KUNG FU PANDA 4 – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

By the fourth film in a franchise, one expects some diminishing returns. Kung Fu Panda 4 doesn’t reach the heights of the 2008 original, but this panda still has a few kicks. In Kung Fu Panda 4, Jack Black again returns to voice Po, but the character has plateaued. Having acquired the jade-green staff of wisdom since the original film, he’s ready to teach a new dragon warrior and become the spiritual leader of the Valley of Peace, says his instructor, Master Shifu. Yet Po, happy with ribbon-cuttings and quests, shies from this responsibility.

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ARGYLLE – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

I startled myself awake the morning after my screening with the shocking realization that nothing in the trailer — which has been ubiquitous and inescapable at cinemas for months now — is actually in the damn movie. Or is it? Maybe some of it is? The movie itself had already faded from memory, mere hours later, it’s that blah…

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ARGYLLE – Review by Susan Kamyab

Most critics don’t seem to be fans of Matthew Vaughn’s new action comedy, Argylle, but luckily, I’m in the minority of those who had a blast with it. The film is about an introverted spy novelist played by Bryce Dallas Howard, who is drawn into the activities of a sinister underground organization. It’s best to not take this film too seriously. Just allow yourself to enjoy the ridiculous ride. Argylle is a fast-paced, witty, and action-packed spy comedy that’s well worth seeing on the big screen.

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ARGYLLE – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

With director Matthew Vaughn, best known for Kick-Ass and the Kingsman films, one expects foolishness. This isn’t Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy—or even The Spy Who Loved Me. Argylle is preposterous and messy, but I’ve seen worse, and without the good cheer of Bryce Dallas Howard and Sam Rockwell. It’s pitched at a heightened reality with cartoonish stunts, over-the-top action, zany dance choreography, and disco music. I doubt I’ll see another sequence this year with someone on jerry-rigged knife-blade ice skates slaying enemies in a sit-spin, or people twirling in a gunfight among smoke canisters that bloom into technicolor hearts.

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ARGYLLE – Review by T. J. Callahan

“The greater the spy, the bigger the lie.” This is a great way to describe the new action thriller, Argylle. No one is who they say they are…or are they? Everyone is a double, triple or even quadruple agent in this well choreographed Dancing with the Spies espionage escapade.

Argylle is the title character in a series of spy novels written by the reclusive Ella Conway, played by Bryce Dallas Howard. After Aiden, a real secret agent (Sam Rockwell), shows up at her door ready to save her and her beloved cat, Alfie, from almost certain death, Ella realizes the plot of the new book she’s writing is mirroring real world events in real time. But are they predictions or are they memories?

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ASTEROID CITY – Review by Diane Carson

A who’s who of over twenty fine actors contribute fabulous, droll interpretations to characters’ encounters and collisions. Deriving maximum comic effect from all this, director Wes Anderson presents his skewed humor as if nothing could be more natural or normal. Alexandre Desplat’s music interprets and complements the ambiance as the film shape shifts through topics: science and science fiction, musicals and heartfelt romance, existential drama and philosophical treatise. All this is embedded in an hour forty-five minutes of fabulous entertainment.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 14, 2022: SELL/BUY/DATE

Like an earnest, feminist, less inflammatory (but just as ready to tackle controversy head on) Sacha Baron Cohen, Tony-winning performer Sarah Jones uses a variety of memorable characters to explore the complex, complicated world of sex work in her feature film directorial debut, Sell/Buy/Date. Executive produced by Meryl Streep and adapted by Jones from her own successful stage play, the film doesn’t have easy answers or neat solutions but does offer plenty of insight — and raises thought-provoking questions.

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SELL/BUY/DATE – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

The documentary Sell/Buy/Date was inspired by actress, writer and first-time film director Sarah Jones and based on her same-named stage play in which she played three other characters who all have connections to the sex trade. There was some controversy about her topic that made people think that she would show a negative portrait of women who make a living in this way. That was not her intent. However, when a social media backlash occurred when the film was announced, producers Laverne Cox and Rashida Jones left the project. However, Meryl Streep stepped up to be the executive producer.

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EL CAMINO: A BREAKING BAD MOVIE – Review by Lesley Savage (Guest Post)

Overall, there’s not much a Breaking Bad fan won’t like here, even if it isn’t the most compelling story or brilliant film event of the year. At a minimum, it delivers the goods that the TV show did, and brings, if not a conclusion, then it at least fills in some interstitial frames for what happened to Jesse, or perhaps a certain Mr. Driscoll from Alaska.

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