HYPNOTIC (2023) – My rating: 6.7/10

Hypnotic poster.jpg

Hypnotic is a science fiction action thriller directed by Robert Rodriguez, who co-wrote the screenplay with Max Borenstein. Rodriguez also produced, co-shot, and edited the film, while his sons Rebel and Racer Max served as composer and producer, respectively. Hypnotic was theatrically released in the United States by Ketchup Entertainment. The trailers for Hypnotic sold me on the film, as I am a big science fiction fan. I liked the movie but it felt a lot like the 2010 film, “Inception” only with a different twist. See my comments at the end of this review.

Hypnotic opens with Danny Rourke (Ben Affleck), an Austin Police Department detective, in session with his therapist (Nikki Dixon). He talks about the abduction of his seven-year-old daughter, Minnie that led to the dissolution of his marriage. Danny is looking for a sign-off so he can return to active duty. Danny’s partner Nicks (J. D. Pardo) informs him they have received an anonymous tip that a safe deposit box at a nearby bank will be robbed. At the stakeout, they witness a mysterious man give unheard instructions to civilians, bank employees, and fellow police, who seemingly follow his commands as he enters the bank. Rourke races him to the targeted safe deposit box, finding a picture of his daughter Minnie with a message written across it. Rourke pursues the man to a rooftop and witnesses him command two police officers to shoot each other before he escapes by jumping off the rooftop. However, there was no evidence of a body found below.

This was a pretty intriguing opening to a profound idea that certainly will keep you guessing. The mysterious man Dellrayne (William Fichtner) will appear throughout the film leading to more suspense and intrigue. It’s obvious by now that Rourke’s daughter has been kidnaped and the drama has caused his marriage to dissolve. Rourke is still trying to find Minnie as more and more bazaar events are taking place. Forensics leads Rourke to a fortuneteller Diana Cruz (Alice Braga) who compounds the events of this story even more. The audience will soon learn that all of this has to do with a secretive government “Division” to control people’s minds. Is this true or is Rourke being set up? At this point, the plot sounds a whole lot like the 2010 movie “Inception”. The acting was very convincing as was the story. While I waited for an exploding end to this film, I got a plot twist that was not a wow! For those seeing this kind of story for the first time, this might seem the “be all” but for those who are avid moviegoers like myself, you might say “been there”.  I think Hypnotics is worth the watch and is also a decent story but is rather violent. To find out how good it is or isn’t you’ll have to see it in theaters — Check It Out!

Released alongside Book Club: The Next Chapter, Hypnotic made $940,000 from 2,118 theaters on its first day. It went on to debut at $2.4 million.
Note: It was the worst opening weekend of both Rodriguez and Affleck’s careers, and was blamed in part on the very little marketing done by the studio.

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 37% of 76 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 4.7/10. The website’s consensus reads: “Although Hypnotic isn’t without glimmers of inspiration, the ultimate effect of this often clunky crime caper will be to leave you feeling rather sleepy.”

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 3 (2023) – My rating: 9/10

The titular Guardians of the Galaxy stand on the wing of an intergalactic spaceship in front of a purple-hazed sunset.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s produced by Marvel Studios, and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, and is the final installment in the Guardians of the Galaxy film trilogy, the sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017). It is the 32nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and is written and directed by James Gunn. In the film, the Guardians embark on a mission to protect one of their own from the villain, High Evolutionary (Iwuji). I was anxious to see this final version of the Guardian trilogy, which in my opinion was the absolute best of the series. I loved it!

At their new headquarters on Knowhere, the Guardians of the Galaxy are attacked by Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), a Sovereign warrior created by their high priestess Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki). Adam easily overpowers them, and for all intents and purposes, fatally wounds Rocket (Bradley Cooper). Nebula (Karen Gillan) manages to stab Adam, which forces him to flee. The Guardians attempt to revise their team member and friend but are unable to heal Rocket’s wounds. Due to a kill switch, made by the company Orgocorp, embedded in Rocket, the Guardians must find the key that will turn the switch off. They travel to Orgocorp’s headquarters to find the key and override code. In the meanwhile Rocket lies unconscious but is able to recall his past as a baby raccoon.

