troop in Afghanistan and the sergeant gets a new interpreter, neither of which trusts the other.  They soon find themselves alone in a race to escape the Taliban, so trust is a must.  The word "covenant" comes to life on the big screen as these two men, each for the other, have to lay down their lives.  You might need a tissue because it might remind you of Another that also laid down his life...at least it did me.  The Covenant - Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim - fantastic in this thriller.

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Air ****

Matt Damon, Viola Davis, Ben Affleck...how could the movie be bad?  And the story of the Air Jordan shoe and how it came to be, well that's worth watching!  These types of films are always intriguing, just the story line, but when you have this stellar cast...it's the best. Damon is a bit of a frumpy middle-aged guy with an idea that's not received so well, but the risks are taken.  And Davis is Jordan's mom, a force to be reckoned with.  And Affleck has to decide, to run with the idea or not.  What a story from the beginning to the end.  We saw it on opening night and the crowd clapped.  That's always a good sign...This is rated R solely due to language, fyi.

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Creed III ****

Yes, I gave this four stars.  Surprisingly, i LOVED this movie because of the storyline and the actors that played the two main characters.  Jonathan Majors deserves an award.  His character was friends with Adonis Creed as a teen, a good friend, only something very unfortunate happened that separated the two.  One became a famous boxer and the other spent a long time in prison and then got out...with one goal in mind.  He wanted to get back what he missed and become great at boxing...against his friend.  The story between these two is riveting and engaging, and the performances (outside the boxing ring) are worth seeing.  Will this friendship be restored, destroyed again, or what?  Who will be the greater man?  It was just a GREAT film in every respect...worth seeing...even if you despise boxing.

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65 **

Here's a description of this film that we both agreed upon : Jurassic Park meets MacGuyver.    This pilot of the future takes this mission of a 2 year job to earn money for his sick daughter's cure.  He crashes and ends up 65 millions years prior on earth, with one other survivor on board - a little girl about the age of his daughter.  Their interaction is a cool premise as they learn to trust each other through danger (yes, prehistoric dinos and other creatures) and he tries to make it to the piece of the ship that blew off that will get them home.  Lots of peril, lots of memories of back home, etc.  During the film, though, so many questions arise, places where we scratched our heads and wondered, and none of these things resolved or answered in the end.  They escaped and came up with methods that no-way could have happened, nor did they even have the  means...thus, MacGuyver.  And sometimes backpacks they lost suddenly reappeared in another scene. If you're a fan of Driver, or you don't mind these distractions, you might tolerate this movie's weak performance.

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Champions **

This could have been such a great family film.  A coach (played by Woody Harrelson)that loses his position due to temper gets "demoted" to coaching a special needs team.  What a great demotion, right?  Serves him right, and we hope he learns a things or two about kindness and real teamwork.  And he does.  However, the entire film gets muddied up with language and sex.  From the coach and the players.  Seriously?  Was that needed in this wonderful premise of a story?  I think not, and it left a bad taste in our mouths as we left the theater.  That totally distracted from the beauty of the story.  So, like my mom used to say, if you want to dig through trash to find a piece of bread...go for it.  Otherwise, eat at home.

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Shazam:Fury of the Gods **

I sort of like these type of  movies, but from the previews of this one we had thought about skipping it.  It looked silly.  However, I read other reviews that it was good.  And we both ended up liking it.  Idk the actor who plays Shazam but he's totally likeable in this story about family...really.  I didn't care for the two women played by Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren.  However, this  movie is entertaining for the most part and pretty much a family film.  We get to see these teen kids (who are foster brothers and sisters) transform into super heroes as they work and fight for the world and their family unit.  It's not award winning, but it's a good Friday night popcorn eating movie with laughs and action...and that's not a bad thing. 

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Your Place or Mine ** (Netflix)

I like Reese Witherspoon...I mean who doesn't?  And Ashton Kutcher - eh.  In this film, the two of them have been best friends for decades, living separate lives yet still talking often...and then of course, they realize there's more. He's had huge success but is still unhappy.  And her path as an author was derailed with a divorce and a son. The young boy that plays Reese's son is Jimmy Kimmel's nephew, and he does a great job.  It's a lighthearted rom/com and we honestly enjoyed the humor, the story, and the feel-good aspect.  However, as in many films...there's always sex involved that in real life would make things complicated.  But on the screen, it's just an afterthought. So, there's that.  Reese is her usual charming self, and you'll like it if you like her movies.  So decide for yourself...if you want to see.

