Friday, December 6, 2019

What to Watch This Weekend: December 6, 2019

In Theaters: Queen & Slim
Queen & Slim gives a window into racial injustice in America, told through stellar performances, strong writing, and a commitment to realism that preaches a powerful message.   For more information, check out our review!

In Theaters: Commando 3
Commando 3 is an exciting action movie with a charismatic lead, a superb cast, intense action sequences, and a strong message.  For more information, check out our review!

At Redbox: Ready or Not
Ready or Not tells a twisted tale with plenty of dark humor.  The setting is fantastic, the imagery feels authentic, and the performances give this deadly game a unique charm that will make you want to play again.  For more information, check out our review!

Streaming (HBO): Shazam!
Shazam! is a fun comic book movie that has a light-hearted tone, a fun story, and great special effects.  It was great in theaters and should not be missed on streaming. 

Streaming (Netflix): Marriage Story
Marriage Story has stellar reviews and is coming to streaming this weekend.  It is a beautiful and at times painful look at a couple's divorce, highlighting some of the aspects that are not talked about but can be the most painful to experience.  

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Review: The Aeronauts

Release date: December 6, 2019
Running time: 100 minutes
Starring: Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Himesh Patel

Aeronauts is a high flying story "inspired by" true events that tells the tale of a scientist and an aeronaut (someone who pilots hot air balloons) who attempt to go higher than any man or woman has ever gone to study the atmosphere and ultimately predict the weather.  James Glaisher (Redmayne), an aspiring meteorologist enlists the help of an experienced aeronaut, Amelia Wren (Jones) to attempt this feat.  Both characters have troubled pasts to deal with and will have to work these out, along with many other dangers and uncertainties during their ascent in the skies.  

This film starts with the beginning of the balloon journey, and fills in the character's backstories through flashbacks exploring both of their lives and how they met.  It's a good way to tell this tale, starting with the main event and then breaking that up with snippets of information, which also lets you slowly learn more about the characters.  And you will want to learn more about them because the two leads are both fascinating individuals, driven in different ways to achieve their aeronautical goals.  Redmayne is fantastic as usual, playing a character we have seen before--an awkward, driven person that cares more about his interests than in other people.  Jones plays an independent, fiery aeronaut that doesn't let those around her tell her what to do or how to live her life.  And together they make an interesting team.  

The story is a good length with plenty of ups and downs.  The effects and sounds are both top notch, aided by the fact that much of the movie takes place in a balloon.  In fact, Redmayne and Jones actually filmed the initial ascent in a balloon 2,000 feet above the ground!  The top notch effects and sound make the exciting scenes thrilling to see and some of the high flying stunts will make you hold your breath.  

However, the main issue with this movie is that it is "inspired by" true events.  Although the balloon trip that is depicted in the film did actually happen, many of the characters and specifics were changed for the film.  For example, Wren did not actually accompany Glaisher on this specific balloon trip, which is not mentioned anywhere in the film.  Glashier actually had a different co-pilot who is all but erased from this tale.  It is telling that there is no information on the characters at the end of the movie, hinting that much of it was manufactured for Hollywood.  If you can get past this, though, you are left with an entertaining, and at times thrilling, story about two people challenging society in their ascent to the skies. 

The Aeronauts is a high-flying adventure with two fantastic leads, a compelling story that is unfortunately affected by Hollywood fantasy, and thrilling effects and sound.  

Watch It

Wednesday, December 4, 2019


In Theaters December 13th
Sony Columbia Pictures
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 123 Min

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Awkwafina, Alex Wolff, Morgan Turner, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman,with Danny Glover and Danny DeVito

Directed by: Jake Kasdan

In Jumanji: The Next Level, the gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to Jumanji to rescue one of their own, they discover that nothing is as they expect. The players will have to brave parts unknown and unexplored, from the arid deserts to the snowy mountains, in order to escape the world’s most dangerous game. 