These events set the primmest for the remainder of the story. The special effects were outstanding and the back story of Rocket was heartfelt and very emotional. This film showed the closeness of the Guardian team and their determination to always be there for each other. The High Evolutionary was a complex man with child-like ideas and was quite the manipulator. Gamora (Zoe Saldana), due to her loss of memory in Vol.2 continues to be an issue that has to be addressed. Her very existence causes the audience to root for the reuniting of Peter and Gamora’s romance. The appearance of Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone) was a welcome site, while Groot (Vin Diesel) performed better than ever. The acting was excellent and believable, as was the story.  You’ll have to see Vol. 3 to find out how it all ends or even if it ends.  I really enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3, it was very exciting and is currently playing in theaters, don’t forget to watch beyond the credits for more — Check It Out!

As of May 10, 2023, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has grossed $145.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $220.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $365.6 million.

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 82% based on 319 reviews with an average rating of 7.2/10. The site’s critic’s consensus reads: “A galactic group hug that might squeeze a little too tight on the heartstrings, the final Guardians of the Galaxy is a loving last hurrah for the MCU’s most ragtag family.”

Who’s Who:
Chris Pratt as Peter Quill / Star-Lord:
The half-human, half-Celestial leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy who was abducted from Earth as a child and raised by a group of alien thieves and smugglers called the Ravagers.

Zoe Saldana as Gamora:
An orphan who seeks redemption for her past crimes, and was adopted and trained by Thanos to be his personal assassin. The original version of Gamora, a member of the Guardians, was killed by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and an alternate version of the character traveled to the present in Avengers: Endgame (2019); Saldaña reprises the latter role in this film, now serving as a leader of the Ravagers.

Dave Bautista as Drax:
A member of the Guardians and a highly skilled warrior whose family was slaughtered by Ronan the Accuser, under the instructions of Thanos.

Karen Gillan as Nebula:
A member of the Guardians, a former Avenger, and Gamora’s adoptive sister who, similarly to her, was trained by their adoptive father Thanos to be his personal assassin. Gillan believed Nebula was developing into a “slightly different person” with more levity as she starts to heal psychologically following the death of Thanos, who was the source of her abuse and torment.

Pom Klementieff as Mantis:
A member of the Guardians with empathic powers, and Quill’s half-sister.

Vin Diesel as Groot:
A member of the Guardians who is a tree-like humanoid and the accomplice of Rocket.

Bradley Cooper as Rocket:
A member of the Guardians and a former Avenger who is a genetically engineered raccoon-based bounty hunter and a master of weapons and military tactics.

Will Poulter as Adam Warlock:
A powerful artificial being created by the Sovereign to destroy the Guardians. Given Warlock is newly born from the Sovereign’s cocoon, he is “basically a baby” that “does not understand life very well”. Poulter believed there was “a lot of comedy” in someone just entering the world for the first time and “trying to develop his moral compass”, while also having “some genuine pathos”.

Sean Gunn as Kraglin:
A member of the Guardians and Yondu Udonta’s former second-in-command in the Ravagers.

Chukwudi Iwuji as the High Evolutionary:
A scientist specializing in creating hybrid creatures and Rocket’s creator, seeking to forcibly enhance all living beings into a “special race”. Iwuji described the character as “narcissistic, sociopathic, but very charming”, adding that there was “something very Shakespearean about him, there’s something very emotionally dark about him, and he’s a lot of fun on top of all that”.

Linda Cardellini as Lylla:
An anthropomorphic otter who is an associate and love interest of Rocket. Cardellini provided both the voice and motion capture for Lylla, having previously played Laura Barton in previous MCU media.

Nathan Fillion as Master Karja:
An orgosentry at Orgocorp.

Sylvester Stallone as Stakar Ogord:
A high-ranking Ravager.                      

Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha:
The golden High Priestess and the leader of the Sovereign people who had Adam Warlock created to destroy the Guardians

Gunn said in April 2017 that a fourth Guardians film could happen, though it would likely center on a new group of characters since Gunn planned to conclude the story of the team of the previous films in Vol. 3.

                                                *** SPOILER ***
In a mid-credits scene, the new Guardians, consisting of Rocket, Groot, Cosmo, Kraglin, Adam, Phyla (one of the rescued children), and Adam’s pet Blurp, take on a new mission. In a post-credits scene, Quill eats breakfast with Jason.


POLITE SOCIETY (2023) – My rating: 7.5/10


Polite Society is an action comedy-drama written and directed by Nida Manzoor (in her feature film directorial debut). A young girl believes she must save her older sister from her impending marriage.

