‘Kitchen’ not worth watching, and no one did

Now there’s other people in the kitchen serving them, while they wait in the dining room. Get it? Images courtesy Warner Bros.

3/10 The Kitchen is a story about women who stage a hostile takeover of a traditional men’s space. It’s a pun! Get it? Because it’s, when that happens, the traditional response is to tell the woman to “get back in the kitchen,” but now “the kitchen” is the space they’re now in, and it’s the title of the movie, so they’re permanently in “the kitchen,” and it takes place in a neighborhood called Hell’s Kitchen!

Get it?

New York City, 1978- mob control is limited to Hell’s Kitchen, where it runs a protection/prostitution racket that doesn’t seem to keep anyone safe. When enforcers Jimmy Brennan (Brian d’Arcy James), Kevin O’Carroll (James Badge Dale) and Rob Walsh (Jeremy Bobb) are arrested and sent away for three years, the mob establishment tells their wives Kathy Brennan (Melissa McCarthy), Ruby O’Carroll (Tiffany Haddish) and Claire Walsh (Elizabeth Moss) that they will be taken care of and nothing will fundamentally change, but the money the mob provides is immediately short. With no other options, the women quickly and easily take over and improve mob operations.

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Decent ‘Scary Stories’ can’t capture books’ magic

There’s several immediately recognizable elements from Stephen Gammell’s iconic drawings in here, even if they don’t capture the nightmarish quality of the medium. Images courtesy Lionsgate. 

7/10 Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a film caught between its iconic source material and a risk-averse production that leans heavily on the exhausting, bland choices common in the past decade’s horror. Still, there are significant highlights that separate Scary Stories from the mostly awful movies it resembles.

Halloween night 1968, Mill Valley, Pennsylvania- horror enthusiast Stella Nicholls (Zoe Margaret Colleti) and some friends snoop around a haunted house famous in the area. Legend has it the family who lived there, the Bellows, had a secret daughter, Sarah, left out of all family portraits and confined to a prison-like room in the center of the house, who would tell stories to passers-by – stories that came alive and killed the people who heard their ending. Nicholls and company find Sarah Bellows’ secret chamber and discover her book of scary stories. Upon taking it out of the house, the haunted book begins to autonomously write new stories for them.

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New releases baffle analysts, ‘Business Insider’ tells all on Moviepass

As expected, Hobbs & Shaw spent the second of what could be many weekends atop the box office with $25.3 million, but the bevy of new wide releases surprised analysts last weekend. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark led new releases with$20.9 million, a huge overperformance that secured a no. 2 finish, while Dora the Explorer fell to fourth place with $17.4 million behind The Lion King in its fourth weekend. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in its third weekend finished at no. 5, newcomer The Art of Racing in the Rain came in at no. 6 with $8.1 million, about as expected, and The Kitchen dramatically underperformed, falling to no. 7 with just $5.5 million- Box Office Mojo

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‘Hobbs & Shaw’ moderately improves on a franchise that needed extreme improvements

The doubling never really gets old. Images courtesy Universal Pictures.

4/10 I walked into Hobbs & Shaw determined to enjoy it, because I love the personnel involved and it’s a great idea for a spinoff. I wanted to see a Fast/Furious movie that felt fresh again. But unfortunately, this movie is over-produced to the point that it isn’t what I wanted it to be anymore, and I cannot in good conscience recommend it.

In Fast & Furious presents: Hobbs & Shaw, MI6 agent Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) injects herself with a deadly virus to keep it away from Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), a biomechanically enhanced black ops agent who fancies himself as the next phase of human evolution and, as an extension of that, wants to kill everyone. The CIA calls in Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson, who also produces), known as one of the best manhunters in the world, and Hattie Shaw’s brother, Deckard (Jason Statham, who also produces) for his personal connection to both his sister and Lore. The problem is Hobbs and Deckard Shaw hate each other.

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Once upon a film historian’s dream

1969 was the year Al Pacino made his film debut in Me, Natalie. Images courtesy Sony Pictures Releasing.

7/10 I’m sure writer/director/producer Quentin Tarantino enjoys Once Upon a Time in Hollywood very much.

Once upon a time in Hollywood – Feb. 8, 1969 to be exact – TV cowboy Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) tries and fails to transition to the movies in an attempt to hold on to a fading career. The film walks us through a day in the life of Dalton on the set of “Lancer,” one of the various television shows he’s taken hired work for as a villain of the week, and his erstwhile stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), who discovers Charles Manson’s cult squatting on Spahn Ranch. Also, emerging Hollywood star Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), Dalton’s new next door neighbor, does some shopping and sees a movie and says very little while the camera stares at her butt and bare feet.

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