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Articles written by Jennifer Nanek


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  • Movie Review: "Horizon: An American Saga Part 1

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Jul 18, 2024

    Watching part one of Kevin Costner's 3-hour Western epic, "Horizon: An American Saga," is quickly realized that this is a movie that would have been better suited as a mini-series on a streaming service. There's simply too much going on. The film juggles three or four different plot threads, each with their own side plots, making it a bit difficult to keep track of everything. This project is very much Kevin Costner's brainchild. He financed the movie, wrote part of the...

  • FILM REVIEW: Inside Out 2 is a Nostalgic Return, With Growing Pains

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Jul 5, 2024

    "Inside Out 2" is a delightful return to "the interior of Riley's mind," this time navigating the turbulent waters of adolescence. This movie is certainly not as good as the original, but still I enjoyed it very much. In this new chapter we see the lead character Riley turn 13 and transition out of middle school. She starts to enter puberty as she goes off to hockey camp. Inside her brain we have the same characters from the last movie, although some have different voices,...

  • Movie Review: A Look at "The Bikeriders" -Revving Up or Running on Empty?

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Jun 25, 2024

    I recently saw this movie as part of Regal Cinema's movie mystery night. This movie is directed by Jeff Nichols and stars Austin Butler, aka Elvis, Jodie Comer, Michael Shannon and Tom Hardy. Everybody delivers strong performances in this movie. This is a fictionalized story of real events about an author who wrote a book about a very real motorcycle gang. The lead character, Kathy, is based on that author. This plot revolves around the 1960s subculture of bike riders, and a...

  • Movie Review: 'Am I Ok?' A Sweet Exploration of Friendship and Self-Discovery

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Jun 14, 2024

    Am I Ok?" is a charming new dramedy from directors Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne, starring Dakota Johnson. It recently landed on Max after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival and other film festivals in 2022. I watched this because I love the director and guest star of the movie Tig Notaro. Notaro is a chief engineer on Star Trek Discovery. She is very funny in that part. This film is a bit more heartfelt. This story centers on Lucy (Johnson) and Jane, best friends...

  • MOVIE REVIEW: Challengers - Serve and Volley Isn't Your Standard Tennis Flick

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Jun 3, 2024

    Luca Guadagnino's "Challengers" isn't your standard tennis flick. It's a deft volley between ambition, love, and betrayal, played out against the backdrop of the glamorous, cutthroat world of professional tennis. This movie is about tennis, friendship and sex and not always in that order. Zendaya reigns supreme. Her portrayal of Tashi, a tennis prodigy turned coach, is captivating. This is very much Zendaya's movie as she is the lead actor and a producer. The movie also stars...

  • MOVIE REVIEW: A Brutal Look at a Divided Future: Alex Garland's Civil War

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated May 15, 2024

    A frightening imagining of a Civil War among the states that could happen in the very near future, this movie stars Kirsten Dunst and is written and directed by Alex Garland. Garland cleverly sidesteps real-world political labels, focusing instead on the human cost of ideological division. The film paints a chilling picture of a future where regional alliances shift and violence becomes commonplace. Dunst is joined by a stellar cast, including Wagner Moura and Stephen...

  • Movie Review: "One Love" Shares New Story of Rise of Reggae Legend Bob Marley

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated May 1, 2024

    "One Love" chronicles the rise of reggae legend Bob Marley (Kingsley Ben-Adir). Even with limited prior knowledge of Marley, this biographical drama offers a captivating glimpse into his journey to superstardom, his family life, and of course, the irresistible music. The film, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, serves as a delightful entry point for casual fans like myself. I was surprised how many reggae classics I recognized, from "Three Little Birds" to hidden gems I...

  • MOVIE REVIEW: "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" a Fun, Familiar Ride

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Apr 12, 2024

    While not breaking new ground, "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" delivers a fun and engaging experience for fans of the franchise. Set in New York City, the film seamlessly blends the "next generation" team with the original Ghostbusters, giving the returning cast something to do. A highlight is Annie Potts finally suiting up as a Ghostbuster! The movie is packed with Easter eggs and throwbacks to the original films and the beloved cartoon series. Bill Murray gets some funny...