While this sounds like it might be a pretty ordinary story, it’s everything but.  Polite Society has lavished us with a much stranger than ordinary plot. Despite its weirdness, I found the movie entertaining as well as creative.

In London, British-Pakistani teenager Ria Khan (Priya Kansara) aspires to become a movie stuntwoman like her idol, Eunice Huthart (voice: Eunice Huthart). Using an alter-ego, “The Fury”, Ria creates films of martial arts training with the help of her older sister Lena Khan (Ritu Arya), who has dropped out of art school and moved back in with their loving but traditional parents, Fatima (Shobu Kapoor) and Rafe (Jeff Mirza), both of them dismissing Ria’s dreams as a fad.

At school, Ria is inseparable from her friends Clara (Seraphina Beh) and Alba (Ella Bruccoleri), their teacher who is in agreeance with Ria’s parents, continually urges her to pursue a more “serious” career. To no avail, all of Ria’s emails to Eunice regarding a potential mentorship continue to go unanswered. In addition, Ria is shown up by the school bully Kovacs (Shona Babayemi). The Khan family is invited to an Eid Mubarak soirée by Raheela (Nimra Bucha), the leader of Fatima’s social circle of Pakistani mothers, at her lavish mansion. Ria realizes the party has been arranged to find a suitable match for Raheela’s son Salim (Akasha Khanna), a successful geneticist, but is unable to stop Lena from agreeing to a date. To Ria’s horror, Lena is charmed by Salim and, after a few whirlwind weeks of dating, agrees to marry him and move to Singapore.

From this point, the real weirdness of this story begins. You’re in for some funny scenes and clever dialogue. If you thought you were settling in for a traditional Bollywood-type film, think again. Unlike any East Indian plots I’ve seen, this one is very different.  Kudos to the director, Nida Manzoor, for pulling together such a refreshing movie that is not the “same old, same old, different day” syndrome. Ultimately, the comradery of family and friends comes together to save the day. I think this film is fun for all over 16 because of the language and subject matter.  Polite Society is currently playing in theaters — Check It Out!

Polite Society was released in the United Kingdom and the United States on  April 28, 2023, and has grossed worldwide $2,198,163.

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 91% based on 119 reviews, with an average rating of 7.1/10. The website’s critics’ consensus reads: “Polite Society throws, kicks, and punches the genre etiquette book out the window to deliver a fun film that blends Bollywood splendor and British wryness.”


GUY RITCHIE’S THE COVENANT (2023) – My rating: 8.8/10


Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant (or simply The Covenant) is an action thriller that was co-written by Guy Ritchie, Ivan Atkinson, and Marn Davies. The film was also produced and directed by Guy Ritchie. The film was released in the United States by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and internationally by Amazon Prime Video. Its plot follows a former U.S. Army special operations sergeant and Afghanistan War veteran, John Kinley, who returns to the country to rescue the interpreter who once saved his life from the Taliban. I was fairly sure this was going to be a good movie based on the trailers.  It was an excellent movie in which Guy Richie did an outstanding job.

In March 2018, during the War in Afghanistan, U.S. Army special operations Sergeant John Kinley (Jake Gyllenhaal) recruits an Afghan named Ahmed (Dar Salim) to interpret with the locals on a mission. Ahmed tells Kinley he needs the money, but in fact, is on a mission as he blames the Taliban for killing his son. At first, Kinley is wary of Ahmed and keeps him on a short leash, but soon realizes that Ahmed is providing reliable information and is able to do much more than a translator. He seems to read through lies being told by the locals he interrogates. Because of his advanced wisdom regarding the operations of the Taliban, Ahmed saved several US soldiers’ lives.  Despite a mostly successful plan to infiltrate where terrorists were stashing explosives and weapons, Sgt. Kinley and Ahmed become the sole hostages of an ambush but were able to flee.  Although Sergeant Kinley was severely shot, Ahmed carried him through the desert mountains for several months to safety.  Ahmed was not able to get out of the territory and was trapped with his wife and newborn baby.