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Jesus Revolution ***

I knew the music.  I'd heard about the story because my sister lived in CA and experienced it.  And I loved both.  So I was hoping the film was done well.  Kelsey Grammer plays Chuck Smith, a pastor that welcomed the outcasts and in doing so lost most of his former congregation. He loved the hippies, and the outcome was this amazing event where people saw God's love for real...not with boundaries and judgment.  I cried many times and was moved at the redemptive power of love.  Also focused was Lonnie Frisbee and Greg Laurie, two names I did not know about.  From start to finish (don't leave early - read the captions and listen to the last song), this movie reminds us to love as HE did...always... and to sit among those that don't look like we do.

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Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania**

Not my favorite genre, but we went. I had seen that Kathryn Newton joined the cast, as well as Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas, and Evangeline Lilly,so that added interest.  The story itself was interesting and adventurous and suspenseful as this family gets trapped "under" and are being hunted by an enemy, and then there are the special effects - which if you like that sort of thing - they're awesome. So for this type of movie, it's enjoyable.  It's funny, I hear lots of chatter about Lilly's hairstyle/wig whatever she wore...so could that mean the story itself doesn't hold interest?  Maybe...

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Women Talking ***

If you've seen the previews, you know the subject matter is somber and sickening.  I almost didn't go see this film, but after reading others' comments, I did.  There are no scenes of the men abusing the women, only the bruises etc. after.  But the story is about the conversations of the women, whether they're going to stay and fight or flee.  Or would it really be called "fleeing?" These are unlearned yet amazingly smart women who still have their dignity intact...and then there's this lone young man that's sympathetic and caring.  The performances from many actresses you will recognize are outstanding. Clare Foy, Rooney Mara and Jessie Buckley, to name a few.  We also talked after the credits rolled, for a long while, and yes...it's based on a true story.

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Living ****

I hope Bill Nighy wins.  This actor is amazing in this fantastic film about a man with a grim diagnosis that decides to live.  Oh, it's a bit slow at first but it needs to be.  We need to see how mundane and lackluster his life was, and meet the characters in his circle.  There's the realization, the incredible addition of the story of the playground, and the reaction of the young men in the office...especially one.  And the young girl, too.  The layers, the imagery, the emotions, and again...that playground.  This is by far my favorite movie of the year, thus far...  I will forever linger on a swing instead of just watching the others..while I too, wait.

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The Gleaners and I ***

It's a documentary, a French one, by Agnes Varda, and the synopsis compelled me to watch.  Gleaners and pickers, did you know there's a difference?  You will after you watch.  And you'll watch because you've always wondered about these folks that dig in the discards of others.  You'll see them through the lens of a  camera and be spellbound by the stories and the reasons and the ones that live this way.  They're not much different than you and me.  I especially like the use one gleaner found for a discarded refrigerator.  And then there's Varda's aging hands throughout the film.   It's definitely a work of art and not for everyone.  But I loved it.  But I still wondered about the germs and the bugs...

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Missing **

Typical daughter doesn't listen to mom scene at the start of the film.  Mom and boyfriend leave on a trip and ask daughter to pick them up Monday.  Monday comes but Mom doesn't.  Thank goodness the daughter is on social medial because this film is all about connections and texts and messages and all the things - you'll need to keep up! Was Mom kidnapped?  Is the boyfriend bad, or the friend of the mom, or just what happened? I rather liked the film, the way it unfolded and how the movie played out - with a twist - and then a sort of horrific ending.  We both enjoyed it, because it was different and a good mystery, although some of the ending scenes might startle some.  I think I've seen one other movie Searching that was told in a similar manner.  It was good, too.

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A Man Called Otto***

Tom Hanks - he's the best, isn't he?  And have you read the book on which this movie is based?  There's this sad older man that's grumpy and really doesn't care to live (there are suicide attempts in the movie) but there's a family that moves in nearby that won't leave him alone.  They need him, and pretty soon he realizes he needs them.  But it's not an easy task to convince Otto that life is worth living.  It's not a sappy movie, either.  There are funny characters that will make you laugh, but there are serious moments that will jolt you.  I think it's a great film, but I have a friend that didn't like the mix of funny with suicide.  The story is amazing, Hanks is superb, and that neighbor lady - she makes the show!