  • Movie Review: Maestro" A Look at Leonard Bernstein's Life and Legacy

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Apr 6, 2024

    "Maestro," Bradley Cooper's sophomore directorial effort available on Netflix, dives into the life of Leonard Bernstein, the iconic American composer and conductor. The film serves as a good introduction to Bernstein for newcomers like me, as, I didn't know anything about Leonard Bernstein. However the movie doesn't delve as deeply as it could have. Cooper both directs and plays the title role in the film. His performance is undeniably strong, capturing Bernstein's flamboyant...

  • Sci-Fi Shenanigans and Stone's Spark: A Review of Poor Things

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Apr 6, 2024

    A darkly comedic gem, "Poor Things" shines with audacious storytelling and a captivating performance by Emma Stone. Fueled by an Oscar win for Stone, this film by acclaimed director Yorgos Lanthimos ("The Lobster," "The Favourite") is a genre-bending blend of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and dark comedy. This is right up my alley! Reminiscent of Frankenstein, it tells the bizarre tale of Bella (Stone), a woman brought back to life with the brain of a baby. Raised by her e...

  • Movie Review: A Delightfully Subversive Romp in "Wicked Little Letters"

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Apr 1, 2024

    This movie, Wicked Little Letters, starring Olivia Coleman and Jesse Buckley, is absolutely hilarious. The film is a 2023 British black comedy/mystery, directed by Thea Sharrock and written by Jonny Sweet, set in 1920s small town England. When a conservative spinster named Edith, played by Olivia Coleman, starts getting these really offensive letters, her brash, vulgar next door neighbor from Ireland, Rose played by Jessie Buckley, is accused. All of the performances are...

  • A Deep Dive into Dune: Part 2 A Thought-Provoking Epic

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Mar 25, 2024

    I was glad to finally see Dune part 2 after it was delayed several months due to the writers and actors strikes. Denis Villeneuve's triumphant return to Arrakis in Dune: Part Two is a feast for the senses. The visuals are phenomenal. Stunning cinematography, dazzling special effects, and Hans Zimmer's ever-present, pulse-pounding score coalesce to create a truly immersive experience. We are transported back to the harsh beauty of the desert planet Arrakus, feeling the heat of...

  • Despite Talented Cast, Argylle is a Disappointing Film

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Mar 4, 2024

    "Argylle" is a spy thriller that boasts a star-studded cast, including Henry Cavill, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, and Dua Lipa. Despite its impressive cast, the film falls short in various aspects. This movie, directed by Matthew Vaughn, is based on a book series by author Elly Conway. However, the film is actually an adaptation of the fourth book in the series, which is not yet published. The first book in the series was published before the movie was released. This is...

  • "American Fiction" a Satire That Hits All the Right Notes

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Feb 28, 2024

    "American Fiction" offers us some great satire performed by a stellar cast. Directed and written by the talented Cord Jefferson and starring Jeffrey Wright, this film is a masterpiece in both storytelling and social commentary. This movie is about an African American writer whose books are not accepted by publishers because they don't fit certain specific expected African American themes. This is based on a book written 20 years ago but the issues are still true today. As an...

  • "Good Grief," is a Heartfelt Exploration of Friendship and Discovery

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Feb 15, 2024

    I recently had the opportunity to watch Dan Levy's directorial debut, Good Grief, on Netflix. Dan Levy is best known for his comedy Schitt's Creek. I love that show, it's hilarious. When he entered into a deal to create content with Netflix I was and still am looking forward to anything he does. "Good Grief," is a heartfelt exploration of grief, friendship, and self-discovery. While it may not land every comedic or dramatic beat perfectly, it offers a tender, character-driven...

  • "May December" a Dark Comedy on Netflix

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Feb 5, 2024

    This is a dark comedy starring Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore and Charles Melton in a story loosely based on Mary Kay Letourneau and her affair with one of her young students. It is directed by Todd Haynes. In this film, Natalie Portman plays Elizabeth, an actress who is going to play a part in a movie based on the relationship between Gracie and Joe, played respectfully by Julianne Moore and Charles Melton. The movie takes place in Savannah Georgia, a beautiful historic...

  • The Color Purple: A Triumphant Return

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Jan 29, 2024

    The beloved story of Celie Johnson is returned to the big screen, and this time, it's singing its heart out. "The Color Purple" (2023) is a triumphant musical adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, and it's a testament to the enduring power of this timeless tale. The film is actually based upon the Broadway musical more than the book, even though it's basically the same story. I had seen the original movie and I did read the book once upon a time. I had...

