MEAN GIRLS – Review by T. J. Callahan

Tupperware may be stodgy, but The Plastics are still in the pink, continuing to rule their school some 20 years later in an in tune Mean Girls movie for a new generation. It’s a big screen version of the best of the Broadway musical adapted from the 2004 feature film, all penned by the “grool” Tina Fey. While following the original premise, this Mean Girls is a bit edgier and darker. Mean Girls, the musical, can never replace its modern classic model, but it’s fetch enough for the next generation.

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MEAN GIRLS – Review by Leslie Combemale

Remember, humans, it’s our kindness and empathy that matter, not the meager power or pretty meat sacks what leverage in our social interactions. This update, co-directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr, with a book by ’04 screenwriter Tina Fey, drives that message home far better than its predecessor. I’m not sure this Mean Girls update will become a classic, per se, but it’s certainly more than just an entertaining diversion. It’s one hell of a vehicle for the cast, and also a fun message movie about belonging, personal responsibly, sense of self, and the value of friendship. This one just happens to come dressed in pink.

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MEAN GIRLS – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

The new Mean Girls follows the same general narrative beats as the 2004 film, but it’s more an adaptation of the 2018 Broadway musical adaptation of the original film. While it has some enjoyable performances, it’s also more of an ensemble, a self-described cautionary tale with a “just be nice” message that feels more rushed than organic. This might appeal to fans of the musical, but having rewatched the original film recently, I found that one way more fetch.

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A HAUNTING IN VENICE – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Famous detective Hercule Poirot is a haunted man, even when not in a haunted house. A Haunting in Venice, director and star Kenneth Branagh’s third outing as Agatha Christie’s brilliant and persnickety detective, is his most satisfying turn yet. Full of Gothic touches that enhance the mysterious mood, the film also is rich in theme: that we all live with ghosts, to paraphrase one character, whether real or not. A Haunting in Venice is briskly entertaining Agatha Christie comfort food with a larger theme about the secrets we carry. Should Branagh and company continue putting Poirot on the case, here’s hoping they also dip into Christie’s more obscure catalogue to offer audiences more surprises.

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A HAUNTING IN VENICE – Review by Susan Granger

Released on September 15, Dame Agatha Christie’s 133rd birthday, Kenneth Branagh’s A Haunting in Venice is adapted from her novel Halloween Party. In post-World War II Venice, ostensibly retired Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh) is urged to attend a séance by mystery writer Ariadne Oliver (Tina Fey), who has used him as a character in her crime-riddled novels. Taking considerable liberties with Agatha Christie’s original 1969 whodunit, screenwriter Michael Green and actor/director Branagh have transplanted the murder mystery to picturesque Venice, where gothic ghosts seemingly waft among the rain-shrouded canals.

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A HAUNTING IN VENICE – Review by Maitland McDonagh

Hercule Poirot is attuned to the finer points of human psychology, allowing Agatha Christie room to explore emotions alongside clues and Kenneth Branagh’s A Haunting in Venice is just as invested in the way its characters feel as in what they do. Branagh never lets Poirot’s quirks take precedence over the fact that he’s a character with real depth, a man whose dedication to uncovering the truth is rooted in a past darkened by tragedy and dislocation. For all his mannered affect, injustice and cruelty offend Poirot’s sense of the way things ought to be but all-too often aren’t, and that any victory over life’s fundamental unfairness is worth the fight. When everything has been unraveled and explained, that’s a solid and satisfying takeaway.

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ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING – Review by Martha K Baker

Trust Steve Martin and Martin Short in their sixth collaboration to produce and star in a funny who-dun-it. Trust that the published author Martin with his writing partner John Hoffman has dug deep into a mystery. Trust, too, the addition of Selena Gomez in this troika of hellbent, albeit amateur, detectives.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 17, 2019: Amy Poehler’s WINE COUNTRY

If you can’t get to wine country with your own girlfriends anytime soon, you could do far worse than tagging along with Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, and their crew as they celebrate female friendship in all its messy glory. Blending crisp whites and robust reds with both humor and introspection, Wine Country is like a cross between a buddy comedy and a midlife-crisis therapy session.

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WINE COUNTRY – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

Netflix’s Wine Country isn’t quite Sideways for a gaggle of six middle-aged gals. For one, it is set in Napa and not Santa Barbara. For another, writers Emily Spivey and Liz Cackowski, who show up on the screen as well, keep the dialogue at a sitcom-level pitch and packed with zingers.

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WINE COUNTRY – Review by Jennifer Merin

Amy Poehler’s directorial debut is a truly femme centric production — cast and crew — through and through The ensemble is essentially a feminist reunion of Saturday Night Live sketch comediennes. And, Liz Cackowski and Emily Spivey’s script stakes out and covers territory that is certainly familiar to women who will delight in seeing the film’s refreshing feminist perspective on screen.

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