Episode 395: Vertical Limit

Despite an avalanche worth of cliches, the over-the-top nitroglycerin-fueled action and a dramatic rescue attempt premise allow for a big, fun movie experience set on the gorgeous but dangerous snowy peaks of Pakistan.

* Note – full spoilers in effect for entire episode *

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I.S.S. – Movie Review

America vs. Russia – it’ll never get old. This time the two countries have their astronaut scientists squaring off for control of the International Space Station in this paranoid thriller that moves quickly, boasts strong VFX, and features impressive camerawork, but lacks the emotional connection and memorable moments to make it stand out.

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Music: Upbeat Party – Scott Holmes Music

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The Beekeeper – Movie Review

Barely average or below in almost every single way – not even a constant flow of bee puns and the occasional body part removal can save this overly silly and unspectacular action flick.

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Music: Upbeat Party – Scott Holmes Music

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Mean Girls – Movie Review

Though unlikely to supplant any super fan’s love of the original film, this theatrical retelling of a familiar story is a worthy companion piece, bringing a new energy with its musical numbers and vocal performances, a fresh take on body positivity, and expanded view of what it means to accept each other in a diverse school setting today.

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Music: Upbeat Party – Scott Holmes Music

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Episode 394: Cliffhanger

Big alpine action with megastar Sylvester Stallone taking on dual thieving villains in a treacherous mountain setting makes this a defining 90s movie thriller, full of quotable one-liners and memorable set pieces and kills.

* Note – full spoilers in effect for entire episode *

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Night Swim – Movie Review

It’s time to welcome in 2024 with a typical horror-thriller film that isn’t strong enough to release in the summer or fall. A truly interesting supernatural mythology is wasted until the film has already tested your patience and its jump scares mostly come off as silly more than scary, but the nostalgia for those who grew up with a swimming pool and the feeling of danger bodies of water can bring are conveyed fairly well.

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Music: Upbeat Party – Scott Holmes Music

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FF+ Migration

A surprisingly adorable, funny, family-centric, and affirming adventure story with vibrant animation. This story has meaningful family representation and less constant empty slapstick nonsense than the typical Illumination film, and it is refreshingly welcome. 

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FF+ The Color Purple

This novel turned Broadway musical turned film adaptation is an absolutely dazzling and emotionally stirring knockout. Its tremendous ensemble cast, dynamic direction, and musical numbers that soar tell a story not just about the awful human capacity to hurt each other but also for resilience, hope, support, and ultimately forgiveness. A bold retelling perfect for introducing a new generation to this powerful coming-of-age tale.

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Music: Upbeat Party – Scott Holmes Music

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Episode 393: The Iron Claw

Sean Durkin’s melodramatic biopic definitely pulls some punches when it comes to the tragedy of the Von Erich family, but still manages to balance emotion and fact in a strongly impactful way. In-ring choreography feels authentic and respectful of professional wrestling while remaining entertaining, and both heartbreaking and enraging performances bring this painful story to life.

* Note – full spoilers in effect for entire episode *

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FF+ Maestro

Cooper really has it as a director, presenting a mesmerizing biopic focused on the complicated relationship between Bernstein and his devoted wife Felicia. The film is almost entirely interested in the famous conductor/composer’s prolific affairs with men, and spends precious little time on his career by comparison, sadly only giving us one rousing musical number, but it’s a fascinating project because it shows a genius artist largely stripped down to who he was when not on a podium and the sacrifices made by a wife and others to support him in achieving his goals.

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