  • Aquaman 2 and the Lost Kingdom: A Surprisingly Enjoyable Dip in Troubled Waters

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Jan 20, 2024

    I was a bit delayed watching Aquaman 2 as I was gone over the holidays. I finally got to see it recently. I went into Aquaman 2 expecting a shipwreck, weighed down by the negativity swirling around it. But surprisingly, I found myself bobbing to the surface, entertained and enjoying it. Don't get me wrong, it's not a cinematic masterpiece, but it delivered a fun, albeit uneven, underwater adventure. So this is the last Snyder verse movie. Everybody knew going into this movie...

  • Movie Review of "Wonka" : A Sweet Surprise (with a Few Wonky Bits)

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Jan 9, 2024

    I'll admit, I walked into the new Wonka movie bracing myself for disappointment. The shadow of Gene Wilder's iconic performance loomed large, and the more recent Johnny Depp version didn't exactly instill confidence. But, much like discovering a golden ticket tucked beneath a wrapper, I found myself pleasantly surprised by this chocolatey adventure. This movie was directed by Paul King who is known for his recent Paddington Bear movies. The cast did a good job. Timothée...

  • "Rebel Moon" a Great Popcorn Flick

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Dec 30, 2023

    I watched Zack Snyder's Rebel Moon movie, recently released on Netflix. While Snyder doesn't always get it right, I like looking at whatever he does. He is known for the Man of Steel and other DC superhero movies. Rebel Moon part 1 delivers a visually stunning sci-fi spectacle with great characters and wonderful special effects. Sofia Boutella shines as Kora, a warrior haunted by her past who seeks to become the unlikely savior of a peaceful moon farming colony. Ed Skrein is e...

  • "Wish" a Tribute to Prior Disney Animated Films

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Dec 19, 2023

    This is not the best Disney movie ever. Not even close. Frozen it is not. However I enjoyed it very much. This movie seems to be a tribute to 100 years of Disney. One of the characters is 100 years old. The movie is filled with nods to other popular Disney movies. While "Wish" might not be an instant Disney classic, it offers a charming exploration of the power of wishes, both granted and ungranted. I especially loved how the film emphasized that the journey toward your...

  • Movie Review: "Napoleon" Visually Stunning But Lacks Depth

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Nov 27, 2023

    Director Ridley Scott's latest epic, "Napoleon," is a captivating portrayal of the rise and fall of the French Emperor. I have been looking forward to this Napoleon movie for a while. This is a massive project for any director to take on and I was looking forward to seeing what Ridley Scott does with it. This movie is long at 2 and 1/2 hours. We are promised a much longer version on Apple+ sometime later (which I will of course watch). With its grand scale, sweeping vistas,...

  • A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: A Thrilling and Thought-provoking Prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy.

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Nov 20, 2023

    "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" is a captivating and suspenseful prequel to the beloved dystopian trilogy. I read the book several years back and very much enjoyed it. Set 64 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteers as tribute, the movie follows the ambitious and cunning Coriolanus Snow, a young man from a prominent but poor family in the opulent Capitol. When he is selected as a mentor for District 12 tribute Lucy Gray Baird, a defiant and talented musi...

  • Movie Review "What Happens Later" Is a Touching Tale of Second Chances and Rekindled Love

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Nov 8, 2023

    "What Happens Later," stands out as a refreshing and poignant exploration of second chances and rekindled love amidst the backdrop of mature relationships. This romantic comedy stars Meg Ryan and is also directed by Meg Ryan. This is her second directorial effort. The film revolves around Willa (Ryan) and Bill (David Duchovny), two former college sweethearts who unexpectedly reunite after decades of separation, finding themselves snowed in at a regional airport overnight....

  • Film Review: Killers of the Flower Moon

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Oct 31, 2023

    Martin Scorsese's new film, Killers of the Flower Moon, is a sprawling epic about the serial murder of Osage Nation members in 1920s Oklahoma. The film is based on the best-selling book of the same name by David Grann, and it stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, and Lily Gladstone. I read this book back in 2019. I thought it was an excellent book and I thought then that it should be a movie. The film's acting is top-notch, with all three leads delivering excellent...

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