Screening Details:
Tuesday, December 10th
AMC Mazza
5300 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC  
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As always, screenings are first-come, first-served so please arrive early to ensure you get a seat.


In theaters December 13
Rating: R
Run time: 131 mins

Cast: Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde, Paul Walter Hauser
Director: Clint Eastwood

Drama. Directed by Clint Eastwood and based on true events, “Richard Jewell” is a story of what happens when what is reported as fact obscures the truth. “There is a bomb in Centennial Park. You have thirty minutes.” The world is first introduced to Richard Jewell as the security guard who reports finding the device at the 1996 Atlanta bombing—his report making him a hero whose swift actions save countless lives. But within days, the law enforcement wannabe becomes the FBI’s number one suspect, vilified by press and public alike, his life ripped apart. Reaching out to independent, anti-establishment attorney Watson Bryant, Jewell staunchly professes his innocence. But Bryant finds he is out of his depth as he fights the combined powers of the FBI, GBI and APD to clear his client’s name, while keeping Richard from trusting the very people trying to destroy him.

Screening Details:
Monday, December 9 – 7:00pm
AMC Mazza Gallerie

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Be sure to Like and Follow Watch or Pass on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and share with your friends!

As always, screenings are first-come, first-served so please arrive early to ensure you get a seat.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Review: Commando 3

Release date: November 29, 2019
Running time: 133 minutes
Starring: Vidyut Jammwal, Adah Sharma, Gulshan Devaiah

In Commando 3, super soldier with a heart of gold Dogra (Vidyut Jammwal) must hunt down and stop a terrorist threat in London before an impending attack in India occurs.  Agent Dogra is racing against the clock and in unfamiliar territory, but is helped along by a diverse set of agents each specializing in a different field and with their own strengths and weaknesses.  Dogra is ultra-patriotic, excels at everything, and has a body builder's physique; essentially your typical Bollywood movie super soldier.  

Although this movie has a lot of your typical Bollywood action tropes--a smoldering male protagonist who knows everything, speaks slowly and with conviction at every turn, is amazing at every type of combat, and fights with plenty of slow motion action--Commando 3's unique angle is the impending terrorist attack on India.  Dogra has a clock he must beat while also navigating international diplomacy issues being an Indian super soldier in London.  It makes for some interesting character dynamics and intrigue with both the British military and his own team (half of whom are British).  And although the team does some very questionable things in the pursuit of justice and preventing the attack, overall the plot is fine for a Bollywood film; it gets the story moving along and keeps you interested.  And the team itself, and the supporting characters in the film, are cast and acted well.  Each team member has their strengths and weaknesses, and seeing them interact across cultures and specialties is fun to see. And the antagonist in this film, played by Gulshan Devaiah, is perfectly cast, with a wild, intense demeanor that always captures your attention and leaves you wondering what will happen next. 

Commando 3 doesn't have a ton of action (much of the movie is investigating, intrigue, and police work) but the action sequences themselves are very good.  The fights are well choreographed and the chase sequences are exciting to experience.  There is a good variety of martial arts, gunplay, and vehicle chases that keep the action interesting.  And one pleasant surprise is the high quality CG throughout most of the flim.  CG can often be distracting to me in Bollywood films, but here there were only a few instances where the CG was even noticeable.  It really helped to not break the suspension of disbelief and I'm hoping this will be a trend in more action movies from India!  

One thing that is tough for me to comment on is the nationalistic message in the film.  There is some overtone of everyone being Indian regardless of what you believe and where you are from; an overall good message that might come off a little patronizing depending on your viewpoint.  I also don't have exposure with the conflicts between Hindus and Muslims that form a major part of the plot and message in this film.  It was prominently featured and to my outside observer's eye, it seemed like there was an overall good message from the film, but I don't know how this will effect people who have actually experienced this.  I want to highlight it just so you know that this is prominently featured in the movie.  

Commando 3 is an exciting action movie with all the spectacle you would expect from top budget Hindi movies.  It has a charismatic lead, exciting action sequences, and a strong message.

Watch It