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Plane **

If you've seen the previews, you've seen the premise.  A plane goes down in the worst of places were evil people come to take the people hostage and do bad things.  If you like typical Butler films, you'll like this one.  It's very suspenseful and you'll definitely stay awake!  Also, lots of killings...so beware.  There's not a lot of character building or story line except a pilot trying to stay alive and keep his passengers breathing too, with the aid of a criminal that was also on board.  And of course, the pilot's daughter is awaiting her dad's arrival to celebrate New Year's Eve.  See if, if you dare.

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The Banshees of Inisherin **

I read that this movie will be nominated.  I suppose the acting is good, after all it's Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.  They were best of friends, but now one has decided to cut off the friendship for good.  That's not all he decides to cut off, either.  It's an odd film, an even more odd story, and it's gruesome and gross.  Now, I like odd and parts of this film and the story line intrigued me.  But the other parts - there's no other word to describe - but odd.  Will this village of characters ever see these two men become friends again? How many thuds at the door will it take?  Will the other seek revenge? Go see for yourself...but be forewarned.

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The Menu **

From the previews, this restaurant movie looks mysterious and sinister and intriguing. And It stars Ralph Fiennes.  And the girl from The Queen's Gambit.  There's a luxury dinner  for invited guests, and then there's the "extra" couple, and the chef and his staff run the show, and literally control it.  Deaths occur, secrets are revealed, fear is rampant...and the girl - the date of the guy who is obsessed with the chef - well she's not having it. Will she survive when she asks for a cheeseburger instead of what the chef has prepared?  It's a gory watch and mysterious, with an odd ending for sure.    You'll want to talk about it and figure it out after you leave, but then you'll move on because it was just a weird story that could have been better...or was it told just right?

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Devotion ***

He's a black aviator pilot - and an excellent one - in the Korean War - among a squadron of white pilots.    He's married and has a wife he leaves at home, and one particular pilot befriends him and often tries to "defend" him.  The whole group has to learn to fly a specific plane and then fly into combat.  But the other, just as real, combat is on the ground with those that just don't see this man for who he is.  There are so many poignant scenes, the acting is superb, and the "true story" is a good one to see this holiday season.

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She Said **

It's the story of Harvey Weinstein and the journalists that interviewed until they were able to get to the truth of his actions towards women in the entertainment industry.  Carey Mulligan is the main journalist and she's one of my favorite actresses, so I for sure wanted to see the film.  There's not a lot of character development or drama in this film, but rather the relentless pursuit to get to the truth, to get these women to speak up, and to get the story told.  It's a long film, it's not the best, but it's a good one to see if you want to know more about this too-often-heard story of women being mistreated by bosses.

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Till ***

She doesn't want her son to visit his relatives in Mississippi because she feels it isn't safe, but he goes, and it turns out - it's not safe.  This is the true story of Emmett Till who was lynched in 1955. The actress that plays his mother is a force to be reckoned with as she seeks justice for her boy, who indeed was just a playful young kid, undeserving of the slander and abuse he received.  Danielle Deadwyler gives an Oscar-worthy performance, in my opinion.  The story is heavy to watch, but it's told so well.  A great film for this season...

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Ticket to Paradise ***

I'm pretty sure this movie won't win any awards, but there are few romantic comedies that aren't filthy or stupid. And this is one of the rare ones. And whether or not you like Roberts or Clooney, they're good together in this story of an estranged couple headed to their daughter's wedding, to stop it. It's heartwarming, the girl we all loved on Last Man Standing plays their daughter, and it's actually funny and a good watch.  You can save it to watch at home, but don't ignore it.  Be sure you don't miss it.  We need more feel-good movies like this on the screen, with good endings... 

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Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont****

Maybe the best heartwarming movie on Netflix right now...  She's an elderly elegant woman, a widow, staying at an old hotel.  He's a young handsome writer/musician that's a disappointment to his mother.  The widow and the writer cross paths and form a very close friendship, each having something the other needs.  The casting is spot-on, and these characters will draw you in at the first meeting, as well as the other residents at the hotel that find Mrs. Claremont and "her son" intriguing...  Great storyline.  Grab a tissue, you might need it.  But you'll enjoy lots of smiles as well.

