“The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard”

7.6

A really solid sequel!

Salma Hayek serves as a strong addition to the now trio main cast here. Also of note, on par with Samuel L. Jackson in saying “motherfucker.” Made me laugh/cheer every time it happened. The villain was meh, but that’s not really the main reason you’re coming to the theater to watch this. Turn your brain off, watch the explosions, and enjoy the laughs along the way. An excellently executed, tight hour and a half action comedy.

“Almost Famous”

7.9

I’m going to be honest, Paul Stanley on twitter raving about this film brought me here. Kate Hudson and Phillip Seymour Hoffman at the height of their powers kept me glued to the screen the entire time.

Such an amazing coming of age story alongside a character study of the many sides of friendship, fame and fortune. It felt like “Everybody Wants Some” and “Dazed and Confused.” With a little bit of “Spinal Tap” and “Rock Star” mixed in. Any movie that takes a sidetrack to the infamous “riot house” in L.A. is going to be a good story to see. For me, it was the perfectly balanced cast that took things to another level. You have the unhinged nature of 90% of the characters, moored to wisdom and reality by Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Frances McDormand. Oh, and the soundtrack is an absolute banger. Wall to wall classic rock hits.

“Inside”

7.5

WHAT DID I JUST WATCH?!?!

^Me through most of this movie.

Solid recommendation on this one! A super-tight claustrophobic thriller that kept up its believability and tension the entire runtime. Where most will stumble with minor details, this film doesn’t lose itself in becoming too crazy or too over the top. Similar to “The Strangers,” it invades your safe space and leaves you deeply disturbed despite the momentary victorious comfort at the close of the finale. The crime statistics at the beginning of the film perfectly set the tone for what’s to come. (It’s insane that this is a thing.) Well written, well acted, well put together. Well worth an hour and a half.

“Queen Bees”

7.7

This one was kind of amazing… I was expecting funny, but it far exceeded my expectations!

Be it my appreciation that it brought Dementia/Alzheimer’s into the limelight or the fact that this cast was fantastic, and it knocks it out of the park for a tight hour and a half. Better than expected laughs with just as much heart balancing it all out, some moments hitting a little close to home for someone who used to work in a nursing home, bringing back all the right nostalgia. Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) continues his recent renaissance. Helen Wilson shines as the leading lady. They seem to crank out at least one of these comedies a year, but this one was up there with “Book Club” on the level of wildly out-kicking its coverage. A feel-good movie when we need some real feel-good movies to welcome us all back to theaters.

“Censor”

8.7

“Horror is already out there, in all of us.”

File this one alongside “Midsommar,” “It Follows,” and “Hereditary.” The originality and intelligence on display here are off the charts!

From the score to the cinematography, everything is as razor-sharp and as detail-oriented as Enid’s discretion as a member of the British Film Ratings Board. There are so many clues in the dialogue and scenes that this shouldn’t have caught me by surprise as strongly as it did, but nonetheless, I was left in a daze by the finale. This is not your traditional slasher-thriller, though it might play off of many of the same tropes and allegories.

This film perfectly encapsulates what I love most about the genre. Great films help us contextualize and process things in our world that we may have difficulty approaching traditionally. The irony in Enid being a film rating specialist who becomes numb to the violence she witnesses and suppresses, similar to the trauma in her real-life being her downfall, was superb. The very thing she is trying to save others from becomes the thing she can’t keep herself from. As I said earlier, there are many verbal and visual clues along the way in this film that come full circle. Some even in the trailer. My jaw still dropped multiple times.

Processing of disbelief aside, I highly recommend this one for anyone looking for something out of the ordinary and thought provoking. It’s not the scariest, it’s not the bloodiest, but it is so perfectly crafted that you can’t help but appreciate the art at its highest form on the silver screen.