Just when you might think the story has ended, Sgt. Kinley who was tortured by his nightmares decided to return on a reconnaissance mission. This may have been the best performance of Jake Gyllenhaal’s career. The movie was intense, emotional, and brilliantly acted.  There was no part of me that didn’t believe what was happening.  I actually thought this was based on a true story. While similar situations often occurred in Afghanistan, this movie didn’t reflect a specific sergeant or interpreter. Watching the entire story unfold, will disclose the genius of this movie.  I highly recommend Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant to anyone aged 17 and above. The Covenant is currently playing in theaters — Check It Out!

As of 4/28/2023, Guy Richie’s The Covenant grossed $13,664,180 million, in the United States and Canada.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 83% of 88 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The website’s consensus reads: “A satisfying, well-acted war thriller with surprising dramatic depths, Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant tells a solid story with impressive restraint.”

CHEVALIER (2023) – My rating: 8.5/10

Chevalier poster.jpegChevalier is a biographical drama based on the life of the titular French-Caribbean musician Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. Chevalier is directed by Stephen Williams and written by Stefani Robinson. When I saw the trailer, I was so intrigued by what I saw that I couldn’t wait to see Chevalier stick it to the uptight, racist establishment. I wasn’t disappointed. In my opinion, they did a good job as they stuck pretty much to the true life story.

The movie depicts the rise and resurgence of Joseph Bologne/Chevalier de Saint-Georges (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), a French-Caribbean violinist, and composer who rose to fame through his musical prodigy, fencing, dancing, and horseback riding.  He was honored with the title of “gendarme de la garde” by King Louis XVI, for fencing. Joseph Bologne was the illegitimate son of an African slave Nanon (Ronke Adekoluejo) and a wealthy French plantation owner George Bologne (Jim High). His complicated love life and the racism of the Ancien Régime lead to a parting of ways with Queen Marie Antoinette (Lucy Boynton), who was a close friend. Joseph finally comes to the realization that his life must change.

I think Chevalier was well-written and brilliantly directed. The beginning was a little slow yet interesting. Most of the film showed Joseph Bologne as being cocky with a smirk always on his face. I think he could be labeled as a genius, as well as a prodigy. I appreciated the writer cutting the story when Joseph realized he was out of options instead of burdening the audience with a sad ending. Many women pursued Chevalier and all recognized his many talents that were superior to most. His refusal to sleep with Marie-Madeleine Guimard (Minnie Driver) played a part in Chevalier’s downfall as well as his affair with Marie-Josephine de Montalembert (Samara Weaving).  I found Chevalier to be informative, mostly accurate, and entertaining. The nasty business of racism will get your emotions broiling but you will learn a thing or two. Chevalier is currently playing in theaters — Check It Out!

In the United States and Canada, Chevalier was projected to gross $1–3 million from 1,275 theaters in its opening weekend. To date, Chevalier has grossed $2,322,053 domestically and worldwide.
On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 82% based on 106 reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Supported by Kelvin Harrison Jr.’s outstanding work in the title role, Chevalier offers an entertaining gateway into the incredible life of a brilliant artist.”

RENFIELD (2023) – My rating: 7/10

Two vampires stand in the middle of the poster, one above the other. The one above, Dracula, bears his teeth and grabs onto the shoulders of the other vampire, Renfield, who concerningly looks up.
Renfield is a comedy horror film directed and produced by Chris McKay, and written by Ryan Ridley from a story by Robert Kirkman, who also served as producer. Inspired by characters from the 1897 novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.
Legendary Renfield is Dracular’s helper, in the monster universe, who wants his freedom. This makes for a funny movie that I couldn’t wait to see. I thought it hit the spot in some scenes but was basically a smile till the end. Not bad but not great.

In the early 20th century, Transylvanian vampire Count Dracula (Nicholas Cage) meets English lawyer R. M. Renfield (Nicholas Hoult). Renfield hopes to broker a deal for some land and after proving to be a useful assistant, he ends up becoming Dracula’s familiar, allowing him to be immortal and gaining super strength and speed when he consumes bugs. Ninety years later, Renfield has grown weary and exhausted of bringing victims to Dracula as well as his abuse. They recently had a close call with some vampire hunters who almost killed the count, so the duo moves to New Orleans to recuperate and heal.

