REVIEW: The jaw-dropping 'Mission: Impossible - Fallout'

The film is very aware the story is not its strong suit; the entire plot is explained in the first 10 minutes in classic Mission: Impossible secret message fashion, and then promptly ushers you into an incredible two-hour escape. What’s most impressive is that it feels like there’s a legitimate mental and physical weight to the things Cruise is put through and that’s undeniably a part of his charm.

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REVIEW: ‘Sorry to Bother You’ is social commentary and self-critique in equal measure

But in a bizarre meta twist, it also looks inward, pre-emptively questioning its own message and those of its compatriots. The movie seems to ask, “Is this really progress? Or are we merely packaging up social commentary in a form that’s still palatable for white people?”

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Reviews of Classic Movies: ‘Being There’ cuts ever deeper as social media gets louder

The movie is a subtle, but damning representation of modern politics. We’re invited to wonder how many of our leaders and public intellectuals are really know-nothings who were lucky enough to stumble into recognition and respect. At the time Ashby (perhaps best known for Harold and Maude) was working on Being There, the political climate in the United States was nowhere near as charged as it is today.

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REVIEW: 'Sicario: Day of the Soldado' misses the mark

There seems to be two distinct films in here; there’s a black ops espionage thriller pitting the talkers in suits versus the doers in camo, and another which weaves a slow burn tale of a hitman who is forced to decide between the mission or the moral high road.

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REVIEW: ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’, where progress starts small

For her part, the Wasp is a sensible new addition to the Avengers roster. At a time (10 years, 20 movies) when Marvel has yet to deliver a female-centric solo film, the Wasp gets halfway to the milestone by sharing the marquee with Ant-Man.

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REVIEW: The Pretty Good 'Incredibles 2'

It doesn't sound fresh, and I don’t think it’s just because it's a sequel. If the most memorable part of Incredibles 2 is Jack-Jack's fight against a raccoon, there's something wrong. The first film asked really good real-world micro questions in the superhero genre: What if I don't want to be saved? What if my superhero husband is having an affair? It forced the extraordinary to be ordinary, which is the exact opposite of the basis of superhero origin stories.

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True North Streaming: The Best New Titles on Netflix Canada, June 6/18

True North Streaming is a semi-regular column highlighting some of the best new additions to Netflix’s Canadian service. Like many of you, every so often I get a pleasant surprise when I discover a cool movie or TV show that’s just popped up on Netflix’s often-maligned sister platform. These posts will help you filter through the often quirky mix of Netflix Canada’s offerings and find the most valuable ways to waste some time.

And with that, in no particular order…

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TV REVIEW: ‘Arrested Development’ Season 5 is no Sudden Valley

Now, after another five years and a controversial and largely ineffective re-edit of Season 4 by Hurwitz, Netflix has brought eight new episodes of Arrested to the masses, forming the first half of a two-part Season 5. Out of due diligence, I decided to re-watch the entire series from the beginning before tackling the new episodes, including the remixed 2013 block. And while I came away feeling slightly better about the overall state of the Netflix revival than I had before, Hurwitz and his team have yet to recapture the manic energy and densely layered stories of the first three seasons.

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REVIEW: 'Deadpool 2' expands the vigilante family

They say that Reynolds was born to play Deadpool and probably because so much of the character has been informed by his own career. He got his first breaks in the ‘90s when gross-out teenage comedies were big summer films, and for a long time he was known as that guy from National Lampoon’s Van Wilder before becoming the lovable idiot or the action star who couldn’t stop making stupid but funny jokes in Blade: Trinity. Superhero films have become both a source of fun and occasional misery, but perhaps no other actor has as much right to lampoon them than the guy who’s been in two of the worst ones in history.

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REVIEW: 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' smuggles some good moments from a troubled shoot

It’s mildly diverting stuff, though unfortunately it doesn’t have the same verve or sparkle as a true heist film, or even of something else from Disney’s catalogue, Guardians of the Galaxy. The whole thing is very capably assembled, but there’s a nagging, familiar feeling of a movie that changed hands partway through production. Which, of course, is exactly what happened.

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REVIEW: 'Batman Ninja' cannot be unseen

Let’s start with the good; Batman Ninja looks gorgeous. The smoother CGI and cel animation threw me for a loop because I’m still used to some of the herky-jerky action of the old hand-drawn ones, but the colours are vivid, the movements look cool and smooth and the transitions are creative. I watched it with its original Japanese audio and I had no qualms with the voice acting or the translated subtitles, but note there is a completely different set of subtitles to go with the English audio.

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REVIEW: 'You Were Never Really Here' commands you to stay

The problem with a lot of crime films is that they often feel the need to explain multiple backstories to their viewers before going for the pay-off moment, rather than dropping them in to the middle of a crisis and saying, “here, figure it out.” There’s no big build-up here; you see things as Joe sees it, and a lot of it doesn’t make sense right away. Joe’s PTSD is as much a character of its own as Joe, and it’s often manifested through quick cuts to Joe suffocating himself with plastic bags or silently drowning in water

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SEASON REVIEW: ‘Lost in Space’ launches a progressive, but uneven reboot

And just as venerable franchises like Star Trek and Star Wars adapt to the changing times, Lost in Space has launched on Netflix in a shiny new production, looking to mirror the progressive ideals of the current cultural landscape. And even though some may argue that sci-fi is a saturated genre, Lost in Space – whose original version actually predates the original Trek by a year, hitting CBS in 1965 – does try to set itself apart. It keeps the focus not on the intrepid crew of Starfleet-esque officers, or on a rag-tag group of rebels taking down an evil empire, but on a family unit.

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REVIEW: 'Avengers: Infinity War' puts death on pause, but not without spectacle

This is why it doesn’t make any sense to fixate on who lives and dies in Avengers: Infinity War (this review certainly won’t). The odds on who survives the titular battle have been argued over for years online, with armchair critics trying to guess the exit points of series regulars like Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) or Captain America (Chris Evans) based on vaguely defined employment contracts that every fan seems to know about without having actually read.

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REVIEW: 'Pacific Rim Uprising' and how it stagnates a franchise

The story is pretty predictable after that: the drone Jaegers fail big time and the kaiju return with the biggest kaiju ever and Jake and Nate have to learn how to put aside their differences and save the world as a team. It’s a near rip-off of the plot of the first film, where two characters who start off disliking each other end up being perfect for each other, and in fact, if Pacific Rim: Uprising was a romcom it could actually work.

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