hustlers review

It’s a story, literally, ripped from the headlines: a group of strippers run a scam that cheats their Wall Street clients out of thousands of dollars. On paper, it’s the perfect fodder for a feature film adaptation — full of drama, drugs, and a messy but tight-knit group of ruthless women who are simply evening out the playing field. We get some of that in Hustlers, directed by Lorene Scafaria and based on a New York Magazine article from 2015.

With an all-star cast led by a fierce Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers is a glossy crowdpleaser that shatters the male gaze. But in avoiding titillation, Hustlers ends up taking some of the teeth out of a sharp, sensuous, and satisfying true-life scam story described in its original New York Magazine piece as a “modern-day Robin Hood” fable.

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knives out review

The game’s afoot and everyone’s a suspect in Knives Out, Rian Johnson‘s deliriously funny whodunit. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have trying to solve a murder. Gathering together a killer cast of movie stars and character actors, Johnson has crafted a film that’s both a loving homage to locked room mysteries and a giddy, laugh-out-loud funny comedy that keeps pulling the rug out from under you just when you think you’ve found your footing. It’s a total blast.

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true history of the kelly gang review

Ned Kelly may be the main subject of Justin Kurzel‘s True History of the Kelly Gang, but the real star of the film is grime. Grime, grime and more grime cover nearly every frame of this loud, rip-roaring punk-rock outlaw film. The premise: everything you’ve heard about infamous Australian outlaw Edward “Ned” Kelly is wrong, and Ned himself is going to set the story straight. Of course, the irony is that the “true” story isn’t true at all – there’s even an opening title card to remind us that “nothing we’re about to see is true.”

This schizophrenic approach blankets the film as a whole (along with all that grime), as Kurzel smashes and crashes his way through one wild scene after another. The end result is a bit of a mess, but what an entertaining mess it is. You may not learn a damn thing about the real Ned Kelly from this movie, but you sure as shit won’t be bored.

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sound of metal review

A sensory overload, Sound of Metal is one of the most fascinating films you’ll see all year. Even when Darius Marder‘s lengthy character drama isn’t quite working – a problem that persists in the final act – it’s always engaging. Sound of Metal puts you in its main character’s headspace more intensely than most movies, fully drawing us into the psyche of heavy metal drummer Ruben Stone (Riz Ahmed, delivering a powerhouse performance). After a life spent slamming away on a drum kit, Ruben suddenly loses his hearing, changing his life dramatically, even drastically. And we’re with him every step of the way, wrapped up in his journey.

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waves review

Few filmmakers working today know how to induce anxiety in their audience as masterfully as Trey Edward Shults. Even during scenes when things technically aren’t going wrong, Shults’s focus creates a palpable sense of dread. Yes, everything might be fine on screen for now…but it’s only a matter of time before some sort of Sword of Damocles drops and shatters everything, and everyone, to a million pieces.

Shults gave us the cinematic panic attack that was Krisha and the slow-burn post-apocalyptic horror-family-drama It Comes At Night. With Waves, the director has crafted his most ambitious film to date – a dizzying, weighty, heart-wrenching saga of one family disintegrating right before our eyes.

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There has been a recent spate of documentaries from the survivors of the 60s, those artists that manage to outlive and outlast many of their colleagues and collaborators, resulting in decades of music making. The latest, Once Were Brothers, draws from Robbie Robertson’s story, a unique narrative where a half-native kid from Toronto became the center of a movement that birthed Americana.

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the personal history of david copperfield review

Armando Iannucci is responsible for the acidic, acerbic dark humor that prevails in In the LoopThe Death of Stalin, and Veep. But anyone expecting more of that nasty, cutting comedic bite from Iannucci’s latest work is in for a pleasant surprise. Working with co-writer Simon Blackwell, Iannucci has taken the autobiographical Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield and spun forth a film bustling with wit, grace, slapstick comedy, and one big beating heart. It’s an utter joy to watch.

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The Dark Crystal Age of Resistance Spoiler Review

It’s been 37 years since audiences first discovered the enchanting world of Thra, a mystical land filled with magic, evil, and hope. In Jim Henson’s 1982 film, The Dark Crystal, Thra was a broken place, ravaged by genocide, drained nearly to the point of extinction by the greed of the Skeskis, vulture-like creatures who had misappropriated the power of the Crystal of Truth in their power-hungry quest for domination and immortality. 

In the film, the Skesis had wiped out the Gelflings, an elf-like species, by using the Crystal to drain the creatures of their very life force, or essence, in a bid to obtain eternal life. But the Skesis are dying, their emperor collapses into a heap of ash, and the Crystal has turned a dark purple, polluted by the Skesis, and in turn, polluting much of Thra. Outside of the dark and twisted husk of the Crystal Castle, where the Skesis reside, the land is blackened and cracked, pulsing with surges of electricity. 

But how did Thra really come to such a dark chapter in its history? That’s where The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance comes in, coloring in the vast background and history that led to the events of the 1982 film. With Age of Resistance, Thra comes to exquisite life, expanding far beyond the confines of the Skesis’ castle, introducing a lush and varied land akin to that of Westeros or Middle-Earth, populated by not just two Gelfling, but seven different clans: The Dousan, The Drenchen, The Grottan, The Sifa, The Spriton, The Stonewood, and the Vapra. 

Naturally, major spoilers are ahead.

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it chapter two review

“Maybe there aren’t any such things as good friends or bad friends,” Stephen King wrote in his epic horror novel It. “Maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you’re hurt and who help you feel not so lonely…people who build their houses in your heart.” If there’s one thing It Chapter Two, the highly-anticipated sequel to 2017’s blockbuster adaptation of King’s book, understands, it’s this.

Not just the words King wrote, but the beating heart behind them. It Chapter Two, a lengthy, messy, not-always-successful sequel, is one of those rare Stephen King adaptations that acknowledges that there’s more to King’s work than things that go bump in the night. There’s humanity.

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Carnival Row Review

The first eight episodes of the much-hyped Carnival Row finally dropped on Amazon Prime Video last week, giving people a new, dark fantastical world to get lost in (read /Film’s non-spoiler review here). Fans of fantasy, noir Victorian tales, and Orlando Bloom will particularly enjoy the show, which creates an expansive and immersive world while also narrowing in on a mysterious set of murders in The Burgue, the Victorian London-esque setting where most of the events of the first season take place.

There’s a lot going on in the first season (arguably too much, especially in the last few episodes), but those that stick through to the end will be rewarded by some twists and surprises, including who (and what) is behind the gory deaths that Rycroft Philostrate (Orlando Bloom) is investigating. But perhaps what’s more intriguing is what remains unresolved at the end of the last episode.

Read on to get our spoiler-filled breakdown of the big moments from the first season, and what we can expect to see further explored in season 2. Naturally, spoilers abound below. 

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