Renfield encounters a female police Officer Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina) who impresses him during a botched drug deal that went awry, due to the corruption of the police force. She stood up to the Lobo Crime Family without hesitation. The film moves into the characters of Renfield and Officer Quincy while using a 12-step program to distribute tips on how to gain self-esteem and detach yourself from your co-dependent relationship. There were many funny scenes and many that were meant to be funny scenes. I thought Renfield had the potential to be hilarious but somewhat missed the mark.  The acting was brilliant but the special effects were over the top. I felt Nicolas Cage gave one of the best performances of his career. Cage and Awkwafina made the story worth the watch. Overall, I liked Renfield but was a little disappointed about the outcome, Also it’s worth mentioning that this film was extremely gory and bloody. Renfield is playing in theaters — Check It Out!

As of April 23, 2023, Renfield has grossed $13.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $4.3 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $17.9 million. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 57% of 240 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The website’s consensus reads: “Although it fails to take full advantage of its committed stars and killer premise, Renfield’s batty horror-comedy blend sinks in just enough to leave an impression.”


AIR (2023) – My rating: 8.7/10


Air is a biographical sports drama directed by Ben Affleck and written by Alex Convery. The film is based on true events about the origin of Air Jordan, a specialized Nike basketball shoe line.
  Basically, an employee contemplates, against all odds, striking a business deal with rookie player Michael Jordan. From the moment I saw the coming attractions for Air, I knew I had to see the movie. I’m happy to report, Air did not disappoint. Well done!

In 1984, Oregon-based Nike, Inc. was on the verge of discontinuing its basketball shoe division due to low sales and giants like Adidas and Converse who dominated the basketball shoe line. As a last-ditch effort, Marketing VP Rob Strasser (Jason Bateman), along with co-founder and CEO Phil Knight (Ben Affleck), tasked Nike’s basketball talent scout Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon) to come up with a new spokesperson for Nike basketball shoes.

While considering the basketball players chosen in the 1984 NBA draft, Nike’s executives didn’t consider third pick Michael Jordan because they knew Jordan was a fan of Adidas and he was too expensive for Nike’s basketball division’s meager budget. While reviewing Jordan’s highlights in conjunction with an Arthur Ashe commercial for his Head rackets, Vaccaro becomes convinced that Nike should pursue who he considers a generational talent, with both brand and athlete building off each other. Following dinner with his friend George Raveling (Marlon Wayans), who coached Jordan in the Olympic tournament, and asking for his support in courting the star, Vaccaro travels to Wilmington, North Carolina, where he convinces Michael’s mother Deloris (Viola Davis) that Nike would give Jordan all the attention that he would not get from his preferred brands Adidas and Converse.

And so the journey begins with Vaccaro carrying out every trick in and out of the book to pursue Michael Jordan and develop an outstanding basketball shoe that would look and outperform any basketball shoe in existence. The dialogue was very clever with Vaccaro making a couple of speeches for the books. The bottom line meant several heads would roll and jobs could possibly be in jeopardy if he failed to sign Jordan.  Air has a stellar cast with convincing performances. For those who are not big fans of the sport, the basketball games were just highlights from the past. We didn’t get to actually see Michael Jordan, as he was not in the film but we did get to learn how productive the line of one basketball shoe is, in terms of revenue. Michael Jordan earns $400M a year on the basketball shoe alone and is worth 2 billion 200 million US dollars, that’s $2,200,000,000. Air is an enjoyable, story based on true events and is currently in theaters but soon to stream on Prime Video. Check It Out!

As of April 20, 2023, Air has grossed $36.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $21 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $57.3 million. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 91% of 279 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.7/10. The website’s consensus reads: “A fact-based drama that no one will dunk on, Air aims to dramatize events that changed the sports world forever — and hits almost nothing but net.”

BTW:  Although Michael Jordan is not in the movie, he did meet with Ben Affleck and offered several suggestions, including the casting of Viola Davis as his mother. Julius Tennon, Viola’s husband played Michael Jordan’s father in Air.

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: Honor Among Thieves (2023) My rating: 9.5/10

A circle of seven people looking downDungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a comedy, fantasy heist film directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, who co-wrote the screenplay with Michael Gilio from a story by Chris McKay and Gilio. It is based on the tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons and is set in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting which has no connections to the film trilogy released between 2000 and 2012. I heard a lot about the game Dungeons & Dragons but never played it. When Honor Among Thieves was made into a movie, I was anxious to see it. In my opinion, Dungeons & Dragons is one of the best fantasy films I’ve seen lately. Kudos to the writing team and director for a job well done.

