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Movie reviews: ‘Scream VI,’ ‘Champions,’ ‘I Like Movies’

SCREAM VI. 3 ½ stars

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Melissa Barrera, left, and Jenna Ortega in a scene from Scream VI. (Philippe Bossé/Paramount Pictures via AP)Ghostface is back, kicking and screaming and stabbing, punching and shooting in another gory adventure where real life imitates slasher film reel life. Like the other entries in the Scream VI franchise now playing in theaters, it aims to subvert slasher films, but actually delivers horribly distracting goods.

Set after the events of 2022’s Scream, the new film moves the action from Woodsboro, California, where Ghostface’s murders once took place, to New York City on Halloween. The four survivors of Ghostface’s latest rampage—sisters Samantha and Tara Carpenter (Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega) and twins Chad and Mindy Meeks (Mason Gooding and Jasmine Savoy Brown)—raise the country to attend school and learn. . the past follows them, but trauma has a way of following a person.

Sam, who killed her boyfriend Richie Kirsch (Jack Quaid) when she discovered he was Ghostface’s killer, only in love with her because she is the daughter of the original Screaming Mask Killer, is now seeking treatment, but he confesses, stabbing her. 22 times, cutting his throat and shooting him in the head, “it felt right”.

No spoilers here, but suffice it to say that the film follows the “rules” of film student Mindy; Rule one. As the franchise ages, so will the films. Rule two. Expect the opposite of last time. The third rule. legacy characters and protagonists are cannon fodder. No one is safe.

Scream VI feels fresher than you’d expect from a nearly thirty-year-old film franchise. This is helped by a rotating cast of new and old faces, providing new stories steeped in nostalgia, but it also has to do with the franchise’s desire to entertain at almost any cost.

This one is a closely related, if familiar, story, complete with more gruesome murders than usual, I’m sure I saw guts, and what Alfred Hitchcock would call a “refrigerator climax.” It means that it seems to make sense when you watch it, but then when you’re standing in front of the fridge looking for something to eat and your mind goes back to the movie, you realize how ridiculous it was. The Grand-Guignol ending is over the top, but hey, remember rule number one?

Scream VI doesn’t exactly break new ground for the franchise, but its expected mix of humor, gore and self-deprecation, and its willingness to be goofy and a little edgy at the same time, recommend it.

CHAMPIONS: 3 ½ stars

This image released by Focus Features shows Woody Harrelson in a scene from the movie Champions. (Focus features via AP)In Hollywood, Pharrell’s last name comes with expectations. As a duo, the Farrelly brothers, Peter and Bobby, were mainstays of gross-out big-screen comedies, with Me, Myself and Irene and There’s Something About Mary gracing their IMDB page.

On his own, older brother Peter scored big with Green Book, a serious film about race relations in 1960s America that won three Oscars, but was a step away from the work that made him famous.

Younger brother Bobby went solo with the Champions this weekend. A remake of the 2018 Goya Award-winning Spanish film, the new version starring Woody Harrelson, now playing in theaters, isn’t as funny as his early work, nor as Oscar-worthy as his brother’s solo.

The action begins with a J League, Iowa Stallions basketball game. The clock is counting down when Coach Phil (Ernie Hudson) makes a call that angers assistant coach and basketball know-it-all Marcus (Harrelson).

“He knows the game better than anyone I’ve ever known or played with,” says Phil, “but he doesn’t know the players.”

As usual, the hot-headed Marcus lets his anger get to him and he pushes Phil to the ground. Fired, he drowns his sorrows in a bar, is arrested and sentenced to ninety days of Community Service to coach the Friends, a team of mentally disabled adults at a local registry.

In anticipation of competing in the Special Olympics, Marcus teaches the team the way they teach him to see the players for who they really are, and not just for their skill on the court.

The Champions is a very specific story about Marcus’ redemption through a team that teaches him the true meaning of being a team, but in its own way it becomes an open-hearted, universal tale of the power of respect and acceptance. . And fart and barf, because this is, after all, a Farrell movie.

