By Tony Beal


“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”
The Guardians must face their greatest enemy yet to save one of their own.

James Gunn is a constant reminder of the creative possibilities inherent in the comic book film genre. Despite certain shortcomings, the third installment of his Guardians saga is among his most compelling work to date. Gunn escalates the level of intense action and mature content in a way that complements the overall narrative and tone, while still harmonizing with the previous films. It’s the empathetic core of the story that keeps us invested, as the cast subtly conveys their characters’ growth through nuanced changes in their movements and vocal inflections. Importantly, the film remains clear about its identity and effectively concludes the overarching themes of the trilogy. It’s a truly remarkable piece.
“Evil Dead Rise”
A small family is trapped in their apartment building when a demonic force is unleashed with the ability to possess.

While the “Evil Dead” series may not be a regular topic of conversation among the general public, its deep roots in the horror genre and accessibility for newcomers make it truly special. “Rise” continues this legacy, embracing the more serious tone of the original film and the 2013 iteration, while maintaining the distinctive excess of content and action that sets the series apart. This is a hard-hitting piece that conveys the pain and terror of its characters in a way that will make you cringe. Alyssa Sutherland and Lily Sullivan deliver stunning performances as sisters, with Sutherland’s compelling portrayal of a possessed character and Sullivan’s heroic essence reminiscent of Ash and Mia, while also bringing motherhood themes into focus. The film keeps you on the edge of your seat, holding nothing back, which is a major plus. It stands as a worthy addition to one of the greatest horror series of all time.
A detective uncovers a supernatural element in the search for his daughter.

“Hypnotic” is a film that, despite having ample talent both on-screen and behind the scenes, struggles to achieve its ultimate, yet confused, objective. Director Robert Rodriguez, known for infusing style and charisma into his low-budget projects, seems to fall short here, with the film’s low-cost aesthetic lacking the charm of his previous works. The cast, including usually impressive actors like Ben Affleck and Alice Braga, appear disengaged or unenthusiastic about the story, though William Fitchner gives a notably over-the-top performance. The film aims for complexity in its structure but ends up being more incoherent and confusing, and its attempts to draw parallels with filmmaking feel underdeveloped. There’s a glimmer of an intriguing concept in the third act, but it’s undermined by a hurried conclusion. Overall, it’s an unfortunate squandering of potential and talent.
“Fast X”
Dom and his family’s past actions come back to haunt them, with a new foe hellbent on revenge.

By now, fans know what to expect from the “Fast & Furious” franchise, and “Fast X” delivers the anticipated thrills, albeit in a somewhat overstuffed package. The consistently strong performers (Diesel, Rodriguez, Kang) maintain their high standards, while others (Ludacris, Gibson) have yet to master their craft, even after two decades. The film’s abrupt shifts between narratives, some of which appear only briefly before a lengthy absence, may disrupt its flow. Nevertheless, the film’s charisma and action sequences help propel it forward. In terms of the latter, Louis Leterrier masterfully orchestrates some of the series’ most audacious stunts, managing to balance fight scenes, varied vehicle chases, and shootouts to prevent repetition during the film’s extensive run time of nearly two and a half hours. The editing truly shines in these moments, producing a solid action film that should satisfy both hardcore fans and casual viewers, even though the ending may leave some yearning for more.

June 2
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”
“The Boogeyman”

June 9
“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts”

June 16
“The Flash”
“The Blackening”
“Asteroid City” (Limited)
“Extraction 2” (Netflix)

June 23
“No Hard Feelings”

June 28
“Run Rabbit Run” (Netflix)

June 30
“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”
“Ruby Gilman, Teenage Kraken”

July 7
“Joy Ride”
“Insidious: The Red Door”

July 12
“Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning – Part One”

July 14
“Theater Camp”

July 21
“Stephen Curry: Underrated” (Apple TV+)
“They Cloned Tyrone” (Netflix)

July 28
“Haunted Mansion”
“Talk To Me” (Limited)