Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019)

Nickelodeon has been in a tricky scenario over the last five years, in where the audience that once watched their hit shows is now becoming adults. Now they’ve scrambled for ways to appeal to a new generation, even aging their banner characters a bit. With “Dora the Explorer,” Nickelodeon has taken great pains in allowing her to blossom with her audience, and then revert back to the original formula that made her such a hit. With this feature film adaptation, they manage to pull off what is a loving tribute, a fun action adventure film, an adaptation that is never afraid to poke fun at itself every now and then, and a spotlight for latinx movie heroes we can root for.

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Riot Girls (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2019]

I wasn’t too interested in the premise of “Riot Girls” upon first glance, but it inevitably won me over with its execution and I came to appreciate (and kind of love) how fun and unique it was. The whole idea of high school cliques becoming the tribes of the post-apocalypse is rife for satire, and Jovanka Vuckovic has a great time with her concept. “Riot Girls” is both a teen drama comedy, and a fun bit of post apocalyptic fodder that you could easily digest right down to the last bite. I loved the whole punk rock, pulp comic book aesthetic, and the way it embraces its fantasy trappings like “The Warriors” did long ago.

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Weird Science (1985): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

“Weird Science” is the film from John Hughes that’s managed to age the worst from his repertoire. Even “Dutch” can be considered somewhat more accessible than what “Weird Science” doles out. While it’s not a bad movie at all, “Weird Science” has gradually become an eighties comedy that has to be taken in the context of its decade. This is still a very strong air of misogyny and chauvinism within “Weird Science,” but it still works as a fun eighties romp with banner performances by its collective cast.

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Rim of the World (2019)

I’d love to know what the thought process was behind “Rim of the World.” Directed by McG, it’s much too crude and violent for kids, but much too juvenile for anyone looking for a good action horror movie. Netflix and McG obviously had in mind the “Stranger Things” crowd when they concocted this unpleasant, long, obnoxious film. It wants to be mentioned in the same conversation as “The Goonies”, Amblin, and “It,” but I doubt in a few years it’ll even be mentioned in the same favor as “Mac and Me.”

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Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Spider-Man entrance in to the MCU has been a god send as Marvel had managed to touch on areas of the character that we haven’t seen before, while also fleshing out much if his universe and world. After the epics of “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers: Endgame,” Jon Watts’ “Far from Home” is a nice detour in to the MCU where the studio is able to book end their biggest event thus far. Closing out phase three of the MCU, “Far From Home” is a vastly superior film to “Homecoming” that benefits from the lack of Iron Man, believe it or not.

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Booksmart (2019)

I feel every generation should have a movie or two that defines them and how hard it is to grow up during that period. We’ve had movies like “Dazed and Confused,” “Mean Girls,” and “Breakfast Club,” and we’re very fortunate to have had two very good movies (“Eighth Grade”) about the modern youth culture in the last five years. Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is one of the finest drama comedies of the year. It’s an honest and entertaining look at two girls trying to find out who they are before they graduate high school and enter in to college–possibly without one another.

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“X-Men: Evolution” Was a Step Up for the X-Men

After FOX Studios revived comic book property the X-Men and paved the comic book movie as bonafide moneymaker, the canvas of pop culture was carved from the gateway “Blade” forged. After the 2000 cinematic adaptation “X-Men” and its sequel “X2,” both films and the franchised built shocking influence, not just on other genre properties, but comics in general. With X-Men once again being celebrated, the iconic series and comic book team was primed for an animated reboot, after the end of “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Marvel and Film Roman approached the series from a different angle by establishing a new continuity of the “merry mutants” in contemporary times. They changed the focus of the series, as well as the ages of the entire group to appeal to a wider young audience.

And it worked.

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