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Quickie Review: Murder Mystery

The Netflix original movie Murder Mystery is lame, riddled with clichés, superficial and mildly amusing. And it knows it. Now you know it too and can plan accordingly. Watch with a grain of salt – sprinkled on popcorn – on a hot and humid summer evening that commands mindless indoor entertainment at home, with the A/C on full blast. The title is your first clue to just how seriously this movie takes itself. Murder Mystery is about… da-da-dum… a murder mystery.

Review: MA

My oh Ma! What a departure for Octavia Spencer, playing a lonely, twisted woman in a teen horror flick. The Oscar-winning actress (The Help, Hidden Figures) commands the screen – and the scream – as Sue Ann, a veterinary assistant in a quiet Ohio town who befriends a group of teenagers on a beer run. She agrees to buy the kids alcohol and invites them to hang out in her large secluded basement so they can have a safe place to party. What could possibly go wrong?

Review: Professor Marston & The Wonder Women

All I knew going into Professor Marston & The Wonder Women was that it was an R-rated drama about the American psychologist who created the Wonder Woman comic book character. It is that – and a whole lot more. Two things are guaranteed: if you see this film, you’ll never look at Wonder Woman quite the same way ever again; and, two, this film is definitely not for kids. Think of it as Fifty Shades meets the TV series Big Love with a bit of Sister Wives thrown into the mix… in the 1930s and ‘40s. The result is a ménage à trois situation that is surprisingly engaging and discussion-provoking and totally off the charts.

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast represented near-perfection for an animated musical when it competed for Best Picture honors in 1991. So it’s hard to imagine that any reimagining of the “tale as old as time” could possibly hold a candle – or a lumiere – to that instant classic. But Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast does what it set out to do, and that’s bring a strong cast, a contemporary vibe, and a few new songs to audiences old and new. And while it’s not perfect, it is quite enchanting.

The Girl on the Train

Forgive me if I call this one Gone Girl on the Train. But comparisons will be made, and understandably so, between The Girl on the Train and 2014’s Gone Girl. Both are crime drama thrillers based on popular novels by Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn respectively. Both feature strong performances. And both do a decent job remaining faithful to the source material. So if you liked the book(s) and the genre, then rest assured there’s plenty to like about The Girl on The Train (though honestly, if I had to choose, I’d give Gone Girl the edge).

Dracula Untold

Another Dracula movie you ask? Haven’t we had enough vampire movies yet? Well, maybe not. Dracula Untold gives the traditionally evil bloodsucker his back story and makes him a more sympathetic creature than any of the other iterations. Yes, he’s still in Transylvania and he’s been known to impale a lot of folks, but it’s not that he’s inherently blood thirsty. He has a really good reason for acting the way he does and Dracula Untold gives you a ringside seat to this good guy gone bad story. This Dracula is no Edward or Jacob or even Tom Cruise Lestat. He’s a Game of Thrones hunk of a warrior with a big heart, but he’s given an impossible choice that changes his fate forever.