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Movie Review: “M3GAN” is a Fun Start to the New Year

After so many heavy award contenders, it’s nice to have a fun palette cleanser like the new sci-fi/thriller, “M3GAN”. January is known to be dump month. So going into this film, I had no expectations but to hopefully have a good time. Luckily, the film turned out to be a whole lot of deadly fun.

Chucky, you’ve met your match. It’s the model 3 generative android, aka M3GAN for short. She is a child’s greatest companion and a parent’s greatest ally. She’s a life-like doll that listens, teaches, and looks after the child she has bonded with. However, when it comes to protecting her owner, M3GAN may go off program and leave a bloody mess behind.

In the film, Allison Williams stars as Gemma, a brilliant roboticist who is obsessed with her job and perfecting the AI for her company’s new toy. Unfortunately, a terrible accident leaves her responsible for her 8-year-old niece, Cady (Violet McGraw). She rushes her newest project so that M3GAN can take on the responsibilities of a guardian that she doesn’t want to be bothered with. But soon M3GAN takes her role to the extreme, and Gemma must do everything she can to deactivate the AI for good.

This hilarious, campy horror is written by Akela Cooper and James Wan; and directed by Gerald Johnstone. It has all the makings for an instant horror classic. The film provides the similar thrills and humor of “Child’s Play”, while adding its own original spin. “M3GAN” is self-aware and embraces the silliness of its premise. Though, the plot is ridiculous, the film also has a lot of heart by exploring grief and its impact on children, as well as people’s dependency on technology. There is a reason why these AI’s shouldn’t replace parents, and at some point, children need to outgrow their toys.

“M3GAN” is a comical story with some foolish scenes, but man, is it one hell of a good time! From her random dance break to her creepy spider crawl chase, you’ll be laughing and shuddering at the thought of M3GAN as your new best friend.

Rating: B+

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Top 10 Best Films of 2022

10. The Black Phone

At first glance, “The Black Phone” could come off as a “ripped from the headlines” Lifetime movie. In actuality, the film is a familiar story about a child kidnapper/serial killer that unfolds in a completely unnerving and original way! It also features an incredible and disturbingly eerie performance by Ethan Hawke.

9. I Want You Back

When I watched this film back in February, I knew it would be in my top 10. Not just because I love the genre, but because this one felt reminiscent of some of my favorite 90’s romcoms. The film follows Emma (Jenny Slate) and Peter (Charlie Day) after they have both been dumped by their significant others. They bond over their losses and decide to work together to get their exes back. “I Want You Back” has a refreshing and hilarious screenplay that shines even brighter through Slate and Day’s chemistry.

8. Hustle

Less is more when it comes to the brilliance that is “Hustle”. Adam Sandler plays a basketball scout whose goal is to become a coach. In the midst of that journey, he stumbles upon a talented baller in Spain. They connect as two underdogs trying to prove themselves worthy of coming out on top. This is just one of those movies that excels through incredible performances and it’s a feel-good story. It’s easily my favorite performance by Sandler to date. “Hustle” is the hidden gem of 2022 that I hope everyone was able to find.

7. The Woman King

Based on true events, “The Woman King” is the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s. The women are fierce warriors with unbelievable fighting skills. From its opening scene, the film hooks you in, and keeps you enthralled with exciting action sequences and a thrilling journey. It’s an inspiring and powerful movie.

6. Bros

Finally, a good romcom was shown in theaters this year! It’s crazy to think that “Bros” is the first romantic comedy about two men falling in love to be produced by a mainstream studio. It’s long overdue. But, if we had to wait this long, I’m glad we put it in the hands of Billy Eichner (Co-Writer) and Nick Stoller (Director/Co-Writer). In addition to the film’s historic romantic storyline, the movie also features and entirely LGBTQ+ cast. And it’s entertaining to watch some of those characters poke fun at their own current political identities. “Bros” goes beyond the surface level romcom with its conversation about the importance of LGBTQ+ historical figures.

