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PLEASE STAND BY

This post is a part of our New Voices Section. Written by Richard Jack Smith. It’s not a case of “to boldly go” anymore. We follow what we love. In the case of Star Trek, the path to becoming a Trekkie took longer than expected. Ever since boyhood, the films were shown regularly, and I ate them up like a kiddie holding the giant bowl of cereal. But what does it mean to be a fan? For some, it’s attending conventions, dressing up as a Vulcan or Klingon (perhaps even learning these languages). For me, buying the music from the original television series made such fandom complete. For Wendy (Dakota Fanning) in Please Stand By, her attention to detail makes all the difference. She’s a writer, eager…

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ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: PURE ENTERTAINMENT

Ant-man is one of my favorite Marvel movies: it’s lighthearted but takes its origin story seriously. Every piece fits together, and by the time it’s done you’ve got a seemingly complicated jigsaw puzzle that makes perfect sense. What’s more, Marvel put its trademark out-of-the-box casting ideas to work, with Paul Rudd a delight in the title role, surrounded by talented costars. (I’m aware that the movie was beset with problems in the pre-production stage but I can only judge the finished product.) Here’s the surprising good news: lightning has struck twice. Everything I enjoyed about the first movie is repeated successfully. It’s funny, imaginative, full of action—not violent action—and knockout visual effects that serve the story. Five writers are credited but the result doesn’t feel like…

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I FEEL PRETTY

This post is a part of our New Voices Section. Written by Louisa Moore. An average woman with serious bouts of insecurity has a nasty fall at the gym and wakes up believing she is one of the most beautiful people alive. That’s the premise of “I Feel Pretty,” the new comedy starring comedian Amy Schumer. From the sound of it, you’d expect a series of mean-spirited jokes, rampant fat shaming, and other nasty gags. Instead of plunging into a chasm of negativity, the film takes the high road and delivers a genuinely touching, thoroughly amusing, and oftentimes comforting journey of finding one’s self esteem. The film’s strengths lie in its screenplay (by co-writers and co-directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein), a notably perceptive look at what…

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HEARTS BEAT LOUD

This post is a part of our New Voices Section. Written by Catherine Springer. So here’s the thing about summer. Yes, it’s a time for the big blockbusters, the movies with merchandise tie-ins and numbers after their titles, but there’s a little-acknowledged joy about summer that has nothing to do with superheroes and sequels: it’s the perfect season for adult movies. Normally, we equate summer movies with kids and big budgets, and it still is dominated by movies aimed at the restless youth and the overseas market, but the little-known secret of the movie industry is that summer is also the time for quality adult movies. The beginning of the year (Jan-April) is usually the dumping ground for movies that have come in below expectations…

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COME SUNDAY

This post is a part of our New Voices Section. Written by Robert Crosby. ‘God’s Not Dead (but there is room for doubt)’ There is a key distinction between films where faith is the message and films that deal with issues of faith. Come Sunday is very much the latter. Premiering at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and released by Netflix for streaming online, the latest from Joshua Marston (Maria Full of Grace) is a contemplative look at a real life figure whose struggle with his own faith impacts upon the relationships he has with those closest to him personally and professionally. Adapted from a This American Life feature from 2005, Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) stars as Carlton Pearson, an African American evangelical preacher…

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