With “The Fabelmans”, Spielberg turns his life into art

Life isn’t a movie, Fableman.”

Story: Little Sammy Fabelman DOES NOT want to go to the movies with his parents. But afterwards, his mom’s help with re-creating a moment in that film to help Sammy deal with his fears? Begins a lifelong love of making movies. No matter where he is, who he’s with, or what’s going on in his life, film is, as his Uncle Boris opines, his “addiction”. And thank goodness for that.

Genre I’d put it in: Award Bait Fodder Spielberg Films
Release Date: 2022
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Based loosely on Steven Spielberg’s early life with his family, and the start of his love affair with film

Gotta say: This is a Steven Spielberg film that’s (kinda sorta) about Steven Spielberg growing up, and how he fell in love with making movies. So either you’re going to be all in for this, or you’re not. And as you’re reading this review? I’m assuming you’re down. Good. Because Fabelmans is a wonderful watch.

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“The Menu” – Dark. Hilarious. Delectable.

“Just go with the flow. It’s gonna be magical.”

Story: Margot is the plus-one to gustatorial fanboy Nick’s super-chic, super-exclusive, dinner on the beautiful island of Don’t Go There Girl. She’s not impressed with foamy this and freeze-dried that, but hey, a free dinner is cool, right? Well, the restaurant – and the elusive chef that heads it – are planning on delivering the ultimate experience this evening. Any chance of a doggy bag…and a way off this island?

Genre I’d put it in: Aggressively Delicious Satire
Release Date: 2022
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Echoes many class struggle stories, but this one’s original.

Gotta say: “Hilarious. Dark. Delectable.”? Oh shit. I sound like one of those elitist snobs that went to this restaurant. That can’t be good. Luckily this movie is. Fans of the absurd? Of macabe humor? You’ve found your favorite thing of the season.

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“She Said” – an in-the-trenches look at a giant leap in women’s rights

“Of course. Of course I have a secret.”

Story: In 2017, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, investigative journalists at the New York Times, began an investigation into then-alleged sexual misconduct at Miramax Studios. Little did they know that their investigation would find worldwide instances of sexual abuse, with over a hundred women coming forward once their piece was published. But at the start of their investigation, it looked like they were headed to dead-end city.

Genre I’d put it in: Must Watch Docudramas
Release Date: 2022
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Based on the investigation by – and Pulitzer Prize winning coverage of – the New York Times, regarding the history of abuse and misconduct by Harvey Weinstein. Also based on the book of the same name by NYT jouralists Kantor and Twohey. One of the jumping-off points of the #MeToo movement.

Gotta say: I’m a sucker for any and all films set in the world of journalism. All the President’s Men, Blindspot, The Post, along with stories outside the in-office docudrama genre, like His Gal Friday, and The Killing Fields. Add in some Grrrrl Power vibes, and I was ready to eat Said up with a spoon. And I did.

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Baltimore Screening Pass-palooza – “Nanny”!

Miss Halloween? ME TOO. So let’s get Spoopy! Synopsis!

Set in New York City, this fable of a Senegalese immigrant’s experience working for an affluent family is grounded in the real life experiences of domestic workers. The story is personal to Nikyatu Jusu’s upbringing, whose mother sustained her household with this occupation. Jusu incorporated spiritual genre elements that spoke to her lineage.

Ready? Let’s go!

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Columbia Screening – “Strange World”!

Ready to travel? Synopsis!

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ original action-packed adventure “Strange World” introduces a legendary family of explorers, the Clades, as they attempt to navigate an uncharted, treacherous land alongside a motley crew that includes a mischievous blob, a three-legged dog and a slew of ravenous creatures. The voice cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal as Searcher Clade, a family man who finds himself out of his element on an unpredictable mission; Dennis Quaid as Searcher’s larger-than-life explorer father, Jaeger; Jaboukie Young-White as Searcher’s 16-year-old son, Ethan, who longs for adventure; Gabrielle Union as Meridian Clade, an accomplished pilot and Searcher’s partner in all things; and Lucy Liu as Callisto Mal, Avalonia’s fearless leader who spearheads the exploration into the strange world.