5. Vengeance

B.J. Novak’s directorial debut is a dark comedy thriller about a podcaster who travels from New York to West Texas to investigate the death of a girl he was hooking up with. I may be bias, being from Texas, but anyone can relate to this story. It’s a hilarious satire about politics, media and technology. Novak is a tour de force, providing a sharp and witty script with a valuable message about how we “connect” with people. “Vengeance” is an original “whodunit” with a shocking and unforgettable ending.

4. Fresh

Mimi Cave’s debut feature goes from rom-com to a dark, provocative horror. Audiences may think they’ve seen this story before, but it hasn’t been told quite like this. For starters, the film features a Grade-A cast. Sebastian Stan’s character is unlike anything he’s played before. And Daisy Edgar-Jones gives an unforgettable performance, as she brings a whole new level to the “damsel turns badass” story arc. The film’s images range from picturesque to beautifully grotesque. “Fresh” delivers the whole package. It’s a deliciously, twisted horror/comedy that leaves you craving more.

3. The Menu

The best original screenplay award should go to “The Menu”. Talk about a brilliant script! This was one that audiences didn’t really know what they were walking into, but should have left very satisfied. In the film, a couple (Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult) travels to a coastal island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef (Ralph Fiennes) has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises. As the story unfolds, we find this is an exploration of the toxic relationship between art, artist and consumer. Are we still making the art that we were passionate about for ourselves or have we become sell outs? “The Menu” is a clever and delectable story.

2. The Batman

“The Batman” is one of the best Batman movies since “The Dark Knight”. I was hesitant when Robert Pattinson was cast, but he nails it with a brooding Bruce Wayne in his 20’s. The entire cast is fantastic, especially, the quick-witted Zoe Kravitz as probably the most realistic Cat woman, and a stunning, unrecognizable Colin Farrell as Penguin, and of course, a chilling Paul Dano as The Riddler. In this story, citizens know Batman’s name, but don’t quite know his full potential. However, when The Riddler, sadistically begins to murder key political figures and dirty cops in Gotham, Batman is pulled into the investigation to uncover the city’s hidden corruption and his family’s involvement. The film’s dark and gritty atmosphere paired with Matt Reeves’ alluring shots heightens the thrills and suspense during this enthralling murder mystery.

1. Top Gun: Maverick

My number one had to go to my favorite cinematic experience this year. This film had no business being as good as it was. But I am so happy to say it pulled off a sequel rarity in being better than the original. In “Top Gun: Maverick”, Pete Mitchell aka Maverick (Tom Cruise), has been serving as one the Navy’s top aviators for more than 30 years. He is ordered to return to “Top Gun” and instruct the new class of fighter pilots. Only problem, that class includes his late best friend, Goose’s son, Bradley (Miles Teller), who has unresolved issues with Maverick. What director Joseph Kosinski did here is no easy feat. He managed to take the good of the original film and elevate the story and special effects to new heights. The script is sharp, with a perfect combination of nostalgia and modern day. The acting is top notch, as these characters are portrayed with more emotion and vulnerability, and the flight sequences are heart pounding thrills.

The Best of the Rest:

11. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

12. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

13. The Good Nurse

14. Women Talking

15. Bodies, Bodies, Bodies

16. Bullet Train

17. Everything Everywhere All at Once

18. The Whale

19. The Fabelmans

20. Senior Year

Top 5 Worst Films of 2022

5. Jurassic World: Dominon – You bring everyone back for a messy story about giant locusts?

4. Firestarter (2022) – Not even Zac Efron could make this reboot worth it.

3. They/Them – Such a great idea with poor delivery and some of the worst acting.

2. Pinocchio (2022) – A lazy remake with poor graphics and the most annoying Pinocchio.

1. Halloween Ends – I didn’t think it could get any worse than the last film, but then this monstrosity was made. Barely any Michael Myers and too much unwanted romance.