Prior to imprisonment, bard Edgin Darvis (Chris Pine) served as a member of the Harpers, an order of peacekeepers, until disciples of a Red Wizard he had arrested killed his wife. Accompanied by barbarian Holga Kilgore (Michelle Rodriguez), Edgin attempted to make a new life for himself and his daughter Kira Darvis (Chloe Coleman) by turning to thievery, teaming with amateur sorcerer Simon Aumar (Justice Smith), rogue Forge Fitzwilliam (Hugh Grant), and Forge’s mysterious acquaintance, Sofina (Daisy Head). While raiding a Harper stronghold, Edgin attempted to steal a “Tablet of Reawakening” that would enable him to resurrect his wife, but he and Holga are captured while their accomplices escaped.

After two years in Revel’s End arctic prison, Edgin and Holga escaped to Neverwinter only to learn Forge had become a Lord, after its prior Lord fell mysteriously incapacitated. At Edgin’s request, Forge had been taking care of Kira, however, he betrayed Edgin by convincing Kira that her father’s selfish greed led to his arrest. Sofina is revealed as a powerful Red Wizard who attempts to execute Edgin and Holga, but they escape and devise a new plan to bring Kira home, prove Forge as a liar, and steal the “Tablet of Reawakening” to resurrect Edgin’s wife. Edgin and Holga bring onto their team Doric (Sophia Lillis), a tiefling druid who can Shapeshift, and former team member Simon Aumar (Justice Smith), a half-elf wild magic sorcerer.

At this point, the journey begins. This action-packed adventure takes form showing the audience once again, that the magic of the green screen has no limits. Special effects in the hands of skilled masters can shape a film into pure genius. “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” turned out to be exciting, humorous, and magical. This is a movie the whole family can enjoy. By Edgin and Holga learning the errs of their ways, valuable messages are sent to an impressionable audience. Chris and Michelle appear to share an on-screen chemistry that makes their best friends forever relationship seem believable, although I can see another level brewing on the horizon.  I loved that the director left no stone unturned. Keep watching after the credits for an additional fun scene. I recommend Dungeons & Dragon, which is playing in theaters. Check It Out!

As of April 16, 2023, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves has grossed $74.1 million in the United States and Canada, and $83 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $157.1 million. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 91% of 276 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.3/10. The website’s consensus reads: “An infectiously good-spirited comedy with a solid emotional core, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves offers fun fantasy and adventure even if you don’t know your HP from your OP.”


(Chris Pine) – Edgin Darvis, a bard and former member of the Harpers.
(Michelle Rodriguez) – Holga Kilgore, a barbarian who was exiled from the Uthgardt Elk Tribe.
(Regé-Jean Page) – Xenk Yendar, a paladin who ages more slowly than a normal human.
(Rylan Jackson) – young Xenk.
(Justice Smith) – Simon Aumar, a half-elf wild magic sorcerer who is the descendant of Elminster Aumar, a notable wizard.
(Sophia Lillis) – Doric, a tiefling druid raised in the Neverwinter Wood by a wood elf enclave. 
(Hugh Grant) – Forge Fitzwilliam, an ambitious rogue and con artist and a former member of Edgin’s crew.
(Chloe Coleman) – Kira Darvis, Edgin’s 14-year-old daughter.
(Daisy Head) – Sofina, a Red Wizard of Thay with a focus on necromancy and “ties to Thay’s tyrannical magocracy”.
(Jason Wong) – Dralas, a Red Wizard of Thay.
(Bradley Cooper) – Marlamin, Holga’s halfling ex-husband.
(Ian Hanmore) – lich Szass Tam, the main character from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon.


JOHN WICK: Chapter 4 (2023) – My rating: 8/10

A closeup of John Wick, wearing a hourglass as a "tie", with bullets flowing into the lower bulb inside the hourglass.
John Wick: Chapter 4 (stylized as JW4) is a neo-noir action thriller directed by Chad Stahelski and written by Shay Hatten and Michael Finch. The sequel to John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019) and the fourth installment in the John Wick franchise.
In Chapter 4, John Wick sets out to get revenge on those who left him for dead to find a way out of the High Table with their blessing.  In a word, John Wick: Chapter 4 is “VIOLENT” with lots of thrill and action but…
In New York City, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) prepares to exact revenge against the High Table while hiding underground with the Bowery King  (Laurence Fishburne). He travels to Morocco and kills the Elder (George Georgiou), the “one who sits above the Table”. In response, the Marquis Vincent de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård), a senior member of the High Table, summons NY Continental hotel manager Winston Scott (Ian McShane) and his concierge, Charon (Lance Reddick)
in one of his last roles
.The Wire' Star Lance Reddick Dead at 60