Ready? Let’s go!

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Baltimore Screening Pass-palooza – “The Menu”!

If you’re like me, you’ve seen the trailers for this film, and been intrigued as hell. So let’s check it out! Synopsis!

A couple, Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Tyler (Nicholas Hoult), travel to a coastal island in the Pacific Northwest to eat at an exclusive restaurant, Hawthorn, where the reclusive, globally celebrated Chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) has prepared a lavish tasting menu for select special guests. Joining the couple are three young, already inebriated tech bros, Bryce (Rob Yang), Soren (Arturo Castro) and Dave (Mark St. Cyr), an older wealthy couple and repeat clients, Anne and Richard (Judith Light and Reed Birney), renowned restaurant critic Lillian Bloom (Janet McTeer) and her slavish magazine editor Ted (Paul Adelstein), and a famous middle-aged movie star (John Leguizamo) with his assistant Felicity (Aimee Carrero). Hosted by the immaculately dressed front of house staff led by general Elsa (Hong Chau), the evening unfolds with increasing tension at each of the guest tables as secrets are revealed and unexpected courses are served. With wild and violent events occurring, Slowik’s motivation begins to rattle the diners as it becomes increasingly apparent that his elaborate menu is designed to catalyze to a shocking finale.

Ready? Let’s go!

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“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” – Powerful, Moving, LONG (#SpoilerFreeReview)

“It could have been different.”

Story: Five years after the events of Endgame, we see Wakanda reeling as their King – the Black Panther – succumbs to an illness, due to the extinction of the heart-shaped herb. But one year after his passing, as the country and its leadership try to move on, there are countries who would try to take advantage. Countries on land…and below water. Cue some bigass whales y’all!

Genre I’d put it in: Heavyweight Sequels
Release Date: 2022
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Based on characters/story lines from Marvel Comics. Part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the final film in the MCU’s Phase 4.

Gotta say: Forever is a lean, mean, movie machine. There’s a whole lot going on, several stories to begin/wrap up/shift, and tons of characters to debut and check in on. Writer/Director Ryan Coogler handles it all expertly for the most part (stick a pin in that), but y’all. Y’ALL. At over two hours and forty minutes without factoring trailers and ads? Let’s just say I can’t wait ’til this hits streaming, so I can parcel things out in more bite-sized bits. Y’all I am An Old. My legs did not want to speak to me after this screening, so what I’m saying is; get yourself reclining seats, or be prepared for your own body’s civil war. Lil’ tip from me to you. So, here we go with the in-depth stuff. Follow me…

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VIRTUAL Screening Pass-palooza – “The People We Hate at the Wedding”!

I don’t know about you, but I’m in the mood for a good laugh. You too? Synopsis!

In the hilariously raunchy comedy The People We Hate at the Wedding, dysfunctional American siblings Alice (Kristen Bell) and Paul (Ben Platt) along with their ever-optimistic mom (Allison Janney), are invited to the British wedding of their estranged half-sister Eloise (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) as a chance for them to reconnect as – more or less – adults, and learn to love each other like they once did.

Ready? Let’s go!

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Columbia Screening Pass-palooza – “She Said”!

Ooh – who doesn’t love an interesting docudrama in the Fall? Synopsis!

A testament to the power of investigative journalism, She Said details the journey of reporters and editors engaged in the unrelenting pursuit of the truth and highlights the courage of survivors and witnesses who chose to come forward to stop a serial predator in his tracks. Together, their commitment and fortitude sparked a national conversation, helped propel the #MeToo movement, and fueled a reckoning of the system that had enabled him.

Ready? Let’s go!

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Columbia Screening Pass-palooza – “Wakanda Forever”!

Yes, my heart is still broken. Yes, I still want to check out this film. Synopsis!

In Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba) fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.

Ready? Let’s go!

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