Trevor’s Top 10

10. Thor: Love and Thunder
9. The Black Phone
8. Fresh
7. Bullet Train
6. The Whale
5. Everything Everywhere All At Once
4. The Menu
3. Vengeance
2. The Batman
1. Top Gun: Maverick

“Babylon” Interview w/ Damien Chazelle

I got a chance to sit down with Academy Award winning director, Damien Chazelle for his new film, “Babylon”. We discuss the changes in the industry that affected him, who was the first person to recognize his talent, and more!

“Babylon” opens in theaters on December 23, 2022.

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SOMETHING FROM TIFFANY’S Interview w/ Zoey Deutch, Kendrick Sampson, & Ray Nicholson

Prime Video’s new holiday romcom, “Something from Tiffany’s” follows Rachel (Zoey Deutch) as her life gets turned upside down when an engagement ring that was for someone else leads her to the person she’s meant to be with.

I got a chance to speak with the stars of the film, Deutch, Kendrick Sampson, and Ray Nicholson about the film! Check out my fun chat with the three of them and the film when it premieres on Prime Video December 9.

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Movie/Interview Review: “Women Talking” w/ Sarah Polley

This week in Feature Flix Susan discusses two films that are generating a lot of Oscar buzz. One of them is sure to get nominated in multiple categories and the other one might just take home the gold for Best Actor! Check out Susan’s thoughts on “Women Talking” and “The Whale” in this video.

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I got a chance to speak with Director/Writer, Sarah Polley about the film. Listen to our full discuss in the link below!

Sarah Polley Interview

“Women Talking” opens in theaters on December 23, 2022 and “The Whale” opens on December 9th.

Movie Review: “The Fabelmans” Brings out Michelle Williams Best Performance Yet

We already knew that Steven Spielberg hadn’t lost his touch after his remarkable remake of “West Side Story”. But in his newest drama, “The Fabelmans”, he pulls from his own personal experience as he digs at the family roots that helped shape him into the iconic filmmaker.

If I am being completely honest, as a little kid, the only director I knew of was Spielberg. His films are such a huge part of my upbringing. I don’t think I even understood completely what a director did until I put a face to the creator of “E.T.” and “Jaws”. As we all know, he has an amazing resume of monumental films. So, to get a chance to peep into what started his craft and an insight into his family, is a true honor.

In “The Fabelmans”, we follow Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) from a young boy through college as he navigates family drama while chasing his dream of making movies. Without giving too much away, the biggest drama stems from Sammy’s mother, Mitzi (Michelle Williams). She’s naturally the more melodramatic member of the family. She’s an artist/pianist who encourages Sammy to embrace his creativity. Her children adore her free-spirited, performative behavior, while also admiring their father’s (Paul Dano) intelligence. They actually come off as the perfect family, until Sammy takes a closer look through his lens and sees flaws in his parents’ marriage. This and other trials and tribulations will prove to mold Sammy into a stronger man and help him find solace in his films.

The story is told through fantastic performances by the entire cast.  The standout is LaBelle, who I expect we will be seeing plenty more of after such an authentic and vulnerable portrayal of the young director. And easily one of the best performances of the year, Williams as Mitzi. Your feelings about her may be conflicting at first, but by the end, she’s the one you won’t be able to stop thinking about. Such a layered character we have the pleasure of diving into. Mitzi is a loving, and at times erratic mother whose behavior is “unique”. However, she’s absolutely mesmerizing. Williams deserves an obvious nomination, if not a win for this role.

Now, I may sound like a broken record with this one negative, but the film could have been about 30 minutes shorter and been just as effective. However, the characters are engaging enough to distract you from the runtime.

“The Fabelmans” serves as an ode to the power of filmmaking. Movies have the ability to make people feel what you want them to, and through that you can ignite emotions of laughter, fear, joy, love, and so much more. Spielberg was gifting us with his movie-magic, while also using his art as a therapeutic escape. “The Fabelmans” is a rare gem for movie buffs and an enjoyable film for the whole family.

