Black Panther

BLACK PANTHER is the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and is also one of the best films in the series. It is a deeply political film, focusing on racial and social injustice, globalism, and feminism in a way that resonates deeply. It is an emotionally powerful film, both deeply intimate and also incredibly fun. Featuring a flawless, almost entirely black cast of all-stars, BLACK PANTHER is unabashedly and beautifully Afrocentric.

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Sicario

Once the intensity of SICARIO wears off, it becomes apparent that the plot is actually very simplistic. It’s basically about the United States striking back at a drug cartel. But where SICARIO succeeds is in how the plot unfolds. The film depicts truly disturbing and intense moments, and it is filled with breathtaking cinematography and aerial shots that add a deeply haunting aspect to this story.

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The Greatest Showman

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN is a musical that tells the story of how the ambitious P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) created the Barnum & Bailey Circus. As Barnum works against all odds to get his circus off the ground, he teams up with Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron) to help his show appeal to the upper class. The film…

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The Cloverfield Paradox

Released on Netflix with virtually no fanfare or warning, THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX completely took audiences by surprise. The film’s teaser trailer promised viewers that it would provide answers to what caused the events of the first CLOVERFIELD film, and it certainly delivers on that promise. But while the ties to the CLOVERFIELD franchise do ultimately elevate the film, the film’s main storyline is incredibly intriguing on its own.

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Black Dynamite

Comedy is a fickle film genre. It’s hard for a comedy to be timeless – what might be funny now is more likely than not to be considered gauche in just a few years. But sometimes, a comedy is able to achieve notoriety for being so funny, so absurd, that it can’t help but succeed and maintain its reputation as a gut-buster film. BLACK DYNAMITE is that kind of comedy.

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Bright

BRIGHT is a Netflix original movie that melds fantasy with police procedural. In this film, the world initially looks like ours – but it is inhabited with more than just humans. Elves make up the bulk of the wealthy ruling class, while orcs live in poverty and are the victims of systemic racism. It’s a film with the trappings and characters of a fantasy film, but set in a familiar, modern day world. As a result, it’s a film that tackles big ideas like racism and integration – and I think it does so in a way that is very effective.

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Tropic Thunder

TROPIC THUNDER is the kind of film that feels like a revelation on the first viewing. It’s so different and unique, and that makes the humor feel all the more edgy. But even though the premise and humor still hold up well, it loses a lot of its magic when revisited. The flaws are more readily apparent, and the cracks really start to show. TROPIC THUNDER is certainly a fun, and funny, film – but it’s far from perfect.

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The Shape of Water

THE SHAPE OF WATER is a visually arresting film from visionary director Guillermo del Toro. It’s filled with an all-star cast and has an overarching theme that audiences can really identify with. But even with all that in its favor, THE SHAPE OF WATER was a very underwhelming experience for me.

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Pitch Perfect 3

Billed as the ending to the trilogy, PITCH PERFECT 3 wraps up most of the storylines and offers a decent final chapter for the characters of this franchise. It also has, arguably, some of the best music of the series – and for a series that is all about a cappella, that’s a major plus. When the film is firing on all cylinders, it’s really quite fun – but there are also points where the film definitely falters. It’s a major step up from PITCH PERFECT 2, but it is still a pale imitation of the first film.

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The Post

What I love about THE POST is how relevant and daring it is. With the current political climate, a historic drama of newspapers against the U.S. government seems downright prescient. The obvious choice in story should be the retelling of the Watergate scandal that brought down the Nixon presidency. But THE POST dodges that age-old story for something much less familiar – the decision by The Washington Post to publish news articles based on leaked, classified documents known informally as the Pentagon Papers. Not only does give audiences a glimpse into a historic battle where the freedom of the press was at stake, but it also allows for a secondary focus detailing just how The Washington Post became a national newspaper commentary. The film also casts a bright light on journalistic integrity, allowing room for the audience to interpret the events of the film with the Trump administration in mind.

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