Reviewed by A.D. Beal

Incredibles 2
Immediately following the events of the first film, a wealthy businessman asks Elastigirl to help him on a project that could make superheroes legal again.

Brad Bird’s follow-up to his 2004 hit is probably the best sequel Pixar has made since Toy Story 3. What’s great is that it avoids what could have been so many obvious points and twists, and instead lets the characters make smart decisions. It rarely forces them to have dumb, out-of-character moments just to advance the plot. It also doesn’t talk down to the children viewers by spelling everything out, which leaves us with a film that both old and young can enjoy. As per usual with Pixar, it also features memorable and likable characters as well as beautiful animation. The themes have been seen before in previous Brad Bird films (Ratatouille, Tomorrowland, etc) but for this day and age we are experiencing, it is a good, hopeful message.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado
Alejandro Gillick is asked yet again for assistance by FBI Agent Matt Graver to get approval on a war against drug cartels, but the kidnapping of a young girl causes tension between the two as the plan goes wrong.

Compared to the first Sicario, Day of the Soldado feels like it belongs in a different film series, as it has more of an action thriller feel, as opposed to the crime drama feel of its predecessor. In doing that, the new film loses a lot of what made the first one interesting, such as the blurred morals. The film is fine on its own, as the action scenes are shot and edited fluently, and Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin are once again great in their roles. But turning the former into the hero does not line up with the ruthless assassin shown before, and it contributes to the generic feeling of the film. It’s a brutal film with some interesting ideas but sadly doesn’t really go anywhere with them.

The First Purge
After achieving power in the United States, the NFAA sets up an experiment in Staten Island that the population refers to as “The Purge”.

To director Gerard McMurray’s credit, he brings a style to The First Purge that does make it stand out from the previous films, with a more synth-based score and darker (both literally and figuratively) look to the film. Lex Scott Davis and Y’Lan Noel are the new leads in the film, and they both do a good job with their characters, as they are not superheroes but can still be tough yet likable. Throughout the film as a whole, there are some strange editing choices (including a fade to black in the middle of a fight scene) and an overuse of hip-hop music that sucks away a lot of the tension. The script (written by series creator James DeMonaco) also falls into many horror film traps and clichés. As for the storylines politics, I appreciate how they continue to be open with their messages. Strangely and unfortunately however, I don’t think they went all the way with some aspects, such as the military sending in troops to contribute more killings. There is a lot that could be done with the commentary, but it feels like a step back from the previous film.

Sorry to Bother You
A man in Oakland sees his life change in strange ways after getting work as a telemarketer.

There’s no easy way to describe the greatness that is Sorry to Bother You, you just need to experience it for yourself. But if I must, here we have a film with a cast of so many talented actors (Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson and Armie Hammer to name a few) offering different POV’s for their characters in their fantastic performances. You have humor that can be both subtle and blatant in its messages, and it always works. There is also loads of insane imagery that will leave you terrified or laughing. That should be enough to convince you to see it, right?