Rating: A-

Movie Review: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

This week I review the highly anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed “Black Panther.” Find out if I think “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” holds up to the original.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is currently playing in theaters.

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CHRISTMAS IN PARADISE Interview w/ Elizabeth Hurley

I got a chance to chat with the wonderful Elizabeth Hurley for her new holiday film, “Christmas in Paradise”. We discussed her favorite childhood Christmas movie, what kind of emotions Christmas stirs up for her, where she would escape to during a difficult time, and so much more! “Christmas in Paradise” opens in select theaters Friday, November 11th and on Digital, on Demand, Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday, November 15th.

Film Synopsis: Kelsey Grammer (“Frasier”), Elizabeth Hurley (Austin Powers franchise), and Billy Ray Cyrus (“Hannah Montana”) star in this charming tropical tale guaranteed to heat up your holidays. Three quirky sisters chase their estranged dad (Grammer) down to his beachside pad in the Caribbean and enjoy a little fun in the sun. But why did he disappear to the islands? Only Joanna (Hurley) knows for sure, and she’s sworn to secrecy! Love, laughter, and songs by Cyrus make this a Christmas to remember.

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Seventh Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards Winners

Good Night Oppy Brings Home the Gold for Best Documentary Feature at Seventh Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards

Silver Awarded to Fire of Love

Bronze Awarded to Navalny

Winners Revealed at Gala Event on Sunday, November 13 at the Edison Ballroom in New York City

Barbara Kopple Received the D A Pennebaker Award 

Dawn Porter Received the Critics Choice Impact Award 

For the Very First Time, the Ceremony Was Live-Streamed on
THE CRITICS CHOICE ASSOCIATION WEBSITE 

Actor and Standup Comedian Wyatt Cenac Served as Host of the Event

Winners of the Seventh Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Gold: Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios)

Silver: Fire of Love (National Geographic Documentary Films/Neon)

Bronze: Navalny (HBO Max/CNN Films/Warner Bros. Pictures)

BEST DIRECTOR

Ryan White – Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios)

BEST FIRST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

David Siev – Bad Axe (IFC Films)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

The Cinematography Team – Our Great National Parks (Netflix)

BEST EDITING

Brett Morgen – Moonage Daydream (Neon/HBO Documentary Films)

BEST SCORE

Blake Neely – Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios)

BEST NARRATION

Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios)

   Written by Helen Kearns, Ryan White

   Performed by Angela Bassett

BEST ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTARY

Fire of Love (National Geographic Documentary Films/Neon)

BEST HISTORICAL DOCUMENTARY

Descendant (Netflix)

BEST BIOGRAPHICAL DOCUMENTARY

Sidney (Apple TV+)

BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY

The Beatles: Get Back (Disney+)

BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY

Navalny (HBO Max/CNN Films/Warner Bros. Pictures)

BEST SCIENCE/NATURE DOCUMENTARY

Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios)

BEST SPORTS DOCUMENTARY (TIE)

Citizen Ashe (HBO Max/CNN Films)

Welcome to Wrexham (FX)

BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY

Nuisance Bear (The New Yorker Studios)

BEST LIMITED DOCUMENTARY SERIES

The Beatles: Get Back (Disney+)

BEST ONGOING DOCUMENTARY SERIES

30 for 30 (ESPN)


About the Critics Choice Awards

The Critics Choice Documentary Awards are an offshoot of the Critics Choice Awards, which are bestowed annually by the CCA to honor the finest in cinematic and television achievement. Historically, the Critics Choice Awards are the most accurate predictor of Academy Award nominations.

Movie Review: “Halloween Ends”

The newest “Halloween” trilogy comes to an end. This week I review reviews “Halloween Ends” and let audiences know if it’s worth the watch!

“Halloween Ends” is currently playing in theaters and streaming on Peacock.

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