This Is a Movie Review: Vox Lux

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CREDIT: NEON

I give Vox Lux 4 out of 5 Losses of Innocence: http://newscult.com/movie-review-vox-lux-traumatic-entrancing-journey-pop-music-stardom/

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This Is a Movie Review: The Front Runner

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CREDIT: Frank Masi/Sony Pictures

The Front Runner raises a lot of valid points about the propriety, or lack thereof, of prying into politicians’ personal lives, but it is liable to leave you more confused than ever, even if you have strong opinions about all the issues it raises. As the narrative goes, the coverage of Gary Hart’s supposed indiscretions during the 1988 Democratic primary completely derailed his campaign and led to the overall coarsening of the political media landscape that we have today. That may be an accurate narrative, but is it a bad thing that we know more about the personal lives of those who govern us? The fact that it all remained secret for so long is one reason why powerful people have gotten away with terrible behavior.

But as for how it affected Gary Hart specifically, did he deserve what happened to him? The way the movie presents it, it seems like he had been unfaithful in his marriage, but not necessarily in this case. And the Miami Herald, which originally reported on the story, did not appear to do their duest diligence to verify their implications. At least I can unequivocally say it is a good thing that Donna Rice, Hart’s alleged mistress, gets to have her side of the story presented. But otherwise, The Front Runner is a bit of a mess. Although, it could be a portrait of a mess.

I give The Front Runner 2.5 (Million) Accusations out of 5 (Possible) Indiscretions.

This Is a Movie Review: Instant Family

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CREDIT Paramount Pictures

One of the great qualities of movies is their ability to open your eyes to possibilities in your own life that you had never considered or thought possible. I have always known that I want kids someday, and now that I am 30 years old, I am within my ideal age range for starting to raise a family, and I am often conscious of making sure I do not let that opportunity pass me by. Adoption and fostering potentially make that window open for longer than it would be otherwise. Those options have crossed my mind, but I’ve never really dug into them. But after watching Instant Family, I am now almost certain that I want to take that parenting avenue.

There is an early scene in which Rose Byrne and Mark Wahlberg browse the kids’ profiles on a fostering agency website, and they instantly fall in love with all of them, and I felt pretty much exactly the same. So much of this film is filled with moments like that. It has the look of a broad studio comedy that has loud, dangerous set pieces (director Sean Anders definitely has experience with that genre), but in moments when it could go over-the-top, it inevitably opts for the more grounded, and more rewarding, approach, dealing seriously with both the emotional and practical consequences of the situation. If you’re planning on becoming a foster parent, or think you might, or you just love supportive families, then you need to watch this movie.

I give Instant Family 4 Million Hugs out of 5 Million Heartaches.

SNL Review December 1, 2018: Claire Foy/Anderson .Paak

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CREDIT: Will Heath/NBC

My letter grades for each sketch and segment is below. My in-depth review is on News Cult: http://newscult.com/snl-love-itkeep-itleave-claire-foyanderson-paak/

Park Hyatt Argentina – C+

Claire Foy’s Monologue – B-

Netflix – B

Morning Joe – C-

The War in Words (BEST OF THE NIGHT) – B+

Dad Christmas – B-

Anderson .Paak ft. Kendrick Lamar performs “Tints” – B+

Weekend Update
The Jokes – B
Leslie Jones – B-
Jules – B

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – C

HSN – C

Anderson .Paak performs “Who R U” – B

Good Morning Goomah – C

A Holiday Message From the Women of SNL – B-

This Is a Movie Review: Anna and the Apocalypse

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CREDIT: Gerardo Jaconelli/Orion Pictures

I give Anna and the Apocalypse 3 out of 5 EvacSelfies: http://newscult.com/movie-review-anna-apocalypse-fulfills-societys-need-decent-zombie-musical/

This Is a Movie Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

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CREDIT: Sony Pictures Entertainment

I give Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: http://newscult.com/movie-review-spider-man-spider-verse-weaves-50-plus-superhero-history-one-neat-little-package/

SNL Thanksgiving Special, We Need to Talk

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CREDIT: NBC

Around every Thanksgiving and Christmas (and sometimes Halloween), NBC airs SNL compilation specials consisting of some of the most memorable holiday-themed sketches in the show’s history. With the Christmas editions, there is an overabundance of sketches to choose from. But the Thanksgiving specials usually contain a few “family meal” sketches that don’t actually take place on Turkey Day. That’s fine, though, as there aren’t as many Thanksgiving as there are Christmas bits. But it’s not entirely okay, because there are some actual Thanksgiving bits that don’t make the cut but that deserve to be revisited, like the Thanksgiving Song Auditions with Phil Hartman. Let’s take a deep dive into where rectification needs to be made.
The two main problems with the SNL Thanksgiving Special are recency bias and inexplicable sketch selection. The first is understandable, as the special gets refreshed every three years or so and thus tends to get reloaded with sketches that weren’t around to make the cut the last time. But at least room is still made for some sketches from previous decades, like Paul Simon dressed as a turkeyTonto, Tarzan, and Frankenstein singing; and the Nikey Turkey.
Let’s run through some quick points that SNL‘s compilation packagers simply must hear:
-The Bird Family is an acceptable inclusion, because when else are we going to see that classic?
-The Yelling Family Dinner is also acceptable, but please use the one with Sarah Michelle Gellar instead of Gwyneth Paltrow.
-The Loud Family, on the other hand, while funny, should not be included, as it is not sufficiently about food.
Right Side of the Bed is certainly about Thanksgiving, but it is not very good.
The one sketch where Vanessa Bayer plays a turkey dating Josh Hutcherson is one of the most bizarre sketches ever. I guess it’s an acceptable inclusion, but what is up with the animation at the end?
-Bring back Thanksgiving Song Auditions!

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