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Black Panther ***

If you enjoy this genre of movies, you'll like this one.  It's very long (almost three hours!) so that loses a star for me...  There are moments of silence at the beginning and end for Chadwick Boseman, and the story is a good one.  Angela Bassett plays The Black Panther's mother and this story is about his sister.  There are amazing costumes, and it's not a hard story to follow like some longer films. Remember to stay after the credits to see a preview of more to come.  Other than that, I do recommend seeing this on the big screen.  I also liked the humor mixed in with the suspense, the drama and the heart of this amazing movie.  The characters are good - you'll like them all.

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Black Panther ***

If you enjoy this genre of movies, you'll like this one.  It's very long (almost three hours!) so that loses a star for me...  There are moments of silence at the beginning and end for Chadwick Boseman, and the story is a good one.  Angela Bassett plays The Black Panther's mother and this story is about his sister.  There are amazing costumes, and it's not a hard story to follow like some longer films. Remember to stay after the credits to see a preview of more to come.  Other than that, I do recommend seeing this on the big screen.  I also liked the humor mixed in with the suspense, the drama and the heart of this amazing movie.  The characters are good - you'll like them all.

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Confess, Fletch **

Jon Hamm, remember him?  He's discovered a dead body in his apartment, he's got a girlfriend missing expensive art from her father, and Hamm's character once was an astute inspector, now writer - and ends up helping the inept police solve the crime.  It's supposed to be a comedy, and there were lots of laughs (especially about the word "bespoke" - so funny).  However, the story was all over the place and it was a bit hard to follow, well, a lot hard to follow.  So if you watch, pay attention and listen and try not to get lost . Because if you do, you'll never figure out who's who and what's what... but then maybe that's the point of the story.

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Railway Children **

The movie poster and name reminded me of the Boxcar Children, a favorite childhood book I read.  So I wanted to see this family film.  The story is of a mother sending her children away from the bombing during the war, where the kids then discover a soldier in an abandoned train, and form an unlikely friendship to help him, as they wait to go back home.  They have to secretly help him, keeping their activities hidden from the lady who cares for them.  I loved the characters, the story was heartwarming, but perhaps a bit slow in parts.  It's one of those films you're glad they still make, one you can watch with the family, one with a bit of history...and still a lot of hope.

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Woman King ****

From the previews, I wasn't thrilled to see this movie about what looked like women power and war...and I was more than pleasantly surprised to be drawn into the story of a powerful mom.  And...while there is controversy about this film, I try to steer from that and make my own judgment. I think nominations will occur, and rightly so.  Viola Davis is amazing.  But the young girl played by Thuso Mbedu is the whole story . The story is engaging and the costumes incredible.  It's not really like any other film, and it's so interesting that there really was a tribe of women back centuries ago that had to fight in so many ways for so many things.  It's a good story, violent at times, but I really liked it. A LOT.  We left with a "Wow."

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Don't Worry, Darling *

We talked about this movie a while, after it was over.  And the era and the fashion was fun to see...BUT...the movie itself I think most would either love it or hate it.  It's a society where the folks don't question anything, and when they do...certain death is sure to come.  This premise is interesting.  However, the story and the scenes are confusing and odd, the sex is dirty, the end well - I'm not sure.  Is there a message in this story?  Are the women just objects and pawns? Will Florence Pugh be nominated?  I can't say I liked much about this film, but the fact that it kept us talking and wondering after the credits rolled gave it one star...but that's about it.  Maybe two...but then no.

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Beautiful Blue Eyes ***

This is the last movie Roy Scheider made and he passed away before it finished filming.  And that was several years ago.  So now, they were able, with AI tech, to finish it.  It's another holocaust story, but yet different.  As a young man, he saw his entire family taken and killed.  Now it's 56 years later, he's visiting his estranged son, and swears he sees the man that killed his family. He lives in his son's building! But his son now has a family, so can he believe his dad, put aside their distance, and help his dad seek justice...on their own?  How could it really be the same person?  It's a thriller, and I like Schieder.  He was hoping to win an Oscar with this one...

DO YOU AGREE WITH OUR REVIEWS? WHAT ARE YOUR FAVE MOVIES, BOOKS AND SHOWS RIGHT NOW?
 DON'T FORGET TO CHECK OUT OUR OTHER YOU STORIES.
Current Sightings
by Marcy Lytle
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This column is full of TV show and movie reviews.  It pays to be informed before we spend time watching or reading!

We will try to give a short synopsis, as well as our own opinion, along with a nod or a no, regarding suggestive content.

 

With movie theaters open and all sorts of channels available , we're all  wondering what to watch and enjoy...hope this helps!  If you have one to add, email us!

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