All 20 Marvel Cinematic Universe films, ranked (Movie commentary)

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ith “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (in theaters Friday, July 6) marking the Big Two-Oh for the Marvel Cinematic Universe film franchise, it’s high time I reveal my rankings of all the MCU movies so far, from worst to first.

Notes: Updated in December 2018 to include “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” You can find John’s rankings here.

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The Force is weak with lackluster ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ (Movie review)

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irst, some background on some apprehensions I carried with me into the theater when I saw “Solo: A Star Wars Story” last night.

My excitement for “Solo” dropped to near zero when Lucasfilm fired directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, two of the weirdest and most inventive filmmakers working today, and brought on Ron Howard, a talented guy without a shred of Lord and Miller’s oddball charm. All of the trailers make it look like Opie gave them just what they wanted, something workmanlike and safe and ordinary, utterly lacking the spark of insanity a Lord and Miller version would have promised.

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‘A Quiet Place’ is a menacing masterpiece (Movie review)

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othing in John Krasinski’s past would indicate that he had a film like “A Quiet Place” in him, and yet here we are. The onetime sitcom heartthrob has delivered a film that is not just frightening, but intimate and character driven. Sitting in the theater I was reminded of films like “The Descent” and “The Mist,” which similarly play on audience sympathies to up the scare factor by giving us characters we care about.

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What will win? What should win? A look at the 2018 Academy Awards

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an you believe the Oscars are nearly upon us? With the big show coming up in less than 24 hours, what better time to take a look at the nominees and tell you what will win and what should.

You can trust me due to my lack of anything resembling a social life and a slavish devotion to film that stretches back decades. Also, not to brag, but last year I was right with my picks 50 percent of the time!

All right, that doesn’t sound too good, but the winners in this year’s crop of nominees seem pretty predictable. Given, they always do, until they aren’t.

Let’s take a look.

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Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ is a bold, fun, powerful masterpiece (Movie review)

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s the Marvel Cinematic Universe entered Phase Three it seemed to take on a unique challenge, reinventing itself with each new film. “Thor: Ragnarok” was basically the MCU’s answer to Monty Python. “Ant Man” was an “Ocean’s” movie with a dude who could shrink. Even “Guardians 2” changed things up by being incredibly personal and intimate where the first was loud and brash.

“Black Panther” sees Marvel being more bold than any of those, though.

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‘Star Trek: Discovery’ returns franchise to thoughtful sci-fi roots (TV review)

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s a franchise, “Star Trek” has boldly gone many places, and not all of them have been good.

While the original series is legendary, and “Next Generation” improves on it, things started to fall apart with “Deep Space Nine,” which cribbed so much from “Babylon 5” that it felt like a cheat calling it “Trek” at all. “Voyager” upped the camp level and became the goofy uncle of the franchise. It was ridiculous, over the top, fun, but never very good. The less said about “Enterprise,” the better.

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Michael’s top 20 films of 2017

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here were a lot of great films in 2017. So many, in fact, that this year I have decided to do a top 20 list instead of my usual top 10. It means more writing, but trust me, this is a problem any movie buff loves to have.

2017 was a good year for superheros and small indie films, for action and drama and comedy alike, sometimes all within the same movie.

So, what was the best? Let’s get to it!

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The 75th Golden Globes are over. Here’s everything they got right! (Commentary)

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ast night’s Golden Globe Awards were a welcome surprise for me. I have gotten used to, in my time as a film and television enthusiast, the entertainment I support being consigned to the “also ran” bin. My favorite TV shows get cancelled. Many of my favorite movies have been ignored by critics and audiences alike. If they are nominated, they are the window dressing for the film or show that gets the glory.

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‘Insidious: The Last Key’ continues franchise tradition of emotionally resonant horror (Movie review)

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here has always been a sense in the “Insidious” movies that they are about more than the scares. In each of the films the audience is given the opportunity to really spend time with the characters, to get an understanding of them outside the horror.

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