A twist on the original formula makes ‘Happy Death Day 2 U’ an enjoyable follow-up.

When Blumhouse’s Happy Death Day hit theaters two weeks before Halloween in 2017, I didn’t know what to expect from it. I saw it as a slasher version of Bill Murray’s 1993 comedy classic Groundhog Day – minus Bill Murray, of course. What it did have though was a new actress, Jessica Rothe, who put in a starmaking performance. So what could they do for a follow-up with their spin on horror-film final girl trope?

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Why I’m approaching the live-action ‘Aladdin’ with cautious optimism.

Aladdin is one of the Disney’s best animated classics. Released in 1992, it was one of the leaders during the Disney film era known as the Disney Renaissance. Following the story of Aladdin, an Arabian street urchin, he comes across a magic lamp that contains a genie, voiced by the late, great Robin Williams. After that, he embarks on an adventure to not only save the princess but also the entire kingdom of Agrabah.

Now that a new special look trailer dropped last night during the Grammys, I’m still excited to see the live-action adaptation, but now with more caution thanks to a mega-star in blue.

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My most anticipated movies of 2019

New year, new movies. Now that the fireworks have faded and the first week of the 2019 is in the books, let’s look to the rest of the year.

Some franchises are closing their current chapters like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Disney looks to continue their silver screen dominance with live action retellings and there will be those small films that aren’t making much noise for now that will roar with larger crowds through audience word of mouth. These lists are always fun to predict what could be really good and what could potentially bomb (I really hope nothing on this list does).

So without further ado…

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2018’s Best

When I look back at 2018 in film, I will remember a few things: this was a great year for documentaries; foreign and world cinema are on the rise; smaller studios are creating the majority of original content and interesting projects right now; the superhero genre continues to grow and still has the ability to break the hearts of their fans, both positively and negatively. Overall, I’d like to think that 2018 was a very strong year for film – filled with its ups and downs, successes and failures. Many studio films balanced monetary and critical success excellently and smaller films challenged many perceptions we have and placed them under a sometimes uncomfortable microscope.

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‘Big’ and Growing Up Too Fast

Big is a movie about wish fulfillment done right. A refreshingly sweet and funny film that is multi-layered with comedy, drama, fantasy, and a small subplot of romance. Plus, how can you replicate the charm of Tom Hanks as a big child? Looking at the films of today, I can’t immediately think of one that has this magic that can be relate to not just children but adults.

I never watched this Tom Hanks classic until a few weeks ago but how relatable this movie is makes it timeless.

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Emily Blunt and Lin Manuel Miranda bring the magic in ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

I didn’t grow up watching the original Mary Poppins. The legendary Disney film was left out of my viewing collection until this year as I prepared for the new film featuring the perfect nanny. The movie is practically perfect in every way, just like Mary Poppins. How could Disney live up to the legacy that Julie Andrews set as she drifted down from London skies and into Disney legend? More than half a century later, remake-happy Hollywood touched on the legacy and built upon it with Mary Poppins Returns.

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‘Aquaman’ makes a splash in bright and entertaining seas.

Aquaman has never been the strongest or well-received superhero in DC comics. I mean, come on; a guy who can swim and talk to sea animals? He has always been seen as a second-tier superhero in comparison to the likes of the DC Trinity. With an entertaining but ludicrous story and good old fashioned fun, Aquaman has the DC Extended Universe continuing on the right course it started with Wonder Woman.

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‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ spins a web for the perfect Spider-Man film.

The first Spider-Man film debuted in 2002. Since then, we’ve had seven feature films about Marvel’s webslinger. Out of all of them, this is the first in the series since Spider-Man 2 that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Spider-Verse begins like all the others: the tragic origin story of Peter Parker. But we get hit with a zinger: Peter Parker isn’t the only one to wear the mask.

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‘Creed II’ pulls off the rare upset as an effective sequel

The Rocky franchise spans nearly forty years with eight films. Shocking, I know. When it comes to a boxing movie, most don’t get a sequel; much lass spawn other sequels and a spinoff. When you thought that every corner of this universe had been excavated for narrative gold, Creed II shows that there are still stories to tell and some fight left in the franchise. Read More »