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Stan & Ollie

By: Jessica Goddard Touching, sincere, and surprisingly universal, Jon S. Baird’s Stan & Ollie is a sensitive look into the last tour of legendary comedy act Laurel and Hardy.  Built on wonderful performances from Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as Laurel and Hardy respectively, the biopic has wonderful range – from the tender or vicious exchanges to the subtle but magnetic moments when the pair perform on stage as a duo.

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Inventing Tomorrow

Inventing Tomorrow, Laura Nix’s uplifting documentary about teenage scientists competing at the Intel ISEF (the science fair to end all science fairs), is a much-needed antidote to the cynicism that seems to be increasingly present everywhere we look.

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Fyre

The Fyre Festival looked like it was a party best experienced through social media in the comfort of your own home.  Well, it turns out there’s an even better way to relive the chaos of the ill-fated festival: through Chris Smith’s feature-length documentary, Fyre.  Netflix subscribers will watch Fyre in disbelief.

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Hal

Hal Ashby is undoubtedly one of the underrated greats of American cinema.  While he never quite became a household name, his films frequently had a certain magical quality to them;  never quite being the film that people think of when referring to the great works of an actor, but rather that other film that always comes out in the second or third breath.  Films like Harold & Maude, The Last Detail, Bound for Glory and Being There ensured that he would…

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The Harrowing

By: Trevor Chartrand Written and directed by Jon Keeyes, The Harrowing is a supernatural thriller that lacks nail-biting tension and edge that would keep viewers hanging on every word.  Despite some decent visual effects and cinematography, the film fails to truly inspire fear from its audience.

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Capernaum

Based on similar lives in the country of Lebanon, writer/director Nadine Labaki tells the heart-wrenching story of 12-year-old Zain (Zain Al Rafeea) as he survives his life in the slums, leading him to an attempt to sue his parents for an unfit upbringing.  Zain is faced with constant abuse – both physically and psychologically – and he’s used in questionable activity to help his family stay afloat.  When times become too dire, Zain runs away…

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SGT. Will Gardner

It’s been quite some time since I’ve seen someone tell a story as passionately as Max Martini does in SGT. Will Gardner.  His activism against the mistreatment of war veterans rings sincerely through the writing and direction of his first solo effort as a filmmaker, and he wears his heart on his sleeve as the title character.  The film itself is imperfect, but my admiration towards Martini helped me be forgiving.

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The Thinning: New World Order

YouTube has attempted to revive interest in YA franchises with their original film series The Thinning.  In The Thinning: New World Order, the first sequel in the series, the plot thickens as a country-wide intelligence test is further examined in a futuristic dystopia.  The annual quiz, which is supposed to be moderating America’s steep population by eliminating the lowest-scoring students, is revealed to have a bias that’s connected to the country’s presidential election.

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Slapped: The Movie

I didn’t know why this movie was titled Slapped: The Movie, until I looked up the YouTube web series the stars created.  Before, I thought there was a Slapped: The Television Series or a Slapped: The Album that the filmmakers didn’t want to be associated with.  But, I still don’t understand why Slapped: The Movie is two hours long when this half baked, body-switching, gross-out comedy has barely enough juice to fuel a 22-minute sitcom.