Nope

3 STARS

Director: Jordan Peele
Writer: Jordan Peele
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea, Steven Yeun, Michael Wincott, Jacob Kim

When you think of Jordan Peele (if you do at all), what comes to mind? His mega-hit Get Out? His other unsettling dystopian movie, Us? Maybe his comedy collaborations with Keegan-Michael Key? Or perhaps just as a voice from Toy Story 4? Whatever you think (or don’t think) of Peele, I bet one of the last things you’d associate him with is aliens. Horror, yes, but UFOs? Certainly not. Yet, here we are, with Peele’s latest project brimming with physical horror (mainly) rather than psychological. It’s always good for a filmmaker to branch out, see if they have hidden talents in any other genre, keeping them from repeating the same tropes again and again. Has Peele found another string to add to his bow, or has he strayed too far from the formula that has worked for him previously?

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Elvis

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Writers: Baz Luhrmann, Jeremy Doner, Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce
Cast: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge, Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Kelvin Harrison Jr., David Wenham, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Luke Bracey, Dacre Montgomery

Another year, another biopic based on a famous figure from musical history. This time, the legendary Elvis Presley has his life portrayed for the first time in a theatrical film and is given the unique Luhrmann treatment. It’s no secret how tumultuous Presley’s life was, specifically during his career, making it perfect fodder for filmmakers to create and audiences to watch. With the success of other biopics based on musicians, thinking particularly of 2005’s Walk the Line based on the life of Johnny Cash and 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody based on Freddie Mercury and Queen, does Elvis join their ranks of success, or is it just an unabashed way to make money off the Presley legacy?

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Top Gun: Maverick

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5 STARS

Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writers: Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Val Kilmer, Bashir Salahuddin, Charles Parnell, Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, Lewis Pullman, Jay Ellis, Danny Ramirez, Greg Tarzan Davis, Ed Harris

Thirty-six years ago, our lives (or those who were actually alive at the time, and of a particular age) were graced with the late Tony Scott’s Top Gun, a movie that many considered a flop before it was even made, because who would want to watch a movie about pilots? Now, in 2022, you might as well ask who wouldn’t want to watch a movie about pilots… fighter pilots, featuring insane aerobatics, a top cast and helmed by a crew of very experienced filmmakers. Top Gun is a much-beloved movie, and it’s no surprise a sequel took this long to appear. Has it been worth the wait, or should it have been “bombs away” on the very notion?

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Thor: Love and Thunder

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Director: Taika Waititi
Writers: Taika Waititi, Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Christian Bale, Taika Waititi, Russell Crowe, Jaimie Alexander

It’s been a while since we last saw Thor in his own movie. The character has certainly had his ups and downs in his time in the MCU, as have his movies: Thor (2011) was a great intro to many now-beloved MCU characters; Thor: The Dark World (2013) was, as the title suggests, a dark time for Thor, as the movie was panned by fans and critics alike; then 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok breathed new life into all the characters and Thor’s own personal journey, thanks to Taika Waititi. Waititi once again takes the helm (or the hammer, as it were) and guides us through yet another chapter of the Norse god of thunder’s long life. Does he continue to do Thor and his comrades justice, or is Thor heading for his own personal Ragnarok?

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Director: Sam Raimi
Writer: Michael Waldron
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor

It’s hard to believe that it’s been SIX YEARS since Doctor Strange was released. Perhaps it’s his appearances in other MCU movies that have made it feel like less time has passed, but whatever it is, there’s no denying the significance that Stephen Strange has had since his cinematic introduction. The first movie introduced us to a more magical side to the MCU, a side wherein lies many other dimensions and universes, known to us now as the Multiverse. Hot on the heels of Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange’s large role in that, Multiverse of Madness is set to take us even further into the unknown, opening up more possibilities of alternate timelines and new (and maybe sometimes familiar…) characters. Is Multiverse of Madness a suitable entry into the MCU’s fourth phase, or are we a little sick of seeing Strange everywhere now?

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