De Gramont explains to Winston that the High Table has given him unlimited resources to find and kill John Wick. He chastises Winston for his failure to assassinate John.  As punishment, De Gramont strips Winston of his duties as manager then declares him “excommunicado”, destroys the Continental, and executes Charon. De Gramont then travels to Paris and enlists Caine (Donnie Yen), a blind, retired High Table assassin to kill his old friend, John, threatening to murder Caine’s daughter as an incentive.

To the best of my knowledge, John Wick: Chapter 4 is the most violent movie I’ve ever seen.  Previously, “The Northman” held that position but after seeing JW4, “The Northman” has to move aside. I felt so drained watching John Wick defend himself while killing so many men who were fighting to defeat one assassin. The killing scenes just wouldn’t end. Each scene said goodbye to hundreds of fighters. I really can’t talk about the plot too much because it was like a domino theory where one thing leads to another. John Wick went from the start line into the abyss of murder and mayhem. I am not singing all praises for this movie because I think a lot of it was way over the top. No human being could be shot, stabbed, beaten/punched, thrown down hundreds of flights of stairs, as well as thrown over a high balcony and survive.  Really? Are we to believe he has that much stamina? I found myself saying “oh-please” and “really” every time John Wick got up and continued the fight. While the movie was very exciting, the excitement got to be a bit much, preventing the audience from enjoying the fruits of John’s labor. The ending was a surprise and made me wonder about the future. I heard John Wick: Chapter 5 has already been greenlit.

As of March 27, 2023, John Wick: Chapter 4 has grossed $79.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $66.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $146 million. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 94% of 283 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The website’s consensus reads, “John Wick: Chapter 4 piles on more of everything—and suggests that when it comes to a well-dressed Keanu Reeves dispatching his enemies in lethally balletic style, there can never be too much.” John Wick is currently playing in theaters — Check It Out!


CHAMPIONS (2023) – My rating 8.5/10

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Champions is a sports comedy directed by Bobby Farrelly in his solo directorial debut, from a screenplay written by Mark Rizzo. It is an English-language remake of the 2018 Spanish film ‘Campeones’. The film follows a temperamental minor-league basketball coach who after an arrest was sentenced by the court to coach a team of players with intellectual disabilities, as community service. I was not that motivated to see Champions but saw it anyway. My rating said it all — what a great story, great acting, and great actors. I obviously really liked the movie.

Marcus Marokovich (Woody Harrelson), a hot-tempered but skilled assistant coach with a minor league basketball team in Iowa, lets his temper get the best of him during a game and shoves the head coach, Phil Perretti (Ernie Hudson), causing him to fall on his butt. After being kicked out of the stadium, Marcus gets drunk at a local bar. While driving home drunk, he hits a police car and ends up in jail. The next day he is bailed out by Phil, who also happens to be Marcus’s long-time friend. The two coaches get into an argument that ends with Phil telling Marcus that he’s been let go by the owners.

Never fully committing to anything, Marcus finds himself in a situation where he must use more than his professional basketball skills. First off, the cast of The Friends was amazing.  These special needs children didn’t appear like a child with special needs, whatever that means.  All were extremely high functioning as well as talented, smart, good actors, and very funny.  In an interview, Woody said The Friends kept him laughing all through the filming of Champions.  Each had their own story, which was well told. This movie offers many lessons to be learned and myths to be dispelled. It’s too bad Champions flew way under the radar because I think it should be seen by the masses. Kudos to Bobby Farrelly for his solo directorial debut, well done! There are a lot of stories told in Champions that didn’t leave you bored or disinterested.  There’s everything from Shakespeare to sex, to great basketball games.  I was excited during the entire movie.

As of March 22, 2023, Champions has grossed $11.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $1.5 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $13.3 million.  On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 58% of 110 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The website’s consensus reads, “Although its apparent attempts to be uplifting can often come across as patronizing, Champions is an amiable enough comedy with some seriously talented stars.”  Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “A” on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an overall 83% positive score, with 66% saying they would definitely recommend it. I also highly recommend Champions, which is currently showing in theaters — Check It Out!