“Last Christmas”

7.9

What if… a Hallmark Channel movie script accidentally got forwarded to the wrong office on the studio lot, cast two leads out of the story’s league, and set everything to a legendary soundtrack? You’d get this film. Henry Golding was destined to play the dashing lead in romantic comedies. Guy even has my vote for the next James Bond. The best of all of the rom-com tropes are on display, and just the right amount of Christmas is sprinkled on top. The twist at the end caught me almost more off-guard than “Avengers: Endgame.” Definitely a heartfelt kick-off to the holiday season.

“Midway”

8.7

Fully went into this expecting a b-movie on par with “Pearl Harbor.” What I got was a masterclass in directing, perfection in the cinematography department, and a truly moving story. Pretty much everything you could want out of a war film. The battle scenes were graphic, grand-scale, and captured the perfect balance of chaos and focus. The cast couldn’t have been more perfect if they tried. And the montage of “where they went after the events of the film” didn’t leave a dry eye in the house. Very well done, and well worth the longer than usual runtime.

“Doctor Sleep”

9.1

A masterpiece on-par with the original “Shining,” in my opinion. Long, but worth every second of spell-binding storytelling. A seamless continuation of the events following the infamous winter at the Overlook Hotel. A perfect blend of new and nostalgia content, with a powerful crescendo… bellissima! I am all-in on the recent Stephen King renaissance of late. The quality of these novels, and new technology being expertly implemented… Bravo! Stephen King really is a master of his craft with the source material. No one tackles the human condition with the perfect blend horror and humor is why he’s the best. It’s what this film does so well, and King is famous for… the best characters in horror. Blew past my high expectations with ease! Definitely a must-see.

“Motherless Brooklyn”

8.9

A-MA-ZING!!!! Wasn’t quite sure what I was walking into… but coming out, it was one of the best period pieces of the year! A masterful character study that no one does better than Edward Norton. A truly beautiful setting, and powerful message. All based on a semi-true story! Definitely worth every second of the 2.5 hour run-time. A standout in today’s cinema. A lot more depth than most films are willing to dive into. Bravo to everyone involved!

Also highly recommend the Joe Rogan Podcast Episode linked below. Great conversation about character, both cinematic and real-life.

“Terminator: Dark Fate”

7.6

Did they try to shoe-horn in an extreme “girl power” message, destroying its effectiveness by being on the nose? Yes. Did they delve into politics of border security in a movie about time travelling robots? Also yes. That being said, if you can turn your brain off and watch the robots go boom, you’ll love what turns out to be one of the best action films to come out in a few months. The Terminator franchise still ends in my mind at Terminator 2. But nice try for the 4th time, Paramount…