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The Adam Project -- Decent Escapist Humor

  The Adam Project Three stars Director: Shawn Levy Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Jennifer Garner, Walker Scobell, Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Catherine Keener Ryan Reynolds has carved out a pretty nice career for himself playing the inveterate smart ass. That is his schtick and he’s very good at it. He first burst on the scene with the TV series “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place” with just that kind of character. And you have seen something similar in the “Deadpool” movies (of which #3 is set to start production soon), “The Croods” movies and most recently, “Red Notice,” and “Free Guy.” His eponymous character in “The Adam Project” isn’t much different. That is a good and a bad thing. Reynolds plays Adam Reed, an ace pilot in the year 2050. As the film opens, Adam is in his star fighter and looking to travel back in time. He apparently commandeered his fighter and is being chased by an unknown figure as he looks to create a wormhole to facilitate his escape. He manages to make
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Don't Look Up -- The Wrong Guy for the Job

Don’t Look Up Two stars Director: Adam McKay Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Rob Morgan, Mark Rylance, Timothée Chalamet, Tyler Perry, Cate Blanchett, Ariana Grande. I can’t say that I’ve been a big fan of Adam McKay. He’s made his career as a comedy writer/director/producer and worked on Saturday Night Live before making the switch to feature films. Some of his comedies are pretty good, such as “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” “The Other Guys,” “Step Brothers,” and “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.” He seemed to carve out a nice niche for himself. But in 2015 his career took a turn and his films moved into the political sphere. First, he adapted the Michael Lewis book, “The Big Short” into a feature film. The film chronicled the events that led to the housing market crash in 2008. Then in 2018, he directed the Dich Cheney biopic “Vice,” which netted him a fair amount of critical acclaim. And now with “Don’t Look Up,”

Dune -- A Resounding "Meh"

  Dune Two stars Director: Denis Villeneuve Stars: Timoth é e Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsg å rd, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem, Zendaya Rated: PG-13 Running time: 2:35 I have admired director Denis Villeneuve for quite some time. His films “Sicario” (2015), “Arrival” (2016) and “Blade Runner: 2049” (2017) blend incredible art direction, cinematography, and legitimately provocative existential plots into films that not only entertain, but stretch the boundaries of the genres in which they are categorized. So when I learned that Villeneuve would try to resurrect the Frank Herbert franchise that unsuccessfully came to the silver screen in 1984, I figured the advances in special effects, computer-generated imagery and Villeneuve’s direction would surely make it at least a standout in the science-fiction genre. Well, not so much. At times it is a resounding “meh.” At others, it is head-scratchingly confounding and just downright silly.

Great Films of the 21st Century: Adaptation (2003)

You all may not be ready to head to the movie theaters to see the latest releases. This series, "Great Films of the 21st Century" is a chance to catch up on great films of the recent past on whichever streaming service you're using. I hope soon it will be safe for all of us cinephiles to get back to the theaters.  Adaptation Four stars Director: Spike Jonze Stars: Meryl Streep, Nicolas Cage, Chris Cooper, Tilda Swinton Rated: R Mixing film genres and subgenres more often than not comes across forced and artificial. Director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, though, are uncommon with an uncommon film here. Their collaboration, "Adaptation," is just such an amalgam. But it is an engrossing, engaging film done with consummate skill and purpose.  Though it borrows bits for its mosaic, it is startlingly creative. Kaufman and Jonze piece together biography, Hollywood satire, comedy, romance, drama of self-actualization and a thriller with an overarching th

Time Capsule: The 10 best films of 2009

  Many are still choosing to stream movies from home rather than venturing out to movie theaters. While it's great to see brand new movies from the comfort of our couches, there some great movies available from years past you should check out. Here is a look at my top 10 from 2009. I have to admit, 2009 was a particularly difficult year to pick the 10 best films of the year. And I wouldn't have it any other way. I am sure a convincing argument could be made for any one of these 10 films could be at the top of this list. But the overall quality was so good, I couldn't find one that stood clearly head and shoulders above the rest. I particularly like it when there is no clear favorite. Then it paves the way for lesser-known films like "Slumdog Millionaire" to get some well-deserved recognition. There were slightly fewer films released in 2009 than in previous years, especially in the last quarter of the year when studios release the films they think have a chance at

Worth A Look: Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland Three stars Director: Ruben Fleischer Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin. Rated: R  Running time: 1:20 Examine the individual parts to “Zombieland” and frankly, the sum of those parts really shouldn't add up to much. Can the zombie subgenre of horror movies really thrive anymore? Okay, so "The Walking Dead" may be an exception. Beyond that, how is anyone going to pull off a film with stereotypes instead of real, fleshed out characters (yes, pun fully intended)? A tough guy, a neurotic geek, a con artist and her kid sidekick don’t seem to be the stuff of inspired efforts. Yet, director Ruben Fleischer manages to prove naysayers in waiting wrong despite the limitations he was working with. It’s the present day and a virus has turned practically the entire world into flesh eating zombies, save for a few fortunate folks who are immune. The four main characters that eventually converge here don’t want to get too

Worth a Look: The Young Victoria (2009)

  Since people may be staying at home for a little bit longer, because of the pandemic, I have continued the reviews of movies you can get on streaming services.  The Young Victoria Three and a half stars Director: Jean-Marc Vallee. Stars: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Miranda Richardson, Mark Strong, Jim Broadbent, Paul Bettany. Rated: PG (for some mild sensuality, a scene of violence and brief incidental language and smoking). Running time: 1:45 When England ’s Queen Victoria lost her husband, Prince Albert , she retreated from the public eye for several years. The depth of their love for each other and Albert’s value as a trusted advisor to her and the monarchy meant that much to the Queen. “The Young Victoria” illustrates the year leading up to Victoria ’s coronation and just how she and Albert, first cousins, came to be so close. It is first a love story. But it also plays like a chess match on the most elaborate and ornate chess board. With Victoria just a teenag