It’s also a Farrelly film in the way he treats his characters. The film was shot in Manitoba and was produced through Saint Amant, a non-profit organization that works with Manitobans living with developmental disabilities and autism. Echoing past films like “Stuck on You” and “There’s Something About Mary,” Farrell wisely makes the young actors who make up the team the beating heart of the film. He treats them with respect while letting them carry most of the story.

Although the story was inspired by the Burjasot-based Aderes team that won twelve Spanish championships between 1999 and 2014, The Champions are predictable. You can guess that, win or lose, Marcus will be affected by the team as much as they are by him, so it’s about the journey, not the destination, and Farrelly has done well by casting actors we invest in. Harrelson brings edge and warmth, and Caitlin Olson as Marcus’ sort of love interest has edge and empathy. Everyone in the film is a champion in their own way, but it’s the Friends who make this film a winner.

I LOVE MOVIES: 4 stars

I Like Movies, a coming-of-age story set against a backdrop of angst, anxiety and Paul Thomas Anderson, is a period piece set in a time when local blockbusters were sanctuaries for suburban moviegoers.

The film is set in 2003 in Burlington, Ontario, a small town between Toronto and Niagara Falls. The film centers around teenage brother and filmmaker extraordinaire Lawrence Kuehler (Isaiah Lehtinen). Arrogant and insecure, she lets her love of film, her dream of attending NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and her anxiety alienate the most important people in her life.

His life changes when he gets a job at Sequels, a video store in his hometown. He’s there with ten free rentals a week available to employees and recommends obscure arthouse movies to people who’d rather watch Shrek.

The job, of course, isn’t exactly what Lawrence hoped it would be. At the insistence of her manager, Alana (Romina D’Ugo), she is forced to wear a mask with what she thinks are movie titles. And, let’s face it, learning how to rotate stock in a beverage cooler is about as far from making a movie as possible.

As summer winds down, so does the dream of attending NYU, forcing Lawrence, with the help of his downtrodden mother (Christa Bridges) and some tough love from Alana, to rethink his movie dreams and face reality.

Part workplace comedy, think High Fidelity only at the video store, part character study, I Like Movies is a sweet, funny film that digs deep to make us empathize with Lawrence, a socially awkward character. hides his true feelings behind anger and ambition.

Lawrence isn’t a likable character, at least not when we first meet him, and yet director and screenwriter Chandler Levack, who worked on the blockbuster video as a teenager, makes him sympathetic. His haughty anger stems from insecurity, and the more we get to know him, the more we feel for him, even when he drones on about Paul Thomas Anderson or Stanley Kubrick. As Alana pushes him to reassess his attitude and look at life beyond the screen, Lehtinen lets us see the wheels turning inside the character’s head as his redemption approaches.

Strong performances, especially from Lehtinen and D’Hugo, and a genuinely heartfelt script make this depiction of teenage angst (and movie bros) a triumphant debut for Levack.

BLUEBACK: 3 stars

We’ve all seen the boy-and-his-dog movies about deep relationships between humans and animals, like White Fang and Just the Dog with Channing Tatum and the Belgian Malinois.

Blueback, the new Australian family picture from Mia Wasikowska and now playing in theaters, mines similar territory, but this time it’s the love story of a girl, her blueback writer, and the ocean.

Wasikowska is Abby, a marine biologist who grew up exploring the ocean off the coast of her childhood home in Western Australia. “We were born in water,” says mother Dora (Elizabeth Alexander).

When Dora suffers a debilitating stroke that leaves her unable to speak, Abby returns home. Hoping that returning to the sea will help Dora’s recovery, they travel to the coast.

From there, the story shifts between Abby’s childhood and her discovery of a rare blueback writer, the titular Blueback, who inspired the eco-activism that shaped her life and the present day.

Blueback is a well-intentioned but heavy-handed film that mixes and matches mother-daughter dynamics with messages about the fragility of the marine environment and the importance of conservation. The main points of the film are interwoven and unfortunately overexplained. Repetition and overexposure dulls the film’s mission somewhat, despite great performances from Wasikowska and Radha Mitchell, who plays Dora in flashbacks.

The film’s narrative flaws, however, are somewhat mitigated by the beautiful underwater photography and the urgency of the conservation messages.

#Movie #reviews #Scream #Champions #Movies

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